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Bookseller/seed seller – only on AbeBooks

YukoA few weeks ago, I ordered a book from one of our sellers, Yuko Horiuchi from Carleton Place near Ottawa.

When the book arrived, the package also contained a price-list for Yuko’s other career – seed selling. Yuko is a professional gardener/professional bookseller, and sells books and open pollinated seeds, including fruits like Black Elderberry and Nanking Cherry, herbs like Chervil and Dill, flowers like Evening Primrose and Soapwort, vegetables like broccoli and squash, and roots like Jerusalem Artichoke and Horseradish.

Intrigued, I contacted Yuko and asked her what was her story. Her it is in her own words:

“I was born and raised in northern Japan. I read every book (minus mathematics) in the school library then in the town’s library. In Tokyo, I had student privilege to access the Parliament Library. I came to Canada in 1979 and was spoiled by the City of Winnipeg’s library system. Then I moved to a small town near Canada’s capital 10 years later.

“It was a rude awakening. I tried everything (to find books) – I asked the local library for an inter-branch loan card to the City of Ottawa library. Finally, I found AbeBooks and Amazon in mid-1990s. My quest was over but family members started making a fuss about the ever accumulating books.

“Being a bookworm, gardening was not my forte. But one fatal winter day in Winnipeg, I saw Harrowsmith magazine. I became an eager couch potato gardener in the suburban apartment. Later on I joined the local food co-op to eat well and provide good food to my young child. I was flabbergasted to find most of the food came from British Columbia. Next door to the health food co-op was the wonderful bookstore, Prairie Sky Books. I bought many books there. The front lawn of house we moved into was ripped up and became a garden, of course.

“I leant everything (about gardening) from books. Before I came to Canada, I had read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring translated in Japanese. Sawako Ariyoshi’s The Complex Contamination (1975) dealing with pollution was very popular too. It was no surprise that I became an open-pollinated seed saver/organic gardener (1985) and then bookseller (2000). Everything clicked – nice and tidy like Lego blocks.

I visit my family and friends (some from my kindergarten years) in Japan every couple years. I never miss visiting libraries, museums and picking up the ultimate Japanese groceries. I am a so-called ‘kuishino’ person, who loves to eat.”

Here’s Yuko’s site. Gardening and bookselling sounds like an ideal combination for making a living.

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