Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables

Best Heirloom Vegetables and Fruit to Grow

Vegetable and fruit heirlooms are types of vegetables and fruit that have been in existence for at least 50 years and are distinctive in flavor (before commercial hybrids came along). Discover some of the numerous advantages of adding heirlooms in your garden, from spring to fall, along with a few of our favorite kinds! ADVERTISEMENT

What is an Heirloom Plant?

Simply defined, it is an antique cultivar that predates the hybrids that were developed in the 1940s. Plants classified as “heirloom” are the typical crops and flowers that people have been growing for centuries, before commercial hybrids were available in the 1950s to 1970s. Despite the fact that hybrids were developed to provide improved transportation and durability as well as disease resistance and marketability, hybrids frequently lack the nuanced flavor and character of heirlooms. Many people are finding some of the original tasty heirlooms, thanks to a rise in interest in cooking and gardening.

Although heirlooms may appear weird at times due to the fact that they are not developed for consistent shape and size, the majority of heirlooms have unrivaled flavor.

Heirlooms include plants that have been developed by seed companies and market gardeners in the past; beloved backyard mongrels that have emerged

5 Reasons to Grow Heirlooms

  1. The best reason to raise heirlooms is the incredible flavor they provide! It is only for supermarket durability and transportation that hybrid seeds are developed
  2. Heritage seeds are saved from season to season and grow true to type, reproducing faithfully the characteristics of their original crop. The majority of hybrid seeds, which are what most grocery stores offer, do not allow for this. Heirloom seeds, on the other hand, not only keep particular tastes, but also forms and colors. So if you come across a “strange” tomato, don’t be concerned! While hybrids in supermarkets have been accustomed to uniformity, heirlooms contain inherent personalities that include a range of flavors, colors, and traits that make food more exciting to consume. The nutritional content of many heirlooms is higher as well
  3. Heirlooms help conserve variety in food crops so that we don’t lose valuable genetic variation that we might need in the future
  4. Heirlooms have a long history
  5. History! Discovering the origin tales of American heirlooms is a fascinating and educational experience. Many have been passed down through generations of gardeners and nurserymen in various parts of the world.

You may carry on the tradition in your own yard or garden.

Heirloom or Hybrid?

You may carry on the tradition in your own backyard or garden.

Favorite Heirloom Vegetables and Fruit

Heirloom seeds are available from most garden centers, and you may also obtain them over the internet. You may discover more about heritage seeds by searching for them on Google. We’ve included a few heirloom seed sources below, but you can also learn more by searching for the seed’s name on Google. Please keep in mind that the Days to Mature are given in parenthesis. This is a key factor to consider, especially when planting in the fall. See ourGardening Calendar to find out when the first and last days to sow seeds are in your area.

‘Brittle Wax’ is a type of wax that has a brittle texture (50) ‘Burpee’s Stringless Green Pod’ (48), ‘Fowler’ (51) and ‘Triomphe de Farcy’ (52) are some of the titles in this collection (48) Scarlet Runner beans (pole) are a kind of bean (60) “Kentucky Wonder” (65) “Oregon Giant Snap” (58) “Potomac” (67) “Cherokee Trail of Tears” (65) “Kentucky Wonder” (65) Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a company that specializes in heirloom seeds.

BEETS ‘Bull’s Blood’ is a term used to describe the blood of bulls.

The Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization that helps people save seeds.

‘Jenny Lind’ (70)’Minnesota Midget’ (60)CARROTS ‘Danvers Half Long’ (75)’Red Cored Chantenay’ (65)’Scarlet Nantes’ (65)’St.

CORN Ashworth (69 points), “Golden Bantam” (78 points), and “Utah King” (79 points) (50) CUCUMBERS ‘Bushy’ is a nickname for someone who lives in the bush (46) ‘Double Yield’ is an abbreviation for “double yield” (55) ‘Straight Eight’ is a slang term for a straight eight (58) ‘White Wonder’ is a euphemism for “white wonder” (58) THE ‘DIAMOND’ EGGPLANT (65) ‘Ping Tung Long’ is a Chinese proverb (65) LETTUCE ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ is a kind of Simpson (55).

  1. Lettuce with a compact leaf shape.
  2. Leaves that are upright, thick, and crisp.
  3. Small, green heads about 3 to 4 inches across are produced.
  4. ‘May Queen Lettuce,’ as the saying goes (50).
  5. ‘Little Gem,’ as the saying goes (30 to 50).
  6. any of the heritage varieties Image courtesy of Deer Tongue (Matchless) Lettuce with a loose leaf.
  7. PEAS with a “Green Arrow” ‘Tom Thumb’ sweet peas are number 68 on the list.

(70) ‘Klari Baby Cheese’ is a type of cheese made from the milk of a cow (65) RADISHES ‘Cherry Bell’ (22) is a round and smooth berry variety.

Easter Basket (28), brightly colored, little radishes!

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is a company that specializes in heirloom seeds.

Noble Giant (46) has huge, black leaves and has a delicate taste.

(85) CARVER (90), “Georgia Jet” (90), and “Ivis White Cream” are some of the sweet potatoes available (90) ‘Jumbo’ is an abbreviation for ‘Jumbo’ (90) University of California ANR and UCMaster Gardeners of Napa County contributed to this article.

(58) ‘Sophie’s Selection’ (55) ‘Stupice’ (55)’Yellow Pear’ is a kind of apple (75) WATERMELON WITH THE MOON AND THE STARS (100) ‘Blacktail Mountain’ is a mountain range in the United States (76) (80) ‘Cream of Saskatchewan’ (81), ‘Sweet Siberian’ (82), (80) Check out our video to find out more about the numerous heritage types we have available.

