This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Historical photo of the family and business.


varieties, but introductions from every continent are also included. The 1950s saw the company using


agents to collect orders and offering school fundraisers. They even began selling tulip bulbs! The catalogue was printed in Dutch, English and German. Some of the catalogue head- ings today still reflect this heritage. In 1957, the company relocated to Ancaster to take advantage of better shipping routes. That property later became part of a ramp to the 403, so a new farm was purchased in West Flamborough. William Dam Seeds featured


their first colour catalogue cover in 1962; a full colour catalogue would not happen until 1995. The biggest company’s change occurred in the late 1960s: a switch to untreated seed. People thought they were crazy back then, and William Dam found it diffi- cult to obtain untreated seed! But, Dam suffered from skin rashes that he linked to the chemicals used in seed storage. The company continued to provide untreated seed for the safety of its employees, who handle the seed each day, and to encourage organic gardening among gardeners of all ages. The organic gardening movement


grew along with them. William Dam Seeds proudly describes itself as the first registered seed company in Canada to feature a line of certified organically grown seeds. This line was introduced in 2000 with caution, since the quality of seed was not proven. As seed breed- ers and growers continue developing commercially acceptable seed, William Dam Seeds has continued to increase its selection to over 100 items. Since the late 1990s, computers


localgardener.net


and in-house design capabilities have allowed the company to put their unique stamp on their catalogue as well as seed packets. From stock house packets, to black and white (or green and brown!), to their current custom- built packets, William Dam Seeds continues to change with technology. The company have its guiding


principles as epitomizing quality and research. They are curious garden- ers, supporting their suppliers in their efforts to bring gardeners novel and nutritious items, and better strains for challenging conditions. And they continue to marvel at the colours and patterns that form in our gardens. In this past decade, both Bill (grand-


son of William and current president) and Connie (granddaughter and flower seed manager) have become judges for All America Selections. In this, they volunteer their time and expertise to the international seed industry in choosing award-winning new varieties for the home garden market. The company’s display and trial


gardens have expanded meanwhile to include nearly 1,500 varieties each year. The displays include an AAS Winners garden (part of a network of 180 across North America) and one of four Fleuroselect Winners displays in Canada. The company has also found it


rewarding to work closely with their customers (small farmers) and the chefs that they supply, so that these talented people can bring great tasting vegetable dishes frequently in inter- esting colours the market. The whole “Eat Local” movement has allowed novelties to flourish, and has brought flavour back into the forefront of what great vegetables should be.


Fall 2016 • 59


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