Edible Heirlooms: Heritage Vegetables for the Maritime Garden

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Delicious Diversity: Heirloom Revolution

From the First Lady to the front lawn, vegetable gardens are sprouting up across the country in record numbers. Not since the Victory Gardens of the Second World War have this many people begun to grow their own food. Plus, a growing awareness of the carbon-fueled miles clocked to bring our meals to the table has many of us looking for local, organic, and more sustainable alternatives. Today, growing your own food is affordable, hip, and delicious.

Book Information

Edible Heirlooms: Heritage Vegetables for the Maritime Garden [Bill Thorness] on uzotoqadoh.tk *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. * Features a variety of. Editorial Reviews. Review. "Even if you don't live at the seaside, you will enjoy Edible Edible Heirlooms: Heritage Vegetables for the Maritime Garden - Kindle edition by Bill Thorness. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, .

Edible Heirlooms , by former North Dakota farm boy, now Northwest author and avid gardener, Bill Thorness, is right on the money. From preserving biodiversity to creating a competitive niche for small family farms, Thorness offers thoughtful and compelling reasons for the preservation and continued cultivation of these living pieces of history.

Edible Heirlooms focuses on the growing conditions of our maritime climate, found in coastal areas from San Francisco to Vancouver, British Columbia, from the foothills of the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean. Cultivated, named and introduced to the seed trade by LeHoullier, it is now a staple for tomato lovers for its sweet, rich flavor.

Table Hopping: Savoy Bar & Grill

The reddish purple globes have green streaks across their shoulders, with the purple and green bleeding into the firm, solid flesh. While many heirlooms come from the Mediterranean and the Near East, the Americas also hold centers of origin for entire genera of edible plants. Corn originated as maize in Mexico, where traditional farmers still allow its ancient ancestor teosinte to grow along the edges of the fields to breed hardiness into their many varieties.

Beans, chiles and squash can be traced to the American Southwest and ancient Mesoamerica. Many heirloom seeds and plants made roundabout trips with seafaring explorers before they reached the American table. That was the path of the potato, which originates in the Andes of Peru.


Potatoes were carried in ships from South America to Europe and eventually brought to the U. But one modest fingerling potato can trace its lineage directly up the West Coast of the Americas. The Makah were first given the familiar tuber by Spanish explorers in the late s who had sailed up from South America with their rooty booty.

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The Makah people have cultivated it for generations, and it is now listed on the U. Ark of Taste roster, a catalog created by Slow Food detailing more than foods that are culturally significant and in danger of extinction. The rare, regional foods listed in the Ark help us celebrate these unique and nearly forgotten flavors.

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With its provenance and a unique, squash-like flavor, the Ozette potato has earned a spot in the hearts of heirloom gardeners. Knowing, growing and eating heirlooms are helpful steps in their preservation, but there is a need to go deeper. You can be part of bucking that trend.

To get started with your own heirloom garden, you need look no further than the plentiful, versatile bean. You will have no trouble finding heirloom beans, as the ease of saving and long shelf life have made them the stars of the heirloom world. New Englander John Withee was so enamored with beans that he grew a thousand heirloom varieties, which he willed upon his death to Seed Savers Exchange, the non-profit seed bank and heirloom advocacy organization based in Iowa. The Cherokee Trail of Tears, a small black bean, has a heartbreaking provenance.

Edible Heirlooms

It was a staple carried by the Cherokee people when they were driven from their land in the Southeast to Oklahoma by the U. Army during the bitter winter of Four thousand Cherokees died on the path, forever known as the Trail of Tears. Greeks used fava beans as voting tokens.

Native Americans string scarlet runner beans as jewelry. Oregon Giant sports eight-inch, maroon-mottled pods. These flavors and stories of our vegetable heritage have inspired gardeners and eaters, and their zeal has led to many preservation efforts. By seeking out and growing heirlooms, we can keep them available for future generations.

Buying from these farmers, and engaging them on the topic of heirlooms, is another path to heirloom cultivation.

When you sit down to your table with a dish of heirloom vegetables from your local farmer or your own garden, you will be nourished by a lot more than a healthy dose of vitamins; the bowl will overflow with history that is literally the stuff on which civilization was made.

Bill Thorness is the author of Edible Heirlooms: Heritage Vegetables for the Maritime Garden.