heirloom fruit

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Bucket trio!

Red Robin cherry tomato, selected because I thought a compact determinate variety would be a nice change of pace from the ~5’ tall Sungolds of the last two years.

Purple Beauty sweet pepper, which I picked because honestly, how do you pass up a purple pepper? It’s like something out of a nursery rhyme.

Ronde de Nice zucchini, an heirloom variety whose fruits are the approximate size and shape of pool balls. Again, I picked this one because it seemed weird.

All three of these plants need lots of water, so I put them in self-watering planters made of nested 5 gal. buckets. I’ve had lots of success with this style of container!

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Heirloom tomato photo by Rebecca Slegel on Flickr Creative Commons

We’re not shy about our affinity for the Cherokee Purple, a purplish package of sweet, acid and savory tomato greatness.

But every year, the Cherokee Purple’s preeminence (in our mind, anyway) is challenged by new heirlooms we’ve never tried before. This year, we’re wowed by the Paul Robeson, a varietal from Russia which, in addition to its gorgeous dark red tones and earthy taste, is named for a famous African-American singer, actor and civil rights activist.

It’s these stories of people, places and soils of yore that are a huge part of heirlooms’ appeal, according to Jennifer Jordan, professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. And by cultivating and consuming this biodiversity, we’re literally keeping the past alive.

Read her interview with our food bloggers over at The Salt here.

– Petra

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Jerry Spagnoli is a leading expert of the daguerreotype, the earliest form of photography dating back to 1839. His work adapting it to the digital age has earned him a spot among a group of artists dubbed the “antiquarian avant-garde.” He has worked with Chuck Close on daguerreotype portraits and nudes, and exhibited his work around the world.

One of Spagnoli’s passions is plants, and in the summer of 2000, he met the plant conservationist, gardener and author Amy Goldman. What began as an informal project of photographing Goldman’s harvests of heirloom fruits and vegetables on her farm in New York’s Hudson Valley blossomed into a 15-year collaboration. The fruits of it now adorn the pages of Heirloom Harvest: Modern Daguerreotypes of Historic Garden Treasures, a book the two published in October featuring 175 daguerreotype images made on Goldman’s farm.

In ‘Heirloom Harvest,’ Old-School Portraits Of Vegetable Treasures

Photos: Jerry Spagnoli

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Jerry Spagnoli is a leading expert of the daguerreotype, the earliest form of photography dating back to 1839. His work adapting it to the digital age has earned him a spot among a group of artists dubbed the “antiquarian avant-garde.” He has worked with Chuck Close on daguerreotype portraits and nudes, and exhibited his work around the world.

One of Spagnoli’s passions is plants, and in the summer of 2000, he met the plant conservationist, gardener and author Amy Goldman. What began as an informal project of photographing Goldman’s harvests of heirloom fruits and vegetables on her farm in New York’s Hudson Valley blossomed into a 15-year collaboration. The fruits of it now adorn the pages of Heirloom Harvest: Modern Daguerreotypes of Historic Garden Treasures, a book the two published in October featuring 175 daguerreotype images made on Goldman’s farm.

Check out the full story (and see more cool psychedelic vegetable daguerreotypes – now there’s a jam band name) here.

– Petra