Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Landreth Seed Company Needs Our Help! part 1

Landreth Seed Company is a generous sponsor of Washington Gardener Magazine's annual seed exchanges and has been extremely supportive of the local gardening community, please order from them and pass on the word to fellow gardeners.

I have just spoken to Barbara Melera and she says the new catalog will be extraordinary. It will contain the origins and history of the foods we grow. Knowing that in past years their catalog was snapped up and out-of-stock immediately, I am pre-ordering a few dozen copies for my garden club and a dozen more for personal holiday gifts.

Here is an email she put out last week explaining the company's dire situation:

To All of Our Customers & Friends

All of you know the story of Landreth and most of you know me, Barb Melera. My husband, Peter, I have been working to restore this historic American company for the past 8 years.

We set about to restore this Company because it is the most historically important American small business in existence. It is the only American company, still operating daily, that existed when this country became a ...nation. Its founders were honorable men who helped establish and guide the agricultural and horticultural industries of this country in the 1700s, the 1800s and the 1900s. Landreth exemplifies American business and the ethics and integrity that built this nation.


On Wednesday, August 31, 2011, the Company’s accounts were frozen by a garnishment order initiated by XYZ law firm of Baltimore, MD at the request of a Miss Liz King of Petaluma, CA. Landreth owes Miss King $250,000 plus interest. In 2009, the management of Landreth asked Miss King to give them an additional 2 years to pay off the debt owed to her. She and her lawyers refused and sued the Company and the owners in 2010. Miss King provided her lawyers with an incorrect address for Landreth so that notification of the trial was never received by Landreth management. A Baltimore judge ruled in favor of Miss King because no one from Landreth showed up at the trial to defend Landreth and to request a modest extension of the note for 2 years. In today’s troubled economic environment, the request was not unreasonable. Both Miss King and her lawyers knew this.


If this garnishment order is not satisfied within the next 30 days, Landreth will cease to exist and a part of America’s history will be lost forever. I need to sell 1 million 2012 catalogs to satisfy this garnishment and the cascade of other indebtedness which this order has now initiated.

If you want to help save this piece of America, if you love gardening and heirloom seeds, if you care about righting the injustices of a legal system badly in need of repair, then please help Landreth. Please purchase a Landreth catalog, and if you can afford it, purchase several for your friends. Please send this link to everyone you know, www.landrethseeds.com. One million catalogs is a big number, but with the internet it is achievable. Please help us to save Landreth.
~ Barbara Melera, Landreth Seed Company
In part 2 of this blog post, I will post an interview with Barbara that we published published in spring 2007. This will give you just a hint of what makes this woman and the Landreth Seed Company such a treasure to our local and national gardening communities.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Ames Shovel Company, established in 1774, predates Landreth Seed by 10 years. Ames is still in business today as Ames True Temper.

So obviously, Ms. Melera needs a history lesson. On top of incorrectly thinking her company is the oldest in the nation, she isn't even aware that we became a nation a year before her company was founded.

Given that much inaccuracy about her own country and company history, I can't imagine her company's catalog, full of "origins and history of food we grow," will be worth the paper it is printed on.

Barbara Melera said...

In the July 26, 1993, Fortune Magazine, beginning on page 14 and ending on page 18, is
an article entitled, “Corporate Methuselahs”, written by Jennifer Reese. The article states
that America’s oldest companies are the following:

1702
1717
1752
1767
1784
1784
1784
1789
1790

J. E. Rhoades & Sons (conveyor belts)
Covenant Life Insurance
Philadelphia Contributionship (insurance)
Dexter (adhesives and coatings)
D. Landreth Seed
Bank of New York
Bank of Boston
George R. Ruhl & Sons (bakery supplies)
Burns & Russell (building supplies)

Since 1900, the Landreth Company has correctly claimed that it is “The Oldest
Seedhouse in America” which it was and is today.

Neither the Company nor any of its owners has ever claimed that Landreth is older than
the United States. What has been stated in writing and verbally is

“The Landreth story is the story of an American family business which was born
near the time of America’s birth and grew with America over three centuries.”

The above statement is true. The fact that Landreth is the fifth oldest US corporation is
true. The fact that Landreth is the oldest seedhouse in America is true.

The information in the Landreth Catalog has been carefully researched over eight years.
The document images contained in the catalog are scans from original Landreth catalogs
that date back to 1839. Dates are derived from the Landreth Catalogs, Fearing Burr’s,
Field and Garden Vegetables of America (1863), Bernard McMahon’s, The American
Gardener’s Calender (1806), Robert Buist’s, The American Flower Garden Directory
(1832), and Joseph Breck’s, Breck’s Book of Flowers (1852).

Barbara Melera said...

Sorry the formatting didn't carry:

In the July 26, 1993, Fortune Magazine, beginning on page 14 and ending on page 18, is
an article entitled, “Corporate Methuselahs”, written by Jennifer Reese. The article states
that America’s oldest companies are the following:

1702 - J. E. Rhoades & Sons (conveyor belts)
1717 - Covenant Life Insurance
1752 - Philadelphia Contributionship (insurance)
1767 - Dexter (adhesives and coatings)
1784 - D. Landreth Seed
1784 - Bank of New York
1784 - Bank of Boston
1789 -George R. Ruhl & Sons (bakery supplies)
1790 - Burns & Russell (building supplies)

Since 1900, the Landreth Company has correctly claimed that it is “The Oldest
Seedhouse in America” which it was and is today.

Neither the Company nor any of its owners has ever claimed that Landreth is older than
the United States. What has been stated in writing and verbally is

“The Landreth story is the story of an American family business which was born
near the time of America’s birth and grew with America over three centuries.”

The above statement is true. The fact that Landreth is the fifth oldest US corporation is
true. The fact that Landreth is the oldest seedhouse in America is true.

The information in the Landreth Catalog has been carefully researched over eight years.
The document images contained in the catalog are scans from original Landreth catalogs
that date back to 1839. Dates are derived from the Landreth Catalogs, Fearing Burr’s,
Field and Garden Vegetables of America (1863), Bernard McMahon’s, The American
Gardener’s Calender (1806), Robert Buist’s, The American Flower Garden Directory
(1832), and Joseph Breck’s, Breck’s Book of Flowers (1852)