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HVADC Client: Hudson Valley Seed Company and Four Fold Farm

Oct 15, 2023

The germination of an idea

HVADC client, the Hudson Valley Seed Company sprouted on a small 1.5 acre home plot in Accord New York in 2008. Now, with a little Business Technical Assistance from the Incubator Without Walls (IWW) program and a recent loan through HVADC’s AgriBusiness Loan Fund Program, the company’s new 107 acre site will not just be an expanded operation but a destination for community growers for many years to come.


When Ken Greene and Doug Muller started out in 2003 they weren’t selling their culturally significant heirloom seeds but rather lending them out through the local Gardener Library. While seed libraries are now popping up across the country, at the time the idea was quite novel. Gardeners would borrow the seeds, plant them, grow produce - then collect the new seeds and return them to the library. The innovative idea kept unique species in home crop rotations and promoted horticultural education.


The popularity of the library program convinced Greene and Muller that they could turn their project into a successful business. Over the years that followed they leased fields to grow more produce seeds and began working with HVADC business advisor Brian Zweig on business plans and strategies through funding from the IWW program. The company grew and grew fast, becoming known for their high quality seeds as well as their beautiful, artistic packaging – the Art Packs.


“We started working with Brian in our early years,” Muller recalled. “It was super useful. It became clear we needed a business plan and he gave us the basics on business concepts and has been there for us from then on.


They soon outgrew their facilities and began to plan for the purchase of a new farm where they could grow more product and build a space that suited their processing and packaging needs as well as offer a public facing shop that doubles as a venue for educational events- harkening back to the genesis of their enterprise at the library.


The Hudson Valley Seed Company worked with Zweig again in 2019 to secure an Empire State Development Market NY funding grant. That enabled them to purchase a former air strip on Airport Road in Accord, which had been acquired and put under farmland protection by the Open Space Institute.


“The protection plan on the site allows for agriculture on open land and preservation of a forested area,” said Muller.


Named Four Fold Farm – in honor of the unique shape of the Art Packs – the farm is now where the seed company grows its Certified Organic open-pollinated seeds, including many prized heirlooms. Four Fold Farm also produces heirloom shallots and other alliums, sunchokes, and a diverse collection of dahlia tubers. 

While the pandemic bogged down the farm’s expansion plans for a while, all the homebound folks looking to get into gardening during lockdown exponentially boosted sales. But as time passed, inflation raised the costs of construction and materials and outpaced the company’s projected costs. HVADC was happy to work with Greene and Muller again this year to secure the additional funding needed for equipment for two greenhouses through a $165,000 loan from the HVADC AgriBusiness Loan Fund Program.


“We couldn’t have proceeded without the assistance we got from HVADC,” Muller said. “We are really optimistic about the future. We are really looking forward to sharing the farm with people, through demonstrations and trial gardens. We hope it’s helpful, interesting an a good resource for the region.”  


While The Hudson Valley Seed Company is well on its way to realizing its success story, its funding woes highlight the regional and national need for funding programs and lenders that understand the nuance of agricultural businesses. The seed company, for example, is even more seasonal an operation than a traditional farm, and they have a sales period that intensifies in the winter (in preparation for planting) rather than harvest time.


“Construction costs, inflation and interest rates have become a real thorn in the side of agribusiness,” said HVADC Executive Director Todd Erling. “Even the most well run, financially solid and organized businesses struggle to keep up with rising costs. We are so pleased to be able to help clients like the Hudson Valley Seed Company find solutions to keep business moving. What Doug and Ken have planned will be not just a great business but a regional destination for the argitourism.”


To learn more about the assistance HVADC provides through the Incubator Without Walls program and the HVADC Agribusiness Loan Fund, visit

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