Have a great time cultivating heritage types that are vibrant in color, full of taste, and can’t be found in the grocery store! This linked article on heritage catalogs and pioneer seedswomen is worth reading.

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Grow Heirloom Fruits & Vegetables with 11 Top Varieties

Heirloom fruits and vegetables are quite popular right now, and for good reason: they taste just as good as they look! They range in color from green striped to yellow crenelated, and they’re a feast for the eyes and the stomach. Grown from “rare” seeds, these cherished kinds have been tenderly passed down from generation to generation, and they harken back to a time when there were many more variety of vegetables available. Furthermore, more varieties meant greater genetic variation, which resulted in plants that were stronger, better tasting, and healthier.

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You should try your hand at producing your own veggies if this describes you.

Stay with us as we investigate the benefits of produce with a traceable origin and learn how to cultivate 11 delicious, old-fashioned veggies and fruits in your own backyard.

Something Old

Heirlooms are the direct and pure offspring of historic kinds that have been providing great crops for decades. Heirlooms are the most expensive type of seed since they are so expensive. Every season, they collect their seeds in order to use them the next year. Shared seeds help to preserve a time-honored tradition as well as the genetic variety that is essential for producing the finest crops possible. Seeds sown in home gardens become acclimated to their environment and provide greater results year after year.

  • Some sources believe that a cultivar must have been introduced before the year 1951 in order to be included.
  • Rare seeds, on the other hand, come from a single line of ancestors and have never been genetically modified.
  • Many of them are named after people who had big gardens or owned modest food stores in the past.
  • Elizabeth “Marm” Hubbard is the inspiration for the name of the hubbard squash, which is a widely grown cultivar.
  • H.
  • Unfortunately, when plant breeders created new kinds that were potentially more disease-resistant or simpler to carry to market, old-time types were at risk of extinction, as new variations were developed.

The fact that these kinds are now flourishing in nurseries all over the world is due to the many gardeners who preserved their seeds, as well as organizations such as Seed Savers International.

Tried and True

Heirloom vegetable preservation is defined by the act of gathering seeds, distributing them, and storing them for the next planting season. Due to the lack of nurseries from which to purchase seeds in the past, this was a required step. In addition, it insured that the same excellent tomatoes were produced year after year! It is possible to obtain “true” reproduction from the seeds taken each year from the conserved variety of old, meaning that the plants produced are identical to their parent plants in every regard, but become stronger over time as they become more used to growing in a garden environment.

When we cultivate heirlooms in the garden, there is always the risk that they can cross pollinate with non-heirloom kinds in the surrounding area, which is unfortunate.

Culinary Attributes

Heirloom veggies are among the most beautiful and delicious sorts of produce I’ve ever produced, yet they’re also among the most difficult to raise. They are available in a variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures, some of which are recognizable and others which are odd, and many of which you have probably never eaten before. Aside from that, unlike many current hybrids, which produce a single crop, heirlooms are more likely to yield throughout the growing season, rather than burdening you with a large harvest that you can’t utilize quickly enough.

Heritable peppers, in addition to tomatoes, are expanding in popularity.

Traditional beet types in lush colours of red and gold are making a comeback in the root vegetable medleys of today’s top chefs, who are incorporating them into their dishes.

Even if they have chosen their vegetables straight from the garden and they do not appear “genuine,” it is always simpler to encourage children to eat their vegetables.

11 Old-Time Fruits and Veggies to Love

Here are eleven mouthwatering vegetables and fruits. Chacune of these varieties is a tried and proven old-time heritage variety – you’ll be pleased you made place for them in your garden this year!

1. Yellow Pear Tomato

Grown in containers, the ‘Yellow Pear’ tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum’Yellow Pear’) plant produces the ideal bite-sized snack, with a somewhat sweet flavor that is brimming with natural sweetness. ‘Yellow Pear’ is a variety of the plant Lycopersicon esculentum (Yellow Pear). Yellow Pear seeds are available from True Leaf Market in a variety of sizes, including 1-ounce, 4-ounce, and 250-milligram packets. Provide structural support and watch to see whether your plant can reach the magnificent height of 12 feet!

This plant grows best in zones 6 to 13, so make sure you have plenty of space for it. Harvesting is anticipated to commence in around 78 days. Open-pollinated and organically grown, with certification.

2. Lolla Rossa Lettuce

Lillie lettuce, also known as “Lollo Rossa” in Italy, is a frilly, red-tipped kind of lettuce with loose leaves that have a characteristic nutty flavor and may be used in salads or cooked as a side dish. Lactuca sativa ‘Lolla Rossa’ lettuce seeds (also known as ‘Lollo Rosso’ lettuce seeds) are available from True Leaf Market in packets of two grams, one ounce, and four ounces. In addition, they are certified organic and open pollinated. Zones 4 to 9 are suitable for growing this plant in full sun to partial shade.

It takes roughly 55 days to reach maturity.

3. MoonStars Watermelon

“MoonStars” watermelon (Citrullus lanatusvar. ‘MoonStars’) is a real flavor experience that can only be described as “amazing.” By looking at it, you’d never guess that this dark green, lumpy, bumpy skin with brilliant yellow areas conceals delicious, bright red watermelon like you haven’t tasted in decades. Citrullus lanatus var. ‘MoonStars’ is a variety of Citrullus lanatus. True Leaf Market sells ‘MoonStars’ watermelon seeds in a variety of sizes, including 1-ounce, 4-ounce, and 1-pound quantities.

It takes around 100 days to produce ripe oval or round fruit when grown in full light in zones 3 to 9.

