An unexpected passion

Jim Ternier (left) and his daughter Rachelle (right) of Prairie Garden Seeds pose for a photo during Seedy Saturday at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library on Saturday, April 22. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Jim Ternier never intended to become a farmer.

Instead, the Humboldt native obtained a degree in Mathematics before heading off to live in Europe. He wasn’t sure what direction his life would take upon returning to Canada, so he settled on one of the things he knew he excelled at: growing vegetables.

“I came home unattached and not knowing what I could do, and a B.A. is not much use to earn a living,” Ternier remembered. “I did know how to garden because I’d been taught by my parents, so I grew vegetables and sold them. That worked fairly well and I was able to have an income.”

Ternier married and continued to grow and sell vegetables to support his family. After a while, however, he started to notice something. Vegetables sold well, but not nearly as well as seeds.

“”If you had a really good crop of say corn or cucumbers … and were looking for a market, and everyone else had good crops … you had to take it back to the garden and work it under,” he explained. “That was a lot of work for nothing, so I said, ‘well, seeds live longer, I can keep them longer, so there’s a better chance I’ll be able to sell them.”

The switch from seeds to vegetables worked out well, so well in fact that these days Ternier stopped selling produce entirely. Now he focuses solely on seeds, and he’s become a bit of a collector as a result.

For the rest of this story, please see the April 26 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.