Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Heirloom Tomatoes

Aren’t these tomatoes beautiful? They are from the garden in NY. I often hear gardeners speak about heirlooms, I wanted to know more about what this term means. Here is a summary of what I found on Wikipedia:

This definition is highly debated, but it can be broken down into two main schools of thought:
1. To be an heirloom, the seeds must be a certain age (over 100 years old, 50 years, or around 1945 which marks the beginning of industrial agriculture and hybrid seeds.)
2. A true heirloom is a cultivar that has been nurtured, selected, and handed down from one family member to another for many generations. This also includes cultivars that were picked up by companies.

However, regardless of definition specifics, most agree that heirlooms must be open pollinated (pollinated by bees, animals, wind) using natural breeding practices, which means no GMOs can ever be considered an heirloom.

(Note: In this photo, you can find Green Zebras which seem to have a little controversy around them as well. According to some sources, they are not considered heirlooms.)

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