Megnut

Heritage and heirloom day


Me about to enjoy some roast suckling pig at Daisy May's BBQ in New York City

Today's going to be a kind of heirloom/heritage day here on Megnut. One thing I never thought much about until I got into food and doing this site was the effect of industrial farming on genetic diversity. From tomatoes to turkeys, agribusiness selects breeds based on qualities such as rate of growth, color, and suitability for shipment. Hence giant California strawberries, beautiful red apples with mealy faint apple flavor, and chickens and turkeys bursting with breast meat that's dull and dry.

Though such practices result in consistent products and less expensive food, we are losing our culinary heritage. If you frequent farmer's markets, you can see a resurgence of variety. Potatoes and tomatoes are two very common heirloom products on the scene right now, and you can usually find six or eight varieties of each in season, from Green Zebra tomatoes to Russian Banana potatoes.

And then there's the issue of taste. I never cared for pork much, I always found it bland and dry. Then I tasted pork from small farms, places like Flying Pigs Farm here in New York who raise Large Blacks, Gloucestershire Old Spots, and Tamworths. And now pork is probably my favorite meat. So look for links throughout the day about the "new" old way of farming and anything interesting I can turn up about the issues.

There are 2 responses

Oh YUM that looks amazing. I just got a bunch of heirloom seeds. Tomatoes, radishes and beets. I am a little afraid to plant them as I have a black thumb. If you find any good links to growing heirloom plants we..well I would love to see them!

My husband's grandparents raised and butchered pigs when he was young. I grew up on supermarket pork, and as such never developed much of a taste for it... until my first taste of Flying Pigs pork, that is. What a revelation that was for me, and for my husband it reminds him of the pork he ate growing up.

I tried to plant as many heirloom varieties of veggies as possible in our little patch of garden this year, and I'll continue to seek them out in years to come. I do think there is a difference in flavor, and it's nice to have so much variety in our beans, tomatoes, and green (and purple and gold) leafies.

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