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Winter Squash
The Wizard Era  

Mark Luterra invented the Winnow Wizard and changed the standards for organic seed quality.

Mark came to work for us in 2014 as a stand-in for an injured worker, and we never wanted him to leave. During his first sessions of seed cleaning, he realized there had to be a better way than I had showed him. So over a weekend, he invented one. He devised a winnowing machine that diffused the twisted turbulence of a window fan into a smooth laminar flow of air that uniformly separated seed from chaff. It had a hopper

and a vibratory plate that fed seed into the airflow. That was Winnow Wizard #1. Improvements came with each iteration; a squirrel-cage blower, Hank Keogh added an agitator, someone thought of a magnetic soil remover, Victor gave user feedback. Mark sold a couple of them to growers, and sensing the potential, unveiled #6 at the Organic Seed Growers Conference in 2018, releasing the design as open source. With a handful of orders from that demonstration, Mark started making Winnow Wizards full time in our shop, each one with an artists design provided by Victor Sauvie.

There are now 105 Winnow Wizards spread from Nova Scotia to Hawaii, helping organic seed growers, indigenous seedkeepers, and seed companies of every scale improve the cleanliness and germination of their seed. These devices are carefully, individually, tuned by Mark to a degree that permits the separation of good seed from hollow or immature seed of the same size. This is a unique feature, and game-changing.

Mark has now partnered with a small manufacturer in Wisconsin to continue production, so that he can move to new challenges in life. He can be contacted at luterra.com where you’ll also be able to read all about the Winnow Wizard. I own #1,#4, and #105, sure to be collectors items some day. Thank you, Mark.

Mark stand with with three Winnow Wizards

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