There’s lots of talk about the higher nutritional quality of heirloom or heritage produce, which hasn’t been genetically modified and is often naturally adapted to a particular growing region. In recent years, many heirloom or heritage products have become more readily available.
One of the most common heirloom produce I’ve encountered is tomatoes. ‘Tis the season to check out your local organic and a farmers markets and see the fabulous variety of colours, textures, shapes, and sizes on hand.
Excerpt from Ecoholic
“Did you know that three-quarters of the world’s edible crops have disappeared over the last century? Yep, that’s according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which also says we used to eat about 10,000 different species of food plants and now 90% of the world’s diet is down to 120. It seems the food biz didn’t like all that variety and whittled it down to a few hardy, easily harvested types with a uniform appearance that could be patented and sold. Heirloom or heritage fruits, vegetables, herbs, and even turkeys are those that have been revived from our history. These strains have been around for at least 50 years, and their seeds are pollinated by nature, not man. The term is not regulated.”
Excerpt from SustainableTable.org
“Traditionally, farmers throughout the world have raised thousands of different animal breeds and plant varieties. However, since today’s industrial farms rely upon only a few specialized types of livestock and crops, thousands of non-commercial animal breeds and crop varieties have disappeared, along with the valuable genetic diversity they possessed. Fortunately, a growing number of sustainable farmers are preserving agricultural variety and protecting biodiversity by raising “heritage” or “heirloom” animal breeds and crops.”
“Heritage vs. Heirloom: They both mean the same thing, though “heritage” is usually used to describe animals, while “heirloom” refers generally to kinds of plants. These terms describe varieties of animals and crops that have unique genetic traits, were grown or raised many years ago, and are typically produced in a sustainable manner.”