Cultivating History Part 2: Full Circle’s Heirloom Cultivation (cont.)
This post is a continuation of last Wednesday’s post
We begin our journey into heirloom varieties with Strawberry Crown Winter Squash (c. maxima) founded locally by Mary Schultz of Monroe, Washington. This seed originated in Brazil in the late 1980’s. She gave it to Glen Drowns who introduced it to Seed Savers Exchange in 1991. We are excited to see how the amazing squash plants will give rise to the brown, bi-color fruits with a salmon hue at the crown.
The next seed, Tennis Ball Lettuce (lactuca sativa) takes us back in time to Thomas Jefferson where it is said that he cultivated over 330 vegetable varieties in his 1,000-ft-long garden terrace at Monticello. This variety of lettuce is smaller in size, but very tender and said to have been pickled in salt brine during the 17th and 18th centuries.
We adored reading about how Thomas Jefferson was an avid English Pea grower, with over 15 different peas in his garden fueled by the annual neighborhood contest to see which farmer could bring to the table the first peas of spring. The winner would host the other contestants in a dinner that included the peas. Perhaps a great idea for Full Circle members?
Our need for growing in the warmest days of the Northwest moved our attention to Russia where the Black Sea Man tomato seed was discovered by seeds-woman Marina Danilenko. In this variety we are looking forward to rich flavors and heavily marbled olive and pink hues to grace our August meals.
In keeping with the hope for heat we have also gravitated towards Sweet Blue Jade Corn (zea mays). Southwestern American Indians, notably the Hopi, inspired this beautiful small corn variety. This variety is one of the few that can be grown in containers and, with a higher protein content, it is a great mix for pancakes, homemade chips and cornbread. The hope that the rain will subside, that fields will dry out, and that warmth will renew our spirits are all captured in these small cobs.
We look forward to growing more good food with you this year. What special fruits or vegetables are you looking forward to?