The term “heirloom” typically applies to fruits and vegetables. Heirloom is defined as “a horticultural variety that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals”. Heirlooms are hardy (quality) strains of older cultivars that are open pollinated. While there seems to be some disagreement how old a cultivar has to be to be referred to as “heirloom”, there is a general consensus that it should be older than the 1950’s which is when agribusiness began introducing the first inbred hybrid plants and seeds.
It seems like every day there are more and more reasons to be confused by labels. Chances are, if you’re a label reader, you’ve noticed the words “grass-fed” on your meat labels.
The first time I came across these words, they conjured up images of happy animals, calmly cropping green pasture grasses, living a life of comfort and ease until the end. What a nice thought and definitely worth the investment if it begins to put an end to the concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO) that are basically hell for animals, the environment, and any surrounding beings (you can read more about CAFO’s in tomorrow’s post).