Welcome to the second Turning Ground give-away!
You can win a fabulous package, courtesy of Heritage Harvest Seeds, full of interesting, rare and fantastic vegetable seeds. Just in time for spring planting. To enter, simply write a comment at the end of this post (click here to go to comments page). I will chose a winner at random from the comments I receive on March 15th, 2013
***Please include your email address.***
Heritage Harvest Seed is a Manitoba-based seed company committed to saving seeds the old-fashioned way so that people everywhere can grow beautiful, diverse and tasty plants for many years to come. Tanya and her mother Iris Stefanec, along with Jessy Friesen work two farms in Carmen and Fisher Branch to grow varieties of seeds that are rare, endangered and heirloom.
Heirloom seeds come from plants that have not been altered in a lab. These plants are pollinated naturally (with wind and insects) and in the case of Heritage Harvest Seed, without interference from pesticides or herbicides. The thing about heirloom seeds is that they represent a massive variety of plants. Have you ever seen a black tomato or purple carrots? Probably not because they aren’t usually in the produce section at Safeway but because there are devoted people out there like Tanya and her family, interesting and different varieties of vegetables are still out there for you to discover.
Take tomatoes for example. When you go to the grocery store to buy tomatoes you usually see two, maybe three different kinds; beefsteak- watery and flavorless, roma- bright red and promising but mealy and kinda gross once cut open and cherry/grape- ok, not great. These three types of tomato have been selected by big growers (usually in Mexico or the southern States) for their most marketable traits; namely, long shelf life and ease of shipment. These dominant traits generally come at the cost of taste. The problem (besides the massive carbon footprint shipping these flavorless fruit create) is that when you only grow a few varieties of a plant you take two big risks:
1. By not growing other varieties of tomatoes (or cucumber, or melon, or whatever) you might lose great strains of these veggies because stored seeds only stay viable for a few years at the most. If you don’t use it, you lose it, right?
2. It was a long time ago, but remember learning about the Irish potato famine? Everyone grew potatoes. Everyone’s potatoes got blight. All the potatoes died and most people on the Emerald Isle went hungry. By planting only a few varieties of a plant you risk losing those plants to disease. Different plant varieties have different types of disease resistance, developed after many many years of natural selection. Your potatoes might not survive blight but some of your plants could withstand other infections and still produce wonderful, edible produce.I think everyone should care about preserving bio-diversity. The more variety we have out there in this big ‘ol wonderful world of ours the more likely it is that as a species, we homo sapiens will stand a chance at surviving in the long run. Besides, the more different kinds of foods we can grow, the more delicious our culinary offering will be and if you don’t know it by now- I’m all about good food!
So plant heirloom seeds, grow purple carrots and curly cucumbers and speckled beans because they are so much more than just good for you- they are good for the whole world.