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Notice the pencil marks! And how about that red dress!

I’ve always been a sucker for an underdog, whether it’s the shy kid in class or the co-worker whose work goes unnoticed amidst colleagues who are adept at creating their own press. There’s nothing wrong with confidence. But I’d rather be a a little too modest than eclipse the good traits and contributions of people around me.

That’s why I fell for this story about the D. Landgreth Seed Company, one of the oldest companies in America. Founded in 1784 by David Landgreth, the company is now hanging by a thread. It was purchased in 2003 by a Pennsylvania couple who attempted to reinvent the company, buying new equipment and updating its way of doing business. Along with its antiquated accounting system and 100-year-old equipment, they inherited a rare collection of bound catalogs dating back to the late 1700s. Together, they chronicle America’s agricultural and horticultural story. As I look out the window at the giant zinnias I planted this summer, it’s odd to think that my favorite flower originated from this seed house over 200 years ago. (Landgreth introduced this humble flower to America in 1798.)

Although the new owners invested their savings and secured loans to help save the company, the business hasn’t generated enough revenue to repay loans. So this year, D. Landgreth Seed is selling a commemorative edition of its catalog, hoping to shore up its financial condition. More than just a seed catalog, it contains historic information about the flowers, herbs and vegetables we enjoy, gathered¬†from Landgreth’s vintage collection of bound catalogs. At $5 a crack, the company needs to sell a million copies to repay their debt. As unlikely as it sounds, I’m rooting for these underdogs with my pocketbook. I love the vintage red dress on the cover of the 100th anniversary catalog pictured here!¬† I’ve already purchased a small inventory as gifts for friends. If you’d like to buy one, visit the D. Landgreth store.

Here’s how you can win a free copy: 1) make a purchase in October or 2) Share a photo of yourself in your favorite reading spot OR garden. We’ll send you a copy!