CFSA’s Southeast Organic Seed and Variety Trial Report was developed to support organic growers in two ways: to increase access to variety trials results and to provide a significant listing of organic seed purveyors.

In 2014, CFSA sought to compile the results of variety trials conducted under organic management throughout the southeastern region. The unfortunate reality is that there is very little data available concerning which varieties are suited to the unique management techniques, regional conditions and market demands that organic growers in the Southeast face. Organic growers typically source and manage on-farm fertility using a variety of inputs and lack the production aids conventional system employ to ward off pest, disease and weed pressure. Therefore, data from conventional trials are less meaningful for organic systems.

CFSA reached out to those growers who have been making headway on this issue to fill our current void of information for variety selection.  The report compiles contributions from seed producers, extension staff, researchers, and farmers who have been engaged in this critical work. Reports were split into two categories. First, we’ve grouped variety trials that were replicated so that cultivar performance could be compared statistically. In the second section, you’ll find observational trials that were not replicated but still offer helpful information on variety performance. We sincerely thank each of the contributors to this report for their efforts and willingness to share trial findings.

The final section of our report lists purveyors of certified organic seed. The USDA National Organic Program standards require that organic crop producers use organically grown seed – and this provision includes both cash and cover crops. While the industry continues to grow, it can be challenging for growers to track down companies that offer certified products. Our hope is that this robust (although not comprehensive) list will help growers source compliant organic seed. If you use or know of a company that should be added to this list, please contact us so we can include their information.



Replicated Variety Trials

Central NC Bell and Hot Pepper Variety Trial, NC A&T (.pdf)

Central VA Organic Curcurbit Variety Trials, Twin Oaks Organic Seed Farm (.pdf)

Western NC Organic Cucurbit Variety Trial, NCSU (.pdf)

Western NC Organic Broccoli Variety Trial, NCSU (.pdf)    

Coastal SC System of Rice Intensification Cultivar Trials, Clemson (.pdf)

Piedmont Eastern NC Organic Broccoli Variety Trial, CFSA (.pdf)

NC Organic Soybean and Wheat Variety Trials, RAFI/NCSU (.pdf)

NC Organic Wheat Official Variety Trial, NCSU (.pdf)

Eastern TN High Tunnel Organic Trials for Lettuce, Arugula, Endive, Carrots, UT (.pdf)


Observational Variety Trials

Central VA Organic Watermelon Observation Trial, Twin Oaks Seed Farm (.pdf)

Central VA Organic Eggplant Observational Trial, Twin Oaks Garden (.pdf)

Central NC Organic Sweet Corn Observational Trial, NC A&T (.pdf)

Central VA Assorted Crops Observational Trials, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (.pdf)

Piedmont GA Sunn Hemp Observational Trial, UGA (.pdf)

Central NC Observational Trial Small Grain for Baking, Box Turtle Bakery and Root Down Farm (.pdf)


Where to Buy Organic Seed

Purveyors of Organic Seed (.pdf)

Find Organic Fruit, Vegetable, Herb and Flower Seed, Planting Stock, Cover Crop and Forage Seed, and Row Crop Seed


The Southeast Organic Seed + Variety Trials Report was compiled by Eric John Soderholm, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s former Organic Production Coordinator.  Please direct any questions about this publication to Mark Dempsey, our Farm Services Coordinator.



Funded in part by: 

North Carolina Department of Agriculture, Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and CFSA’s Organic Carolinas Initiative