The term heirloom refers to the process by which the produce is bred. Seeds retained from previous plantings that bore produce of ideal color, texture, and flavor are reused for decades to come to produce the best harvest. As home gardening was a more popular phenomenon of generations past, seeds passed through the generations were often connected to old tales depicting the triumphs of the original grower.
This process is more popular amongst local farmers than commercial agriculturists. If the seeds are native to a particular geographic area, using these seeds can reduce the chances of susceptibility to adverse weather conditions or pests. Therefore heirloom seeds are of benefit to local farmers, because the seed has adapted to its surroundings.
Heirloom seeds also cultivate fruits and vegetables of unique color, taste, and texture that we are often times less familiar with. These food items still belong to a particular “family” of produce that’s familiar, for example melons.
Maybe you’ll be inspired to start an heirloom garden of your own!