Gardener's Dictionary: Heirloom

Heirloom (adj.): Used to describe non-hybrid plant varieties that are not grown large-scale as food crops in modern-day industrialized agriculture. Heirloom plants were grown and consumed in earlier periods, but are not available in most chain grocery stores. The reduction in crop variety is due to the agriculture industry growing monocultural plots (meaning a one-crop farm), which yield higher profits. Heirloom seeds and growing heirloom plants are becoming much more popular in organic kitchen gardens, especially as food choice and quality goes down in large chain grocery stores. Heirloom tomatoes are probably the most commonly grown heirloom plants, which include many different shapes, sizes and colors of tomatoes; some heirloom varieties are Brandywine, Black Cherry, Cherokee Purple, and Early Girl.


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