4. Henderson Lima Bean

“MoonStars” watermelon (Citrullus lanatusvar. ‘MoonStars’) is a real taste sensation that can only be described as “delightful.” By looking at it, you’d never guess that this dark green, lumpy, bumpy rind with brilliant yellow areas conceals delicious, bright red watermelon like you haven’t had in a very long time. MoonStars Citrullus lanatus (Moonflower) is a variety of Citrullus lanatus (Moonflower). True Leaf Market offers packets of ‘MoonStars’ watermelon seeds in sizes ranging from one ounce to four ounces to one pound.

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You should anticipate to see ripe oval or round fruit in around 100 days if you grow it in full light from zones 3 through 9.

5. Brandywine Pink Tomato

‘Brandywine Pink’ is one of my favorite varieties of Solanum lycopersicum. True Leaf Market sells seeds for this traditional heritage cultivar in quarter-ounce, one-ounce, and four-ounce packets, according to their website. ‘Brandywine Pink’ is a variety of Solanum lycopersicum. You may expect mature fruit that’s ready to pick in around 90 days if you grow this beefsteak indeterminate type, which is noted for its wonderful flavor. More information about cultivating Brandywine may be found here.

6. Rainbow Carrots

This rainbow blend of carrot seeds (Daucus carotasubsp.Sativus) comprises a range of heirlooms, allowing you to create vibrant salads or roasted side dishes with these nutritious vegetables. Variety of Fruits and Vegetables Daucus carota subsp. sativus is a kind of carrot. A variety of seeds, such as ‘Atomic Red,’ “Bambino Orange,” “Cosmic Purple,” “Lunar White,” and “Solar Yellow,” are available in mixed packets of 1 or 4 ounces, or a large 1 pound, from True Leaf Market, including “Atomic Red,” “Bambino Orange,” “Cosmic Purple,” “Lunar White,” and “Solar Yellow.” It takes around 70 days for them to reach maturity, and they may be grown in a range of temperatures in zones 3 through 11.

You can find all of our favorite carrot cultivars in this section.

7. Big Jim Peppers

They (Capsicum annuum’Big Jim’), which are mild spicy peppers, develop brilliant red fruit in around 75 days or fewer. They may be harvested green or let to ripen completely on the plant. ‘Big Jim’ is a variety of the pepper Capsicum annuum. One substantial harvest with significant yields, suitable for eating fresh or drying, may be expected from this plant. True Leaf Market sells seeds in a range of sizes, and they are available in a number of amounts.

8. Blue Hubbard Squash

This distinctive and aesthetically appealing blue-gray squash (Curcubita maxima) contains the normal orange flesh of a hubbard squash, but it has a visually stunning blue-gray skin that makes it an unusual and lovely addition to the garden. Curcubita maxima (blue curcubita) These are really sweet and are excellent for pureeing or creating pie filling. True Leaf Market sells seeds in a variety of sizes and quantities. It takes around 110 days for the plant to reach maturity.

9. Purple Orach

This distinctive and aesthetically appealing blue-gray squash (Curcubita maxima) contains the regular orange meat that you’re familiar to, but it has a visually stunning blue-gray skin that makes it a unique and lovely addition to the garden. Curcubita maximum, often known as the blue curcubita Because they are so sweet, they are excellent for purees and pie fillings. True Leaf Market sells seeds in a variety of sizes and quantities, with a maturation time of around 110 days.

10. Royal Burgundy Beans

When grown from seeds, this purple variety of bush beans has a high level of pest and disease resistance, and harvestable pods can be harvested as soon as 50 days after sowing the seeds. Phaseolus vulgaris ‘Royal Burgundy’ is a kind of phaseolus. Phaseolus vulgaris’Royal Burgundy’ prefers full sun in milder regions in zones 3-9, and seeds are available through True Leaf Market. Phaseolus vulgaris’Royal Burgundy’ is a perennial that grows well in zones 3-9. Please keep in mind that their vivid color may fade to green when cooked, but they are beautiful on the plant – and they are also wonderful in salads!

11. Lemon Cucumber

The name ‘Lemon’ comes from the spherical form of the fruit and the pale yellow skins that distinguish this species of Cucumis sativus. Cucumis sativus ‘Lemon’ is a kind of cucumber. They grow well in full sun and reach maturity in 60-70 days in zones 4-12. They are hardy in the United States. True Leaf Market sells seeds for a reasonable price.

A Proud Heritage

Heritable veggies are popular among many people because they taste similar to the crops they raised as children with their parents or grandparents and gathered from the vegetable patch. Obviously, you’re excited to give heirlooms a shot! Their presence serves as a poignant reminder of a period when families subsisted on excellent fresh vegetables out of necessity rather than fashion. For the same reason, they also stored seeds and shared them with their friends and neighbors. The privilege of planting rare seeds, which are our gardening forefathers’ bequest to us in current times, is available to us in modern times.

  1. Additionally, heirlooms might be difficult to work with at first.
  2. Because modern-day varieties may not have the same disease and insect resistance as rare variations, you may want to incorporate modern-day kinds in your garden with the rare varieties to assure a plentiful crop.
  3. Tomatoes such as the famous ‘Brandywine Yellow’ and ‘Green Zebra’ varieties are among those available.
  4. Consider purchasing a seed package or two and seeing what happens.
  5. We recommend that you read our post on growing annuals from seed inside for additional information on how to get your seeds off to a healthy start early in the season.
  6. Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!

True Leaf Market provided the images for this post. Uncredited images courtesy of Shutterstock. Mike Quinn originally published this article on September 7th, 2014. The most recent update was made on May 30th, 2018. Allison Sidhu contributed to this piece with additional writing and editing.

