WINSLOW, ME- MARCH 7: Cheryl Boothby, aka the “Queen of Seed Packers”, fills a seed order of beans that requires counting each bean at the Fullfillment Center at Johnny’s Selected Seed company in Winslow on Tuesday, March 6, 2018. (Staff Photo by David Leaming/Staff Photographer)
TEXT and PHOTOS by David Leaming:
On the day before the biggest snowstorm of the year workers at Johnny’s Selected Seeds company in Winslow are scurrying about inside a huge shipping warehouse filling seed orders that will go to gardeners and warm soil around the world.
The shipping department inside the Fullfillment Center in Winslow swells from 10- employees to another 60 seasonal workers to keep up with the work that begins the first of the year, according to warehouse supervisor Steve Mott. “On January 1 a switch gets flipped and we get crazy busy,” Mott said as focused workers with trays and carts negotiated through a maze of stacks of seeds searching for herb, flower and vegetable seeds.
Mott said the workers first receive a paper order form with name and number of desired product, amount of packs of seeds or tools and address of customer. Once the order is filled that order then goes to another employee who scans the order to confirm it has been filled. After that the order goes to the packers who box and address the package before it is sent to the shipping room for delivery.
The shipping warehouse from above looks like a video game where figures silently go about their work shoulder to shoulder filling orders.
In another room workers use forklifts to select large quantities of seed while next door seed packages are filled that requires hand-counting items and even weighing tiny seeds to get the correct quantity. A smaller room is devoted to gardening tools.
Mott said the bulk of orders come from New England customers followed by others in the United States and finally 5 percent are international customers.
Many of the seed varieties are developed at company farms in Albion whil

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