COMPANY HISTORY

Seven generations ago, when your grandfather’s grandfather’s grandfather was growing vegetables for food and flowers for enjoyment, the Ferry-Morse Seed Company was in the business of selling him fine seeds through the mail. The world has changed since then, but Ferry-Morse quality is still reliable. Today, at the beginning of the 21st Century, Ferry-Morse offers you and your family -- the seventh generation of American gardeners -- fine seeds at retail lawn and garden centers all over America as well as on the world wide web.

We know seeds and gardening because we’ve been selling garden seeds a long time! Ferry-Morse has been in the seed business longer than Burpee, longer than Northrup King, longer than Fredonia . . . longer than your grandfather’s father could remember. Ferry-Morse Seeds have been sold continuously since shortly before the Civil War. We know what’s good and what gardeners want to grow. Our experience of more than one hundred and forty years of American history and American gardening are now at your fingertips.

Mr. Ferry began his business by concentrating on the retail store owner as an outlet for his garden seeds. Every spring, through generation after generation, Ferry-Morse seeds have been right there in your neighborhood garden store each spring, displayed in colorful seed packets right there by the check-out counter where you’re not likely to forget them.

WHERE IT BEGAN
Dexter Mason Ferry, born in New York State, gained a great deal of boyhood experience in farming, as did many young men of the time. When he was almost twenty, he went off to seek his life and fortune in Detroit, Michigan, which was a center of horticultural interest at the time. After several years of business experience with Milo T. Gardner and his American Seed Store, Dexter Ferry found himself with enough money saved to begin a partnership with Mr. Gardner and another partner, Mr. Eber F. Church. So on April 1, 1856, the firm known as Gardner, Ferry & Church was founded. Their first price list, printed in 1856, preceded the U. S. Department of Agriculture by almost 30 years.

THE FIRST SEED PACKETS
Mr. Ferry had a strong interest in quality seed, owing to his experience in farming, and had a very good head for business. He started something new by offering his seed dealer customers complete assortments of seeds in packets, all ready for sale in convenient store displays, from which gardeners could make their own choices.

Until he began packaging garden seeds in small envelopes, there had been no such business except what was being done by the Shaker sect among their own settlements. Mr. Ferry began offering assortments of packets for store owners which were tailored to the growing conditions in each store’s vicinity. Bingo! A new business was born, and other companies followed suit.

STRIVING FOR QUALITY
He also improved the seed industry of his era by his efforts for quality. Since he didn’t want to offer old seed (which may not perform well) under the Ferry name, Mr. Ferry decided to take any leftover seed off the market after the growing season was over. This assured his customers that each year they would be supplied with only the freshest and best quality seed available. Since no one can tell the quality of a seed by just looking at it, this was an assurance to gardeners that what they bought from Mr. Ferry would grow as promised.

In 1865, Mr. Gardner retired, and the business of Ferry, Church & Co. continued until Mr. Church’s retirement. Mr. Ferry then established the firm of D. M. Ferry & Co., which was incorporated in 1879. As early as 1874, Mr. R. W. Wilson began a seed-producing operation in California. Among his first seed crop was three acres of Ferry’s Prizehead Lettuce, a Ferry introduction. This was the first commercial crop grown on the Pacific coast. Because of poor health, Mr. Wilson sold his seed business in 1877 to Charles Copeland Morse and A. L. Kellogg. The company which became the C. C. Morse and Co. was incorporated in 1884, and quickly became the leading flower and vegetable seed producer on the West Coast. Although Dexter M. Ferry died in 1907 at the age of 74, the very successful seedsman of the largest garden seed business in the world, his company went on. Years of successful business dealings led to a developing relationship between the D. M. Ferry Co. and Mr. Morse, his son and their company. This association strengthened both companies, and a merger of the two firms was concluded in 1930. The Ferry-Morse Seed Company was well on its way to a future of continued good business in providing gardeners all over the U.S. with quality garden seed.

RELOCATION
In 1959, the Ferry-Morse Co.’s home garden division moved to western Kentucky, an area strategically located at several major national railroad junctions, and halfway between Chicago and New Orleans. It was and is an excellent distribution place for garden customers all over the U.S.

When you’re successful, folks notice. And so it was that in 1981, the largest seed organization in the world (also the first in quantity of seed packets produced and distributed) cast an interested eye on Ferry -Morse. This organization, owned by a cooperative of farmers in France, also know their seeds. Thus the "baby" of D. M. Ferry has grown up to become a proud part of the Groupe Limagrain’s worldwide business, and a beneficiary of its respected research and development. This means a parade of fine flower and vegetable seeds for our gardening customers.

GUARANTEED TO GROW
Gardeners rely on the seed they plant. They expect it to germinate and grow into the blooming or productive plants they’ve selected. If the seed is not good, their time and effort may be wasted -- a risk no gardener wants to take. So it’s just good sense for Ferry-Morse to continue to offer you, our American gardening customer, the best quality for your money. We want to keep you as a satisfied customer and gardener. Our aim is to serve you honestly and not disappoint. So our seed is still the best quality available, and Guaranteed To Grow.

"Reputation is a growing thing, and our reputation has been growing since 1856."

This quote from a 1953 Ferry-Morse catalog shows that our company’s steady success has been gained by supplying the best quality seed for your money. Almost fifty years later, that statement is still true.

WE DO SEEDS!
Look for Ferry-Morse brand and Lilly Miller brand fine garden seeds NOW in local garden centers, lawn & garden retailers and home centers near you! Ferry-Morse's seeds are fresh and vigorous, ready to grow when you are ready to plant.

We're glad that you are a Ferry-Morse customer, and that you and your family enjoy America's Number One hobby, that of gardening together as a family or as a neighborhood. Good gardening!


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