Heirloom Vegetables

There are various ways in which heirloom vegetables might be characterized. According to some, heirloom vegetables are any vegetable varieties that have been under cultivation for a long period of time. Other individuals believe that vegetables are genuinely heirloom only if they have been passed down from generation to generation by a family or organization that has conserved them. As a result, heirloom seeds are always open-pollinated, as hybrid seed cannot be preserved by conventional techniques.

A package of heritage tomato varietals is a nostalgic taste of days gone by.

Powell, Clemson Extension, 2016

Why Grow Heirlooms

One of the primary reasons for growing heritage vegetables is that they provide a sense of the past. Due to a decrease in the number of people who store seed from year to year in recent decades, several kinds that had been cherished and nurtured for centuries have been lost. For many gardeners, preserving an heirloom cultivar serves as a link to their ancestors’ gardens. Many gardeners raise heritage varieties of vegetables because they have greater flavor. Cultivars developed for convenience of transportation, uniform appearance, or the capacity to grow well throughout the country are typically more flavorful and delicate than heirloom types that have been selected for taste and softness over several generations.

  1. Those choices will be tailored to the growing circumstances and preferences of the individual growers.
  2. Thousands of individuals cultivate and conserve old cultivars every year because it allows them to save a significant amount of money by avoiding the purchase of new and expensive hybrid seed every year.
  3. The preservation of heirlooms is also important for the purpose of preserving their genetic features for future usage.
  4. Increased disease and insect issues may result as a result of this.

Saving Seed

If you cultivate heritage veggies, there is a good chance that you will save seed. Although more and more seed firms are beginning to include historic cultivars in their seed lists, most heritage gardeners prefer to keep their seed supply secure against changes in fashion. Another reason why many people choose to save their own seed is that it allows them to feel more connected to the entire process of development and regeneration. It is not recommended to attempt to conserve seed from hybrid vegetables.

  • Saving seed can result in the duplication of open-pollinated cultivars if the crop is not permitted to cross with other strains of similar vegetables while being preserved.
  • Some vegetables are mostly self-pollinating, which means that their seeds will spawn plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant that generated the seeds.
  • Insects will occasionally cross them, so place them at least 10 feet apart to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Vegetables that are cross-pollinated by insects or the wind must be raised in isolation or at a great distance from other types to avoid contamination.
  • Cucumbers, onions, maize, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, beets, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, melons, radish, spinach and Swiss chard are all pollinated by insects or wind, as are turnips and Swiss chard.
  • In order to ensure the survival of an heirloom variety, you should avoid breeding it with any other varieties while growing it.
  • An additional technique is known as temporal isolation.

Before harvesting the rest of the crop for consumption, choose plants from which to store seed.

Make certain that they are properly labeled as seeds in order to avoid temptation.

Seeds picked at an appropriate time are more likely to produce a good crop than seeds gathered too soon.

Keeping seeds in warm, dry conditions while they develop extends their storage life.

When kept properly, the majority of vegetable seeds will remain viable for three to five years.

Packets of silica gel should be placed with the seed to help keep it dry.

Seed should be kept refrigerated to extend its shelf life even more, if possible.

If the germination rate is poor, either remove the seeds or sow additional seeds in order to achieve the desired number of seedlings.

The viability of these seeds should last for five years or longer if they are stored in a cold, dry environment.

These should survive for at least three years if they are properly preserved. Seeds with a short shelf life may only be counted on to endure until the following growing season. Corn, leek, onion, and spinach seed are among the vegetables on this list.


Beans of all types are highly popular heritage vegetables, and there are many different varieties. There are many of varieties, each with a wide range of flavor, size, color, and markings, as well as adaptation to different climates. Beans are typically not cross-pollinated with other plants. Plantings should be separated by a sufficient amount of space to prevent their vines from intertwining. Allow the seed to fully grow on the vine before harvesting it. Pull the entire plant and leave it in the shade to dry out for one to two weeks before planting it again.

Shell the eggs and keep them in a paper bag in a cold, dry location.

LimaButter Beans

Since 1794, the Thweat family has been cultivating Red Calico Butterbeans in their home state of Tennessee. Powell Smith, J. Powell, Clemson Extension, 2016

  • When grown in hot, humid areas, ‘Christmas Lima’ thrives. Plants with climbing vines generate enormous seeds that are white with maroon streaks and have a fantastic flavor
  • The ‘Jackson Wonder Bush’ is a prolific and drought-tolerant 1880s vintage heirloom from Georgia that produces large seeds that are white with maroon streaks and have a beautiful flavor. Purple and black mottling can be found here. ‘Red Calico Butterbeans’ are a robust and prolific type with a dark burgundy seed coat that may be harvested in 66 days. This butterbean has been in the Thweat family in Tennessee since 1794
  • ‘Snow on the Mountain’ is a gorgeous, heavy-producing pole lima from the 1800s
  • And ‘Snow on the Mountain’ is a beautiful, heavy-producing pole lima from the 1800s. The seeds have a rich burgundy color with white patterns on them.

Pole, SnapDry Beans

When cooked, purple Pod Pole beans turn a bright green color. Powell Smith, J. Powell, Clemson Extension, 2016

  • After being cooked, purple Pod Pole beans become green. (2016), Clemson Extension, by J. Powell Smith.


Each and every kind of corn is pollinated by the wind and will quickly cross with other types. To preserve purity, varieties should be separated by a significant distance, ranging from 600 feet to more than half a mile. You may also conserve seed by bagging the ears that you wish to store for seed and hand-pollinating them, or by cultivating cultivars that will be separated by flowering time, like as red and yellow varieties. For seed preservation purposes, you should always plant a minimum of 200 corn plants in a big block.

Allow the seed to dry sufficiently on the plant before husking it.

The lifespan of a seed is only one year.

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Powell Smith, J.

