Before the food-growing industry's most practiced approaches were rewritten, fruits and vegetables took on a diversity of impeccable flavors, curious colors and skin patterns, and unexpected yet eye-piquing shapes. Heirlooms are the name given to those that survived.
The last century's strong commercial push involved seeds for crops being developed into hybrids intended to yield high amounts with sturdier outer skins.
This large-scale shift in agriculture, starting with the seed, led to a lot of sacrifice in taste while sometimes diminishing the nutritional value per plant.
Heirlooms are food relics all their own. They behave differently than mass-produced garden and field crops by having less-standard mature growth sizes and food-bearing periods.
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