choosing heirlooms

Heirloom and open-pollinated seeds made up the bulk of my seed orders this year – including quite a few varieties I haven’t tried before. ‘Sullivan’s Favorite Italian Frying’ Pepper, ‘Lutz Green Leaf’ Beet, ‘Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert’ Squash, ‘Cosmonaut Volkov’ Tomato . . . .I couldn’t resist trying some of these!

Stout Oak Farm has also signed up for the 2010 RAFT Grow-Out.  This project is coordinated by Chefs Collaborative, who kindly provides growers with free heirloom seeds – 11 varieties to choose from this year.  Farmers agree to grow out the seeds on our farms, and then make the vegetables available for sale to local chefs, who will highlight these heirloom foods on their menus – all the while increasing awareness about, and hopefully demand for, these endangered foods. I’m especially excited about ‘Long Pie’ pumpkin – it looks like a rather unattractive overgrown green zucchini when you harvest it in the fall, but once it’s been in storage for a while it ripens and turns brilliant orange. By late December it is fully ripe, just in time for holiday pies! See Slow Food USA for more info about RAFT (Renewing America’s Food Traditions).