  • ‘Bloody Butcher’ is a kind of flint corn that is utilized for flour production and decorating. There are several varieties of corn with brilliant red ears, including ‘Country Gentleman’, which is a famous old-fashioned shoe peg type with irregularly spaced white kernels
  • The earliest recorded introduction of ‘Golden Bantam’ was in 1902. This is the corn to which all others were compared
  • ‘Strawberry Popcorn,’ an old variety that grows 2- to 3-inch ears that are excellent for decorations in the fall and popping in the winter
  • ‘Stowell’s Evergreen,’ which was the standard late-season white sweet corn before ‘Silver Queen,’ was the standard late-season white sweet corn before ‘Silver Queen,’ which was the standard late-season white sweet corn before ‘Silver Queen,’ The earlobes are 8 to 9 inches in length.


Cucumbers come in a variety of shapes and sizes that are rarely seen in grocery shops. Cucumbers are pollinated by a variety of insects. Consequently, if you wish to conserve cucumber seeds, grow only one kind of cucumbers. Allow the fruits to ripen on the vine until they are ready to harvest (skin becomes yellowish and hard). Then proceed in the same manner as described below for tomatoes.

  • “Lemon” produces a large number of lemon-colored and lemon-shaped fruits on vigorously growing vines, whereas “White Wonder” is an old variety that grows to an ivory white hue when matured. When the fruit is 7 inches in diameter, it is easy to notice it.


When seeds are fluffy in appearance and just before all of the seeds have completely dried, cut off the seed stalks. If the seeds are left to ripen on the plant, they will fall off the stalk and be lost.

  • ‘Deer Tongue’ is a pre-1900 heirloom that was called for its pointed leaves and broad mid-rib, which distinguishes it from other varieties. Because it is heat-tolerant and slow-bolting, ‘Tennis-ball’ lettuce was a highly popular lettuce in the Monticello food garden during the 18th century. Tennis-ball lettuce has been in cultivation since the late 18th century, and it is the ancestor of the Boston lettuce varieties.


Melons should be treated in the same manner as cucumbers.

  • ‘Hearts of Gold’ is a classic old-timer that is still quite popular today. The flesh of the 3-pound melons is thick and fine-grained, and it has a peppery flavor. The flesh is salmon-orange in hue
  • ‘Jenny Lind’ grows to 1 to 2 pounds in weight and has a delicious, lime-green flesh that is somewhat acidic. It was named in 1846 after a family heirloom from New Jersey.


Potatoes are a common heritage vegetable that is available. You may find a variety of unique colors, shapes, and tastes in the produce section of your local supermarket. Heirloom potatoes are tubers that are kept from year to year and are therefore extremely simple to keep true to their name.

  • The tubers of the ‘Ruby Crescent Fingerling’ are tiny, measuring between 2 and 6 inches in length. “Russian Banana” is a fingerling potato with yellow flesh and a delightful waxy texture, with a ruby-red skin covering deep yellow flesh
  • It is named for the deep yellow meat it contains. It ranges in size from the size of a finger to that of a banana
  • ‘Yellow Finns’ are medium-sized bananas with yellow skin and yellow meat
  • And ‘Green Finns’ are little bananas with green skin and green flesh.


It contains little tubers that are between 2 and 6 inches in length, and it is also known as Ruby Crescent Fingerling. “Russian Banana” is a fingerling potato with yellow flesh and a delightful waxy feel, with a ruby-red skin covering deep yellow flesh.

It can range in size from the size of a finger to that of a full-sized banana; ‘Yellow Finns’ are medium-sized bananas with yellow skin and yellow meat; and ‘Green Finns’ are little bananas with green skin and green flesh; and

  • ‘Burgundy’ is distinguished by deep burgundy pods that are 6 inches in length. It grows to be 4 feet tall, and the pods are soft when cooked
  • ‘Longhorn’ has long pods that are delicate when cooked and can grow to be 6 or 8 inches in length. It was first used in the 1880s.

Peppers, SweetChili

Peppers are normally self-pollinating plants, unless they are hybrids. Cross-pollination with insects does occur occasionally, and if it does, hot bell peppers can arise as a result of the dominant gene for hotness in the pepper. In order to avoid spicy shocks in subsequent years when plants are planted closer than 500 feet apart, they must be caged or bagged. Ideally, red peppers should be allowed to mature completely before eating them. To scrape the seeds out of the pepper pod, cut it in half and place them on a piece of paper.

Following collecting the pepper seeds, properly wash your hands with soapy water to remove the residues, which will burn your eyes and mouth for several hours after contact.

Southern Peas or Cowpeas

Fresh or dried, calico Crowder peas are a delectable treat. Powell Smith, J. Powell, Clemson Extension, 2016 Southern peas are treated in the same way as beans in the southern United States.

  • It is a medium-sized, heirloom climbing crowder pea that is white with maroon spots on it. It can be eaten fresh or dried, and it is excellent in salads. a period of 70 days
  • ‘Kreutzer’ is a superb cowpea that produces large quantities of attractive beige-and-brown cowpeas with darker-brown specks
  • It is also a good yielder. ‘Pink-Eye Purple-Hull’ has cream-colored seeds with maroon eyes that are contained in pods that turn purple when they are fully mature. Plants that are vigorous, heat-loving, and drought-tolerant, and have little vining
  • ‘Washday’ is so named because they were prepared in a short amount of time on busy washdays. This tan-yellow variety is a good yielder and makes a delicious soup when cooked. In the 1800s, it was a half-runner type of shoe.


