Vegetables and Fruit forum: Muddy waters ? Heirloom versus Hybrid tomato?

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Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Nov 15, 2014 10:44 AM CST
Several seed companies are selling tomato seed as:
"Heirloom Marriage Hybrids" , but at least one seed company is calling them Heirloom seed ?

What does anyone think of this?
Perhaps this is a good argument for why an Heirloom needs to be 50 years old?
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Nov 15, 2014 3:16 PM CST
It just adds to the confusion and is a lot of marketing ploy in my opinion
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Nov 15, 2014 5:12 PM CST
I think that too!
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
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RickCorey
Nov 18, 2014 2:59 PM CST
Seed sites that don't make "OP" vs. "F1" clear about every seed they sell don't get my business!

And any Ferengie scoundrel that puts "Hybrid" and "Heirloom" in the same advertising blurb can go fish!
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Nov 18, 2014 7:22 PM CST
My sentiments in better language! Thanks! Rick.
Name: Arlene
Grantville, GA (Zone 8a)
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abhege
Nov 18, 2014 11:15 PM CST
I agree
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Nov 19, 2014 7:27 AM CST
I am uncertain whether Heirloom means ANYTHING other than it is has been around for 50 years or more. At least that's my understanding. To grow Heirloom plants has simply become "fashionable" and that's why advertising uses the word. There is certainly nothing wrong with growing Heirloom plants but at the same time, there is also nothing magic about growing them. Would it be possible that hybrids existed 50 years ago? Shrug!
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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Nov 19, 2014 8:07 AM CST
I'm with you on this one Ken, if you take two Heirloom and cross them, you have a Hybrid, the only thing different is that it won't come true from seeds. An Heirloom will come true from seeds because it hasn't been cross bred. No magic to it. The Hybrid has some hybrid vigor often that sometimes might make them better growers. Smiling
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Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Nov 19, 2014 8:12 AM CST
Yep, many Heirlooms have been hybridized to increase production and/or to increase resistance to disease. As I said, the term is just fashionable, little more.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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CarolineScott
Nov 19, 2014 9:21 AM CST
I think of Heirlooms as older cultivars which have been handed down over the years.
Often down through family connections. They may be more like landraces.
Some probably started out as hybrids, and were then modified by selection etc.
But if you cross two heirlooms you get a hybrid which does not come true from seeds.
Heirlooms come true from saved seeds. I grow both.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Nov 19, 2014 9:26 AM CST
Thank You! Good info. I grow several Heirloom tomatoes and all my garlic varieties are Heirloom.
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
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RickCorey
Nov 19, 2014 11:54 AM CST
It does seem that most hybrids were developed for "big" growers with goals like production, appearance, uniformity of ripening, appearance, bruise-less ship-ability, appearance and shelf life.

Ken said:
>> Yep, many Heirlooms have been hybridized to increase production and/or to increase resistance to disease.

I hadn't thought about that, but it makes sense. I know that many commercial OP lettuce varieties are being worked on to incorporate disease resistance from other varieties.

Wouldn't it be great if some group with a lot of resources started breeding more FLAVOR into commercially profitable varieties?

Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Vegetable Grower
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database. Charter ATP Member
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RickCorey
Nov 19, 2014 12:00 PM CST
Ken also said:
>> To grow Heirloom plants has simply become "fashionable" and that's why advertising uses the word.

I agree. It made me laugh out loud when I saw a seed site change their marketing name for Gai Lan from "Chinese broccoli" to "Chinese kale" ... when kale became fashionable.

I'd like to say "Oh, come ON guys, we aren't THAT gullible!"

But then I recalled how interested I became when seed catalogs started describing mustard greens as having a "wasabi-like flavor". They renamed some humble Brassica juncea "Wasabina".

Now, every year, I have to remind myself not to buy yet another mustard that I don't really like. Or at least wait until I can split a pkt with someone.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
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drdawg
Nov 19, 2014 3:01 PM CST
I think the main reason for the mostly tasteless vegetables and often fruits is that they are harvested long before they are ripened. Tomatoes for example can be picked green or mostly green, put on the countertop, and will continue to "color". However what they won't do is develop that all important flavor/sugar. The same is true for most other vegetables and fruits such as cantaloupe and honey due melon. Unripe vegetables/fruits simply package and ship more easily. For example, they don't bruise or tear as easily when they are under-ripe.
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
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Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Nov 19, 2014 8:01 PM CST
Yes, and fewer people in the north want to grow greenhouse crops.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
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Weedwhacker
Nov 28, 2014 9:06 AM CST
This is an interesting discussion ! I thought "heirloom seeds" were, like Caroline said, OP varieties that had been maintained for many years in a family or community and handed down from one generation to the next... but, when in doubt I tend to Google, and a quick search showed this description the Clemson Univ. website:

"Heirloom vegetables are defined in several ways. Some consider heirlooms to be any vegetable cultivars that have been grown for a certain length of time. Other people consider vegetables to be truly heirlooms only if being passed down by a family or group has preserved them. Heirlooms are always open-pollinated, since hybrid seed can not be maintained by ordinary means. However heirloom vegetables are defined, interest is increasing in our edible heritage."

And even Burpee says "Heirloom varieties are open-pollinated--meaning that unlike hybrids, seeds you collect from one year will produce plants with most of the characteristics of the parent plant. And that's key to their survival."

And also found the fact that Burpee's Big Boy hybrid tomato was first introduced in 1949 (and that wasn't the first hybrid introduction by any means).

So, wouldn't most (or maybe all?) hybrids have originally been the product of combining "heirloom" varieties?
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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Nov 28, 2014 9:43 AM CST
Yes, a hybid occurs when you cross polinate two different varieties. Smiling
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Dec 8, 2014 1:14 PM CST
I live in an area that once grew some of the tastiest tomatoes in the country. Now, thousands of acres are producing green tomatoes that are gassed to specified levels for grocery stores. Different grocery chains request different levels of "red" (it is certainly not ripeness) and they are left in the gas chamber for different periods of time to achieve the appropriate color. The plants are a determinate variety where all the fruit ripens within a few weeks in early June. For weeks prior to the harvest workers clean the huge packing sheds that are only used for those few select weeks each year and ready the shipping boxes. Then, almost magically, the picking starts and continues feverishly for two to three weeks then it is time for the workers to move on to the next harvest location. During the picking, hundreds of open bed trucks can be seen on our roads; roads that are lined with the tomatoes that have fallen out and bounced like hard green tennis balls. Worst part is there are always tomatoes remaining in the fields but gleaning is not allowed; something about liability. That, to me is a crime, these tomatoes may be tasteless but they are nutritious.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
[url=www.tropicalplantsandmore.com]
Orchids Greenhouse Vegetable Grower Ferns Region: United States of America Hummingbirder
Composter Bromeliad Master Gardener: Mississippi Cat Lover Tropicals Plumerias
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drdawg
Dec 8, 2014 4:22 PM CST
The world we live in, Alice. Sad Sighing!
drdawg (Ken Ramsey) - Tropical Plants & More
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If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.
Name: Caroline Scott
Calgary (Zone 4a)
Charter ATP Member Region: Canadian Bulbs Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters Lilies
Peonies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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CarolineScott
Dec 8, 2014 9:00 PM CST
I agree Sad Sad Sad

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