Our story

Briefly, Two Seeds in a Pod is a family and farmer-owned seed company founded in 2013 and co-owned by Drs. Mehmet Öztan and Amy Thompson. Our company specializes in the seeds of Türkiye, especially the seeds that originated, bred, stewarded, and passed down many generations in Anatolia (also known as Asia Minor). Since Fall 2019, we also have been growing and offering the seeds of the region currently known as Appalachia. 

All of our seeds are open-pollinated. None of our seeds are treated or patented.

We farmed on borrowed land in Tampa, FL, from 2013-2015 and on leased land in Thonotosassa, FL, from 2015-2018, both on Seminole land. In 2018, we moved to beautiful West Virginia, and since April 2019, our farm has been located in Reedsville, WV, on Seneca and Shawnee peoples’ land. We grow a majority of our seed stock on our seed restoration, preservation and propagation farm, and since 2019, we have been collaborating with other seed growers in West Virginia and other states to have stock seed grown for our catalog.

We are small farmers, and in the past, we attended farmers’ markets to sell produce. Between 2013 and 2018, we also collaborated with Chef Gregory Seymour of Pizzeria Gregario to explore the flavor dimensions of the produce we grew from our seeds. Providing produce to a family-owned restaurant helped us understand and connect with the seeds we grow better.

Owners

Mehmet Öztan

Photo by Mike Costello

Mehmet is a Turkish seed keeper and has a passion of growing the seeds of Türkiye. Since he quit his engineering career to co-found Two Seeds in a Pod in 2013, he has grown and documented hundreds of culturally appropriate seed varieties of his motherland. A majority of the seeds you browse in our seed catalog is grown, harvested and processed by Mehmet. He also works at West Virginia University as part-time faculty, exploring creative ways to spread the love of seeds and engage communities for preserving agrobiodiversity through projects such as Seedy Talks.

Mehmet’s maternal grandfather was born and raised in Bulgaria until he had to flee to Anatolia in early 20th century to save his life from ethnic and religious cleansing in the region during the Ottoman contraction. Due to this ancestral connection, he has a vast interest in the Balkans’ seeds which you will also see listed in our catalog.

You can watch the fourth episode of Homegrown Foodways in West Virginia that featured Mehmet below. The film series was produced by Mike Costello and Amy Dawson of Lost Creek Farm, and co-sponsored by the Library of Congress in collaboration with the West Virginia Folklife Program. The series received Appalachian Studies Association’s 2022 Jack Spadaro documentary award.

You can find more information about Mehmet’s scholarly work here.

Amy S Thompson

Amy is the co-founder of Two Seeds in a Pod. She is a professor of applied linguistics, the Chair of the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, and the Director of International Relations and Strategic Planning for Eberly College of Arts & Sciences at West Virginia University. When she has free time, she helps Mehmet process seeds, and helps with many tasks on the farm from fixing fences to building shelves to packing seeds. She is also involved with everything artistic about our company.

You can find more information about Amy’s scholarly work here.

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