Winter squash, summer squash, and pumpkins are all connected in some way or another. Crossing between different types of the same species is a common occurrence. There is no cross-breeding between distinct species. Grow just one variation of the same species, and space them 12 miles apart or hand pollinate them to ensure purity of the crop. In the United States, the most commonly grown squash species are: banana squash (Cucurbita maxima), buttercup squash (Cucurbita moschata), butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata), acorn and crookneck squash (Cucurbita pepo), zucchini and most pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo), and Mexican gourd (Cucurbita pepo) (Cucurbita ficifolia).

Slice open the squash fruit lengthwise, scoop out the seed, and wash until all of the pulp is gone.

  • The squash variety ‘Cushaw Green-Striped Squash’ (C. mixta) produces large white fruits with green stripes and long, curved necks. It is suitable for use in pies and baking. This cultivar is drought-tolerant and an excellent keeper.

PumpkinsRelated Squash (Cucurbita pepo)

  • ‘Connecticut Field’ is a classic field pumpkin variety that has been around for a long time. The ‘Rouge Vif d’Etampes’ pumpkin, which may weigh between 20 and 35 pounds, is also known as the Cinderella pumpkin. This French heritage pumpkin is both prolific and aesthetically pleasing. Small Sugar’ is a sweet, delectable pumpkin that grows to be 9 inches wide on short, space-saving vines
  • The fruits are flat, burned orange to red, and strongly ridged, and they range in size from 1 to 2 feet across
  • And


This kind of tomato is renowned for its exceptional taste and texture. Powell Smith, J. Powell, Clemson Extension, 2016 Tomatoes are self-pollinators, and they are seldom pollinated by other plants. Only the potato leaf variations must be separated from the other variants. Fruit from desired plants should be picked when ripe in order to preserve the seeds. Cut the fruit into pieces and strain the pulp into a container. To ferment, add a little amount of water and let at room temperature for two to four days, stirring periodically.

Keep it in an envelope or a glass jar in a cold, dry area until needed.

  • The heritage tomato ‘Arkansas Traveler’ produces medium-sized, dark-pink tomatoes on heat-tolerant vines
  • The heirloom tomato ‘Brandywine’ is the most well-known. This Amish heirloom dates back to 1885 and was created in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The flavor and texture are both outstanding. The quality of the fruit remains good till the end of the season. The plant appears to be disease-resistant on several occasions. This “potato-leaf” cultivar produces pinkish-red fruits weighing between half and a pound. M.C. Byles of West Virginia was responsible for the development of this tomato cultivar in the 1940s. He was able to sell the plants for $1.00 apiece and pay off his $6,000 mortgage in six years, saving him thousands of dollars. ‘Cherokee Purple’ is a tomato variety developed by J. Powell Smith of Clemson Extension in 2016. It is one of the most extensively adaptable of the “purple” or “black” tomatoes. The flesh is brick red and tender on the inside, and it has a pleasant flavor. ‘Georgia Streak’ is a yellow and red beefsteak indeterminate heirloom originating in Georgia that produces exquisite pinkish-brownish-purplish fruits on indeterminate vines. ‘Mortgage Lifter’ yields pink to red fruit that ranges in size from medium to large. It makes beautiful salad slices for the summer. Another name for this variety is Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter. ‘Yellow Pear’ is an abundant vine that produces a large number of 1- to 2-inch pear-shaped fruits with a good flavor.


The Moon and Stars watermelon is distinguished by the presence of distinctive yellow dots, which give this variety its name. Barbara H. Smith, 2016 HGIC, Clemson Extension, Clemson University

  • ‘MoonStars’ is another Amish heritage that has been passed down through the generations. The flesh of these 15- to 30-pound melons is a lovely reddish-pink color. The dark green rind is speckled with vivid yellow dots that stand out in the sunlight. The leaves of the plants are likewise marked with spots.

If this material does not address all of your questions, please contact HGIC at [email protected] or 1-888-656-9988 for more assistance.

What Does Heirloom Mean for Fruits, Vegetables, and Other Plants?

It’s difficult, but we’re here to help you understand. Each product that we showcase has been picked and vetted by our editorial staff after being thoroughly researched and tested. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of the links on this page, we may receive a commission. Growing in popularity are heritage vegetables, flowers, seed, and books about heirloom foods. But, exactly, what does the term “heirloom” mean? The first thing to realize about heirlooms is that there is no singular, legal definition for the term.

  1. It is subject to some (at times intense) debate as to its meaning.
  2. It also makes our dining and purchasing at the farmers’ market more difficult: What exactly is an heirloom?
  3. The heirloom equation is as follows: Heirloom is created by combining open pollination and heritage.
  4. Open pollinated seeds are found in all heritage seeds, however not all heirloom seeds are found in all open pollinated seeds.
  5. The end result of open pollination is seed that produces plants whose characteristics are fairly consistent from one generation to the next, but not completely consistent from generation to generation.
  6. Plants that deviate too far from the criteria of an established heritage variety are often removed from open pollinated fields.
  7. Instead, hybrid plants are often produced by controlled pollination (although hybridisation can occur spontaneously): two distinct parent plants are selected by a gardener in order to combine unique and desired qualities from each of them.

Breeders may rely on hybrids to be consistent and predictable from one generation to the next.

Shortly put, heirloom is the practice of preserving seeds.

In the strictest interpretation of heirloom knowledge, a plant may only claim heirloom rank if it has a lineage that dates back at least 50 years.

You may thus start a new heirloom tradition today by preserving the seed of a new, open pollinated plant, with the knowledge that it will only qualify as an heirloom in 2059, if you do it now.

A plant that had not been engineered to travel great distances without flaw, for example, the spookily beautiful, spherical, crimson shop tomato available around the clock, may be saved from extinction by seed preservation.

seeds from a community that no longer exists but whose seeds have been conserved can help bring that tradition back to life.

