Heirloom Vegetables: The Story Behind The Seeds
What Are Heirloom Vegetables And Where Did They Come From?
History of heirloom vegetables:
Twenty thousand years back heirloom vegetables were the only variety produced as hybrid seeds had not yet been developed. Farmers saved seeds of the current season and used them in the next season and continued doing so year after year, thereby retaining their characteristics. If farmers relocated, they would carry the seeds along, thereby facilitating the seeds to be planted in newer regions which indirectly contributed to the spread of a particular vegetable to different locations. It was also a way to understand which vegetable grows well in which climate and environment. However, things started changing during the 20th century as people started planting hybrid seeds for higher yields and ensuring uniformity. Traditional varieties were quickly becoming scarce and being taken over by these hybrid vegetables which were not nearly as flavorful and nutritious.
Heirloom vegetables are not hybrid and these are open pollinated. Seeds which are collected in a year retain most of the features of the parent plant, which is the key to their survival. These varieties are unique and this is inherited from their evolved resistance to diseases and pests and their ability to adapt to certain climates and conditions. Heirloom vegetables are available in an impressive range of shapes and most importantly flavors. Some might be sweeter, longer than the usual round shape generally found in supermarkets, with a striped finish, or with a complex flavor which you never would have found with the local grocer. Perfectly shaped, blemish free tomatoes which are shiny and look juicy and delicious are actually genetically mutated for mass production and in the end lose their wonderful flavor and taste. Having a bite into an unusually shaped heirloom tomato and a perfectly shaped genetically designed one is all that needed to understand the difference between the two varieties. Todd Snively, President of Todd's Seeds adds his opinion on the subject, "The distinction is quite evident! Eating a genetically modified vegetable versus an heirloom vegetable is a completely different experience. Heirloom vegetables will win in flavor every time." Growing your own heirloom vegetables from heirloom seeds is the best way to preserve the heirloom plants and not lose something so beneficial.
Heirloom tomatoes are quite popular and their seeds have always grown 'true to type'. The gardener gets what he plants – exactly! It has been found, that many heirloom tomatoes have actually stayed within a single family retaining all its characteristics and nutrients. Gardeners believe that flavor of heirloom tomatoes and vegetables are so superior that not a single growing season should be wasted on growing something else. Many others believe, growing heirloom vegetables is essential to preserve and maintain diversity of food crops, which will help us in preserving our valuable genetic variation, in the next few years. Not only are heirloom vegetables more delicious, they are healthier and don't pose any health risk like genetically modified seeds do.
About Todd's Seeds
Todd's Seeds provides non-GMO, organic, sprouting seeds for do it yourself sprouters and large seed companies. Todd's Seeds is now also offering Paperwhite Daffodil Bulbs for the upcoming fall season.
Todd J. Snively
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