From the Forums: Heirloom Veggies

It's that time of year again, and inkabinkaboo182 is sharing a good site resource he's found for heirloom veggies.

Plants like these are very environmentally friendly, because planting them preserves biodiversity and if the plants are natives they require less maintenance (ie, water and fertilizer and the like).

BobTrips goes on to point out:

Heirlooms, the seeds that our grandparents and their parents often planted, were often saved and shared because of one important quality.

The food they produced tasted good.

Modern seed development has often been oriented toward creating produce that had good visual appeal, stored and shipped well. The push was to get a smooth, round, red tomato to the market. One that tended to ripen all at once so that the vine could be snatched up whole and stripped of its fruit which is a lot less labor intensive than going down the rows selecting the fruit that is ready.

My own contribution to this discussion is that since we want tomatoes all year in our Taco Bell tacos and we want to find them every time we go to the store, we've been importing tomatoes from Florida, Mexico, and California...but the problem is that to ship these puppies you gotta pick them before they fully ripen. This means they are tasteless and no more than water and skin.

To pull this off they stack tomatoes in large warehouses on palates and pump in ethylene gas (a naturally occurring gas created by vegetation, in this case created by petroleum) to trick the tomatoes into ripening. They may keep longer, but they taste terrible. It makes me wonder, in another couple of generations if anyone will actually remember what a real tomato tastes like, or will our kids just grow up thinking they are simply a sack of pulpy water?

This is why I grow my own.

Come on into the forum for this discussion and let's chat about everything heriloom. Tips, tricks, resources, memories, and of course what's wrong with our society that grocery stores and fast food chains will sell an inferior product just because people "want it."