Heirloom Vegetable Plants

Handed down from generation to generation, heirlooms have tended to be selected for flavor, not how well they survive shipping or how perfect they look. That’s why ‘Brandywine’ tomatoes are so sweet and juicy, lemon cucumbers so zesty and crunchy, and ‘Red Kuri’ winter squash so creamy and nutty-flavored. And even if they’re not the classic, flawlessly symmetrical specimens we’re used to seeing in grocery stores, they’re gorgeous in their own fascinating, idiosyncratic ways.

  1. Lemon cucumber - Eat it like an apple or use it to garnish cold drinks. It’s crisp and refreshing, without any bitterness.
  2. Mexican Sour cucumber : The fruit looks like a baby watermelon, but its flesh is crunchy like a cucumber.
  3. Galeux d’Eysines squash : This French heirloom’s knotty, textured exterior is like brocade on salmon-colored silk.
  4. Accordion tomato : Its pleated shape resembles a satin evening clutch. A great tomato to stuff.
  5. Lebanese eggplant : Three or four eggplant grow on every stem.
  6. Asian Winged beans : Feathery edges on the pods make these beans look as if they’ll fly away.
  7. Nutmeg melon : A compact melon with sweet flavor.
  8. Pretzel bean : The plant is vigorous, and the pods twist like ram’s horns.
  9. Nardello pepper : Its thin skin turns creamy and soft when cooked, especially in stir-fries. Or slice and sauté it for sandwiches.
  10. Jarrahdale pumpkin : Find vibrant golden yellow to orange flesh beneath that gray-green exterior.
  11. Chioggia beet : Each slice reveals a bull’s-eye pattern.
  12. Romanesco broccoli : Its chartreuse florets look otherworldly.
  13. Hinona Kabu turnip : Slice it raw to drop into salads.
  14. French Breakfast radish : Dramatic pink and white coloring meets mild flavor.