Landrace Gardening: Do It for the Taste


I have been growing my own varieties of fruits and vegetables for years. They taste marvelous to me. Before saving seeds, I taste the crops to make sure that they taste good to me. I didn't start out to intentionally breed for great tasting vegetables, it happened mostly by chance as tastes, textures, smells, and colors that I find most pleasing have come to predominate in my varieties.

This afternoon, I had the pleasure of attending an open house at the home of a man that has been my friend since childhood. There was a beautiful spread of vegetables that looked glorious, but tasted nothing like the vegetables from my garden. The experience triggered the train of thought that lead to writing this blog.

Industrialized cantaloupe

Industrialized Food

Last fall, I was invited to the capitol, for a week, where I was wined and dined on the finest food that industrialized agriculture has to offer. On more than a few occasions, I put a forkful of food into my mouth that I thought I recognized, but the taste or texture was so off-putting, that I spit it out for fear that I had inadvertently put a non-food item into my mouth.

As an example, there was a dish of small thin snap beans that looked so young and tender that on my farm, I would have expected them to melt in my mouth. At the restaurant, they had the consistency of a bean stem. In a blind taste test, I would have considered them too fibrous to be edible. I was served fruits that looked like tomatoes or strawberries, but the texture and taste was more akin to eating Styrofoam packing peanuts with a bit of added food coloring.

I've heard some of my patrons use the term “cardboard tomatoes” to disparage tomatoes that are trucked in from far away. I had the opportunity to taste some of them. I have included a photo of an industrialized cantaloupe (above). I sure wouldn't want to eat that!

2/4/2018 3:09:44 PM

I found you through Permies in your post about evergreen fruit trees, and just want to say thank you for your novel way of explaining why you choose to grow what you do. I'm not a seed saver, but you've inspired me!

5/17/2016 10:26:48 AM

One can find great "industrialized" melons. Rocky Ford in Colorado produces outstanding melons. Melons are part genetics but also HOW they are grown and managed and WHEN they are harvested make a big difference in quality. Some large growers do an outstanding job of mass producing melons.

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