Heirloom gardening maintains history, plant DNA and superior taste and flavor. I love the interesting old names, especially these:
1500 Year Old Cave Bean. The original seeds were found in a cave in New Mexico by the archeology department of UCLA in 1968. Carbon dating showed the seeds to be 1500 years old.
Woods Mountain Crazy Bean. These beans were popular in the 1930s, called crazy due to the fact that when grown without irrigation, the plants drop their leaves, but when fall rains come, they leaf out again, like crazy.
Wild Pigeon Bean. Seeds were found in the craw of a wild bird, Iroquoix Grand River Reserve, (Six Nations) Ontario, Canada.
Cherokee Trail of Tears Bean. Native Americans carried these beans over the Trail of Tears during the death march Oct 1838 – March 26, 1839 from the Smoky Mountains to Oklahoma. A trail of 4,000 graves, a trail of tears.
Volga German Siberian Bean. 1762 – 1763 Catherine the Great imported German Mennonite farmers to use their agricultural skills. They settled and subsequent descendants were sent to Siberian camps by Stalin.
Lazy Wife Pole bean. Brought to Pennsylvania before 1810 by German immigrants. In the 1888 Burpee catalog, apologies were offered as Burpee felt the name was “discourteous”. It was named such due to its productivity, stringless and easy to harvest and cook.
Bountiful Bean. In 1896 Henderson Seed company offered an award of $25.00 to the person who could come up with a name for their new green bean. Abel Steele, an Ohio gardener won with the name “Bountiful”.
Mortgage Lifter tomato. This tomato was named during the 1930s by a gardener who paid off his mortgage by selling tomatoes.
Howling Mob sweet corn. The farmer who grew this corn swore a howling mob formed when he would bring his corn to town.
Lady apple. French women in the 17th century carried these apples in their pockets as sachets.
Baldwin apple. This variety was named for a tree growing at the Northern Maine baldwin homestead. This particular tree survived the harsh winter that killed nearly every member of the family.