~ from Serena, Farmers' Market Manager
When I first heard the word "heirloom" in the context of food, I assumed it had similar meaning to that family heirloom piece of furniture you're never allowed to get rid of.
To my surprise and delight, the meaning is not far off. According to dictionary.com, an heirloom armoire is "a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations."
An heirloom variety of produce is "a traditional variety of plant or breed of animal which is not associated with large-scale commercial agriculture"
Frankly, both these definitions could be ascribed to an heirloom seed. By its nature, heirloom varieties of produce are unique, delicate, and special. Luckily for me, I hang out with bountiful heirloom varieties at the farmers' market every week.
Consider the tomato. An heirloom variety is not only rare, tenderly cared for and transported by hand to market, it is also majestically flavorful. They're pretty much the unicorns of produce. Respected, revered, and rare, heirlooms steal the show both visually and tastefully. Get a load of this year's local heirlooms at one of three tomato tastings during #farmersmarketweek. Your ancestors would be proud.