Remember those tomatoes your Grandmother grew, or the ones that the farmer down the road used to sell at his roadside stand?
With the advent of hybrid seeds, the older open-pollinated varieties are getting harder to find. While the hybrids have many advantages, they just can't match the heirlooms for taste, and isn't that why you grow your own vegetables?
When beauty and toughness were bred into plants, taste was usually left behind. Everyone complains about the “cardboard tomatoes” from the store that appear lovely and symmetrical, but taste like nothing at all. A plant grown from an heirloom seed tastes considerably superior than anything that was created in a laboratory.
Just after World War II, hybrid seeds became very popular, but a problem surfaces as hybrids tend not to breed accurately. There is no guarantee that the genetic final results will be what are expected and, more importantly, most hybrid seeds simply do not thrive. These will not produce the next year whatsoever. Using hybrids, farmers are forced to obtain new seeds each year. An heirloom plant has viable seeds. Simply collect the seeds at the end of the season and plant them next year.
More recently, the introduction of GMO Seeds (Genetically Modified Organism) has hit agribusiness. Certain genes from one plant (or even an animal) are spliced onto the DNA of a crop plant. While the jury is out on whether these genetic modifications are harmful, the concern is the fact that the mutant crops may overrun the all-natural varieties and disrupt ecosystems that rely on them. In most of the GMO’s produced, there is the inclusion of a “sterility gene” into the seed genome. This forces the farmer to purchase new patented seeds every year, increasing food costs.
Survival Heirlooms supplies only open-pollinated heirloom seeds. Almost all of our seeds have a reliable history of at least 50 years and many have been around since the 1800’s and some since well before that. We obtain most of our seeds from heirloom seed exchanges and some come directly from homestead organic farmers.
We have attempted to offer a large variety of some of the rarer heirloom varieties, such as Watermelon, Black Spanish, and Purple Plum Radishes; Cinderella, Yellow Paris, and Long Island Cheese Pumpkins; Sweat Meat, Sweet Dumpling, and Delicata Sweet Potato Squash; a huge variety of Hot and Sweet Peppers including Sweet Banana, Poblano, and Anaheim; and a huge variety of Cabbages, including Chinese Michihili and Bok Choy. We also offer a great variety of Bush Beans for long term storage that grow well in Michigan: Jacobs Cattle Bean, Soldier Bean, Vermont Cranberry, and Great Northern.
Come visit our display of 150 Heirloom Varieties at the Flint Farmers Market!