The Produce News 97: 105 (Oct 20, 1984)
Siberia Seeds Offers Unusual Christmas Gift

OLDS, ALBERTA — A unique Christmas offer is being made this year to families with gardeners by a new tomato seed company Called Siberia Seeds, the family owned business is giving away free packages of tomato seeds to every customer who orders Siberia or Glacier tomato seeds as Christmas Presents.

”The idea is to make gardeners in North America aware of our existence," said owner Ron Driskill, who also teaches horticulture at the Jack James Vocational School in Calgary, Alberta.

“How often does a gardener get packages of tomato seeds for Christmas? We think it is a novel idea that many people will go for."

Driskill noted that 90 percent of gardeners grow tomatoes, according to reports, and that the Siberia tomato — the company's most famous speciality — is an excellent buy.

"We've had gardeners from all over the northern United States and Canada writing to us and saying that they've gotten ripe tomatoes for the first time in their lives, or that they've gotten ripe tomatoes earlier than ever before," Driskill said.

He explained that the Siberia is an abundant producer of red-ripe tomatoes that can be pulled as early as 48 days after blooming in short season climates and even sooner, in warmer cases, in warmer climates.

It can also set fruit at temperatures as low as 38 degrees and as high as 104 degrees (so far as the latter temperature is followed my appreciably cooler nights).

Short growing season

"We have about a 90-day growing season here in Olds," Driskill said, "and we have always begun pulling ripe Siberias by the end of July. This year we had only an 86-day growing season, and we were pulling tomatoes by July 15, but the summer was a little warmer than usual."

Driskill said that his company has grown Siberias up to seven ounces in weight in their trials, but that much larger sizes — tomatoes weighing over half a pound — were raised for his company by Stokes Seeds this year, a reputable seed company in St. Catharines, Ontario and Buffalo, NY.

"I went out there and weighed them myself," Driskill said. "They were fantastic tomatoes."

What about Glacier? "An exceptional variety." Driskill described the plant as bushy, producing two and three ounce tomatoes that begin to ripen 48 days after blooming. "It is very much like the IPB," Driskill said, “and may very well be the same variety. It was sent to us by a lady in southern Alberta."

The price for a package of either Siberia or Glacier is $1.50, he said, and that includes a brochure of growing instructions, a free package of Springset tomato seeds, and a 1984/85 catalog.

“We decided to give away the Springset because it's an exceptional tomato adapted to many regions of the North," Driskill explained. “It's a prolific producer of five and six ounce fruits, and is resistant to verticillium wilt and fusarium wilt and cracking. We think people will like it." Driskill said it's very important “that the customer tells us how many people he is ordering for so that we know how many Springsets to send him.

If a customer orders three packages of Siberia for three different people, for instance, Driskill will send him three packages of Springsets to give to those people. If he orders only for himself, then, of course, the customer receives only one for himself, then, of course, the customer receives only one package of Springsets.

Porter: Siberia Tomato (1984)