Why Heirlooms?

We choose to grow sustainably grown Heirlooms Veggies - this is why we love them



Heirloom vegetables are old-time varieties, open-pollinated instead of hybrid, and saved and handed down through multiple generations of families. Basically there are two main ways to describe your seeds, the genetics of your seeds and how your seeds were grown. Heirlooms are seed varieties that are at least 50 years old, and you can save these seeds and plant them year after year. Heirlooms are never hybrids or GMOs. Hybrids are crosses of heirloom varieties.



An heirloom seed, therefore, is seed from a plant that has been passed from one generation to another, carefully grown and saved because it is considered valuable. The value could lie in its flavor, productivity, hardiness or adaptability. Many heirlooms have been grown, saved and passed down for more than 100 years. Some have history reaching back 300 years or more. To have been saved and preserved for so long, these seed varieties have shown their value to many people and families for an extremely long time.



Exceptional taste is the No. 1 reason many gardeners cite for choosing heirloom varieties - - they all immediately invoke flavorful images for those who knew them in childhood and others who have discovered them.

“A lot of the breeding programs for modern hybrids have sacrificed taste and nutrition,” says George DeVault, executive director of Seed Savers Exchange, the leading nonprofit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom and other rare seeds. “The standard Florida tomato is a good example. Instead of old-time juicy tangy tomatoes, it tastes like cardboard. It was bred to be picked green and gas-ripened because that’s what was needed for commercial growing and shipping.”

Many heirloom vegetables have been saved for decades and even centuries because they are the best performers in home and market gardens. Ship-ability wasn’t a concern so flavor could take a front seat, and it did. What direct-to-market farmer would survive if his cucumbers didn’t taste as good as his neighbor’s? Backyard gardeners rarely cart their produce cross-town much less cross-country. Even today, small market farmers don’t usually transport their harvest in huge tractor trailers. There’s no need to plant veggies bred to be tough when you can plant heirloom vegetables that are tender, sweet, juicy and just plain delicious.

Being a Chef Beauty is important for veggies.. but taste is king.



Heirloom vegetables are likely to be more nutritious than newer varieties.

In addition to ship-ability, breeders and commercial growers have been steadily pushing for higher and higher yields. Even though hybrids may often outyield heirlooms, it turns out we’re now paying a hidden cost for this emphasis on higher yields. Recent research has revealed that in many cases, newer vegetables and grains are significantly less nutritious than heirlooms.



Locally-adapted heirlooms also fly in the face of one of the major criticisms vintage veggies endure. Are they really less resistant to pests and diseases? Again, there is a discrepancy between what works commercially and what works on a home or small scale. One hundred and fifty acres of French heirloom melons growing in Texas might be devastated by an infestation or illness, but when you’re talking about small, diverse gardens and heirloom seeds that have been selected to grow well in that region, heirlooms may actually be a better choice. “Varieties that are localized tend to survive attacks by pests and disease quite well,” Kaiser says. When you select and save seeds from the most successful heirloom vegetables from your garden, the more reliable those vegetables will become year after year.

Not only do you get a better, locally adapted strain of a variety when you save you own seed; heirloom vegetables are “less uniform” than hybrids, which means they often don’t ripen all at once. Commercial growers love the uniformity of hybrids because they can pick the crop in one fell swoop. But for small farms, a gradual supply of fresh produce is usually preferable to the glut of the all-at-once harvest that many hybrids provide.



Most heirlooms have been saved and selected because they have the best flavor and production in home and small market gardens. We get the benefit of this long development cycle, as only the best producing, most flavorful, most memorable and most dependable varieties have made the selection throughout the years. Delicate, weak or fickle varieties are no longer with us.