A feature that will be found in heritage tomatoes that have been grown in the Hudson Valley for decades will be that they are best adapted to the region’s unique soils, humid summers, and pests.

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The plants with their origins in New York will not fare as well in California.

As Sarah Owens, author of the new cookbook Heirloom: Time-Honored Techniques, Nourishing Traditions, and Modern Recipes, explains, “this can make them incredibly delicious but also sometimes inconsistent in their performance.” “This can make them incredibly delicious but also sometimes inconsistent in their performance,” she says.

Heirloom fruit, in its most authentic form, is tied to a certain location. The issue is addressed and promoted directly by regional seed preservation organizations, but major seed firms sell ubiquitous heirlooms (think ‘Brandywine’) that anybody may plant, wherever.

Heirloom plant – Wikipedia

Some of the various potatoare varieties are commercially farmed, while others are heirlooms or rare cultivars. It is an old cultivar of a plant that is grown and maintained by gardeners and farmers, particularly in isolated or ethnic minority communities in Western countries. An heirloom plant, also known as an heirloom variety, heritage fruit (in Australia and New Zealand) and heritage vegetable (in Ireland and the United Kingdom) is a plant that has been grown and maintained by gardeners and farmers for hundreds of years.

The sale of seeds from cultivars that have not been licensed for commercial production is prohibited in various countries across the world.

Seed banks alone, on the other hand, have not been able to provide enough protection against catastrophic losses.

In the case of heritage vegetables, their characteristics have been preserved by open pollination, whereas fruit types such as apples have been propagated through time through grafting and cutting.


A variety of heirloom tomatoes is available. Agricultural production for human consumption was far more diverse prior to the industrialization of agriculture, owing in great part to the efforts of farmers and gardeners to save seeds and cuttings for future planting and propagation. From the 16th century through the early twentieth century, there was a tremendous amount of variety. Plums, peaches, pears, and apples of many sorts could be found in abundance in old nursery catalogues, while vegetable varieties could be found in abundance in old seed catalogs.

  • Since World War II, agriculture in the industrialized world has primarily consisted of food crops farmed in huge, monocultural plots on enormous, unbroken land.
  • These kinds are frequently chosen for their production and their capacity to ripen at the same time while withstanding mechanized harvesting and cross-country shipment, as well as their resistance to drought, cold, and pesticides, among other characteristics.
  • Despite the fact that heritage gardening has remained a small subculture, it has had a rebirth in recent years as a counter to the industrial agricultural trend.
  • Prior to World War II, heirloom varieties constituted the vast bulk of vegetables farmed in the United States.

They are doing this by renovating old orchards, sourcing historic fruit varieties, participating in seed swaps, and encouraging participation from the local community at large.


The meaning and appropriate usage of the term “heirloom” to describe plants are hotly discussed topics. One school of thinking considers the cultivars to be of a specific age or period. For example, one school believes the cultivar must be more than 100 years old, while another believes it must be 50 years old, and yet others believe the year 1945 is the most appropriate, as it represents the conclusion of World War II and the beginning of extensive hybrid adoption by growers and seed firms. As a result of the widespread introduction of the first hybrid varieties in 1951, many gardeners believe that 1951 is the most recent year in which a plant might have started and yet be considered an heirloom variety.

Some heritage types are thousands of years old, and some are thought to be prehistoric.

Another type of cultivar that could be classified as “commercial heirlooms” is one that was introduced many generations ago and was of such high quality that it has been saved, maintained, and passed down through the generations – even when the seed company has gone out of business or otherwise discontinued the line.

Although each individual’s specific understanding may differ, the majority of scholars believe that heirlooms, by definition, must be open-pollinated.

In spite of the fact that there are no genetically modified tomatoes available for commercial or personal use at this time, it is widely acknowledged that plants that have not been genetically changed can be designated heritage varieties.

Hybrid plants, if they don’t contain sterile seeds and can be regrown, will not be identical to the original hybrid plant, assuring that seed wholesalers will be the exclusive source of future agricultural seed supplies.

Collection sites

The legacy fruit trees that are still in existence today are clonally derived from trees that were planted thousands of years ago. In other cases, heirloomroses are acquired (in a nondestructive manner as small cuttings) from historic houses and cemeteries, where they were formerly planted at gravesites by mourners and then kept undisturbed for decades.

As a result of modern production methods and the increase in population, this practice has mostly been phased out.

UK and EU law and national lists

Many historical vegetable varieties (perhaps over 2,000) have been lost in the United Kingdom and Europe since the 1970s, when EEC (now EU) legislation was introduced making it illegal to sell any vegetable cultivar that was not on the national list of any EEC country. This was established to aid in the elimination of seed vendors who sold one kind of seed as another, to ensure that the seeds were true to type, and to ensure that they germinated consistently. Consequently, rigorous testing were conducted to evaluate varieties with the goal of guaranteeing that they remain consistent from one generation to the next.

  1. Furthermore, “distinctness” has been a concern due to the fact that many cultivars have many names, maybe originating from various regions or nations (e.g., carrot cultivar Long Surrey Red is also known as “Red Intermediate”, “St.
  2. However, it has been shown that some of these variants that appear to be the same are in fact distinct cultivars of the same species.
  3. Another issue has been the high cost of registering and maintaining a cultivar on a national list, which has made it difficult for some growers to compete.
  4. Over the past several years, progress has been made in the United Kingdom toward the establishment of allowances and less strict criteria for heritage varieties on a B national list; however, this is still under review.
  5. A public domain plant is one that has been cultivated and traded within a family or community for at least 50 years and has been passed down from generation to generation.
  6. Furthermore, these public repositories are responsible for the maintenance and distribution of these genetic resources to anybody who will utilize them in an appropriate manner.

