Have you ever been in a restaurant and they offer your heirloom tomatoes or heirloom potatoes and you wondered what the heck that even means ( but felt too silly to ask ).


An Heirloom Blue potato – yum !


Well wonder no more ! From hear on in you will be the King or Queen of Heirloom !!!!


An Heirloom


While the term “heirloom” is often associated with tomatoes, the word may also be applied to any open-pollinated fruits, vegetables and flowers that were introduced more than 50 years ago. Open-pollination occurs when bees and other natural pollinators fertilize the plants.


There is an immense variety of Heirloom tomatoes out there !


It is a plant that used to be commonly grown and eaten in human history but is no longer widely available due to today’s practices of commercial agriculture.  They come with long histories and have been grown for many years, passed down from generation to generation. Often viewed as traditional, they are much more than colorful fruits and uniquely shaped veggies. They are good because they have passed the test of time.

Heirloom potatoes


There really is no strict definition of what an heirloom variety is other than its NOT a hybrid plant – which is never considered an heirloom.

Commercial farmers grow monocultural crops – meaning only one variety of a plant. These are also those that will ship easily and look appetizing.  Since attention to flavor is not high on the list,  this is why tomatoes bought at your local supermarket tend to be watery and have little flavor.


Full flavor Heirloom corn


Growing them 


There is nothing better than home grown tomatoes – we plant many on rooftops in Manhattan – just ask your Plant Specialists expert to weigh in on choices. Kids love the cherry tomatoes that just keep going and going and going all Summer long.


Cherry tomatoes !


Growing heirloom plants in home gardens and on rooftop gardens is very popular today because heirloom vegetables are fun to grow and taste a heck of a lot better. Many can even be grown in containers.


Squash grow well in containers


Why not try growing these historic plants in your garden next season? Go online and search for groups that trade seeds ( Etsy is a very good source for this ) or get some heirloom seeds from family members or other people you know.


Heirloom variety seeds


Remember that heirlooms do best when kept in the same general location as where the plant was originally grown, but over time, whatever seeds you get may gradually adapt to your growing conditions. Have fun !


A rainbow of carrots


For luscious Heirloom veggies next year – Call Plant Specialists TODAY !

Our Plant Garden Care Team can source and plant them for you in the spring!

Don’t delay – the sooner the better !







Article written by our Staff Horticulturist, Peter B Morris, BSc, MSc, MBA

All photographs used with permission from @SHUTTERSTOCK