Do you have family heirlooms? You know things that have been handed down through the years…maybe your Great Grandmothers wedding ring or a rocking chair that has rocked generations of babies to sleep. How about a writing desk that is worn from years of letter writing or even better, letters. Hand written letters, love letters from a young bride to her army husband counting the days until their first child is born and he returns home.
I have a few family treasures… I have a hand embroidered tapestry made by my Mother while she was recovering from back surgery 45 years ago. I have a handkerchief that belonged to my paternal Grandmother, a plain wooden hand mirror that was my maternal grandmothers. A few handwritten recipes from family members, a handful of jewelry that has more sentimental value than monetary and a quilt from my husbands Grandmother that was given to her the night the family home went up in flames. What are your favorite family heirlooms?
There are other heirlooms in our lives. The wonderfully delicious home-grown fruits and veggies that have not been genetically altered.
“The definition of heirlooms is less cut-and-dried. With seed-grown plants, only open-pollinated varieties are considered heirlooms. Unlike hybrids, open-pollinated seeds will reproduce true to type, meaning the offspring will display the same characteristics as the parent plant, and seeds can be saved from season to season. Since a conclusive definition for heirloom seeds and plants doesn’t exist, I turned to Peggy Cornett, director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for Historic Plants, for her interpretation of the term. “I consider plants heirlooms if they were once significant in gardens but are now rare or even extinct in cultivation,” says Cornett. “For example, there are many cultivars of iris or phlox or daylilies from the early 20th century that are nearly impossible to find.” Seeds are generally considered heirlooms if they were introduced into cultivation at least 40 years prior to the current date, though some heirloom experts consider seeds heirlooms only if they were introduced prior to World War II.”
You probably have heard of heirloom tomatoes…they have been all the rage for several years. They are not the pretty perfectly round evenly red tomatoes found at the local grocery store. You know the ones that taste like cardboard.
Have you heard of heirloom pumpkins? They are the pumpkins that are odd colors, squashed, bumpy, warty, striped and sometimes magical but always interesting. They are my all time favorite…the less than perfect but always beautiful heirlooms!
Check out your local farmers market for a few of these beauties..I hope they will bring a smile to your face.
Here are a few of the varietal names; muskee de provence, rouge vif d’etampes, full moon, long island cheese, carnival, jarrahdale and fairytale.
What ever you consider a family heriloom…you should treasure it!
- ‘Gardener’ Gives ‘Heirloom Life’ To Forgotten Flora (npr.org)
- Jere Gettle’s heirloom seed company is flourishing (sfgate.com)
- Not your grandfather’s pumpkins (thestar.com)
- Tomato’s Just The Facts Please (survivalfarm.wordpress.com)