US state law

Heirloom seeds are subject to a wide range of intellectual property rights and legislation, which might vary significantly from one state to the next in terms of application. Plant patents are based on the Plant Patent Act of 1930, which covers plants reproduced by cuttings and division, but the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970 (PVPA) protects non-hybrid, seed-propagated plants under intellectual property rights. PVPA, on the other hand, only allows seed breeders to protect their varieties for a maximum of 20 years.

There are also seed licenses, which may impose limits on the use of seeds, as well as trademarks, which prevent the use of certain plant variety names from being used.

Gardens could “check out” a package of open-pollinated seed from the lending library, which was hosted by a local library, and “return” seeds from the crop grown from the seed they had “borrowed.” The Department of Agriculture has stated that this activity raises the possibility of ” agro-terrorism “, and that the Seed Act of 2004 requires the library staff to test each seed packet for germination rate and to determine whether the seed was true to type, according to the Department of Agriculture.

Seed libraries and non-commercial seed exchanges are not subject to the provisions of the Seed Act, according to a Department of Agriculture ruling made in 2016 that reversed the previous conclusion.


As the consequences of climate change worsen and the world population continues to expand, greater emphasis is being placed on heritage plants as a means of restoring genetic variety and feeding a rising population while also protecting the food supply of various geographical locations throughout the world. It is common for specific heritage plants to be picked, conserved, and replanted because of their superior performance in a specific geographical location. The development of unique adaptation traits in these plants to their environment through many crop cycles provides empowerment to local populations and can be critical to the preservation of the world’s genetic resources.


  1. K. Whealy’s “Seed Savers Exchange: Preserving Our Genetic Heritage” was published in 1990. In: Transactions of the Illinois State Horticultural Society, Volume 123, Pages 80–84. The original version of this article was archived on March 11, 2014. The food supply’s safety net: If a worldwide agricultural crisis occurs, would the international germplasm community be able to withstand a run on its genebanks? Retrieved on 2013-02-16
  2. AbPowledge, F. (1995). Colombian farmers’ protest shines a light on the importance of seeds, according to BioScience.45(4): 235–243.doi: 10.2307/1312415.JSTOR1312415. Grain was harvested on September 3rd, 2014. The original version of this article was archived on July 30, 2014. “FRUIT VARIETIES AVAILABLE IN VICTORIA DURING THE 19TH CENTURY,” which was retrieved on August 1, 2014. AbcdeEtty, Thomas (February 22, 2014)
  3. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. (2016). A comprehensive compendium of heritage veggies, fruits, herbs, and flowers is available from Heirloom Plants. Lorraine Harrison is the author of this work. Occupation: Chicago, Illinois.ISBN978-1-61373-575-6.OCLC922631995
  4. Rachel Kaplan is a writer who lives in New York City (2011). Urban homesteading: passing on heritage skills for a more sustainable lifestyle. Ruby, K. Ruby Blume, K. Ruby Blume Skyhorse Publishing, New York, ISBN 978-1-61608-054-9, OCLC668194097
  5. AbGusti Ayu Fransiska, New York, Skyhorse Publishing, ISBN 978-1-61608-054-9, OCLC668194097 Sri Rahajeng Kusuma Dewi and Verónica Argelis Gonzaléz are two of the most prominent women in Indonesia (2015). UN Sustainable Development Program, “Conserving Traditional Seed Crops Diversity” (PDF). United Nations Sustainable Development Program. The original version of this document was archived(PDF) on 2020-05-19. Retrieved on December 11th, 2019
  6. Sarah Boden is a writer who lives in the United Kingdom (September 8, 2014). “Heirlooms Passed Down By Seed Savers Exchange” is a collection of heirloom seeds passed down through generations. Nebraska Educational Telecommunications is an acronym that stands for Nebraska Educational Telecommunications. The original version of this article was published on December 25, 2014. abColley, Micaela (25 December 2014)
  7. Retrieved from (2015). The seed garden is both an art and a practice in the art and science of seed conservation. Jared Zystro, Lee Alan Buttala, and Shanyn Siegel are among those who have contributed to this work. IA.ISBN978-0-9884749-1-8.OCLC893453721
  8. AbNaomi Creason (Decorah, Iowa)
  9. (July 31, 2014). “The United States Department of Agriculture is cracking down on seed libraries.” The Sentinel is a newspaper published in the United Kingdom. The original version of this article was published on May 20, 2017. on December 2, 2014
  10. Retrieved on December 2, 2014
  11. Pennsylvania has a number of seed libraries. Allowed to Participate in Free Seed Exchange, March 15, 2016, archived from the original on April 14, 2016, obtained on March 31, 2016
  12. Allowed to Participate in Free Seed Exchange, March 15, 2016, archived from the original on April 14, 2016, retrieved on March 31, 2016

Further reading

  • Lynn Coulter’s Gardening with Heirloom Seeds: Tried-and-True Flowers, Fruits, and Vegetables for a New Generation is written in collaboration with Sue Stickland Cavagnaro, with a foreword by Alan Gear and images by David Coulter (1998). Heritage vegetables: a gardener’s guide to developing a wide range of flavors and textures. Gaia Books, ISBN 978-1-85675-033-7, published in London.

External links

  • What is an heirloom vegetable and how does it differ from other vegetables? Heirloom Vegetables from the Home and Garden Information Center at Clemson University
  • FAO/IAEA Programme Mutant Variety Database
  • Heirloom Vegetables from the Home and Garden Information Center at Clemson University
  • Heirloom Vegetables from the Home and Garden Foods derived from new plant varieties are covered by the FDA’s Statement of Policy
  • Plant varieties and seeds are covered by DEFRA.

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