Fortunately, some of those heirloom seeds have survived, have been preserved and
propagated.   And now great
local farmers, who don't have the problems with
transportation and who are committed to quality over quantity, are bringing these
incredibly more flavorful foods to us.  

According to
Carolyn Male and Craig Lehoullier, respected tomato experts;
heirloom tomatoes fall into one of four categories:

1.   The commercial heirloom tomato.
Open pollinated tomato varieties more than
40 years old, introduced by seed companies before 1960.  

2.   The family heirloom tomato.  
Favorite tomato varieties whose seeds have been
saved and passed down from generation to generation.

3.  The created heirloom tomato.  
A tomato that's been crossed deliberately using two
heirlooms, or an heirloom and a hybrid,
to have certain characteristics.  Initially a hybrid, it becomes
dehybridized through saving and replanting the seeds for
about 5 seasons, until it grows consistently true to what the grower has in mind.

4.  The mystery heirloom tomato.  
A tomato which arises accidentally from natural cross-pollination
or mutation in the garden. This is the way most heirloom varieties originated.  

So What is an
Heirloom Tomato Anyhow?

Over the past 50 or so years, the food
industry has been focusing more on shelf-life
and transportability than on taste and texture.  
But all that cross-breeding and hybridization
started somewhere.  And that "somewhere"
were the real deal. They are our common
heirlooms; real national treasures.
Steve Kessman
Our Featured Grower of
Heirloom Tomatoes
Rebecca Kessman
Our Featured Grower of
Heirloom Tomatoes