The term “family heirloom” calls to mind a small piece of history, lovingly and pain-stakingly preserved and passed down from generation to generation, a treasure whose worth is not just tied up in dollars and cents but in the value attributed to it by those care enough to hold onto it.
The same can be said for heirloom seeds. They are a part of our national heritage: varieties of fruits, vegetables, and herbs that have been planted and harvested with care, avoiding cross-pollination and hybridization to maintain a pure breed. Farmers have saved these seeds for decades or even centuries, protecting them for their productivity, their hardiness, their beauty, and their great flavors. Most importantly, they are providing our families and communities with a sustainable food supply for generations to come.
We hope that the varieties we grow will give you and your family not only safe and healthy food options, but also the opportunity to create fun, lasting food memories that can be passed down for years to come.
What is an heirloom?
As with many other common terms, there is no specific definition for an heirloom (also known as a heritage variety). Although some might debate how long a variety must be preserved in order to be considered heirloom, most agree that it should be traced back to the late 1940’s or earlier – before the widespread use of hybrid plants.
Heirlooms are open-pollinated, meaning they pollinate through natural means such as wind and insects. This can make things difficult when varieties of the same species are planted too close together, as cross-pollination can create unwanted hybrids. This is why plants of the same species are planted far apart and often separated by other plants.