. . . open pollinated heirlooms are created the same way natural selection does it: by saving and reproducing specimens that show the best characteristics of their generation, thus gradually increasing those traits in the population. p 47Of course, the traits desired by the home-gardener (yumminess being at the top of the list) may differ greatly, Kingsolver explains, than the traits desired by commercial growers (easy to transport, uniform size, long shelf life, good looks). The produce in our grocery stores is from seeds selected for commercial needs, not necessarily for yumminess. It is wonder no one wants to eat their vegies as all the flavor has been bred out of them to make them docile little travelers in contrast to
. . . heirlooms [which] are the tangiest or sweetest tomatoes, the most fragrant melons, the eggplants without a trace of bitterness. p. 48So, I'm sold on heirlooms now, but Kingsolver goes on to say that they grew all theirs from seed. Alas, I am too late. But I keep reading and my regret thickens when I read about the
narrow-leaved early bearer from the former Soviet Union with the romantic name of "Silvery Fir Tree." . . . [one of] two Russian types that get down to work with proletarian resolve, bred as they were for short seasons. p. 100-101Not only would I have loved to have an early-bearing tomato, but they were from Russia! But, too late to start seeds. Tomato-blues haunt me.
Stop at the store for eggs and milk. Glance glumly through the tomato starts only because they are 4 for $5.00, 4 inch pots. What? they are all labeled Heirloom and this one is, why yes, it is a Silvery Fir Tree. I do a little jig in the aisle much to Dandy's amusement.
We also bought a Green Zebra start and all sorts of others that promised us oddly colored and strangely shaped and extra tasty tomatoes. So, now I am in tomato-bliss. All my new plants are potted and perching on the sunny side of the new deck and I am resolved to start my tomatoes from seed next year. I'll be buying heirloom seeds from the Seed Savers Exchange.
If growing your own seems like too much hard work, you could consider eating only wild foods. This would save you the trouble of planting, though the harvesting may get to be a bit much.