Farmer's Market August 8, 2020
Should be a nice morning tomorrow. Come early and beat the heat. Come early before everything is gone!
Last week I talked about the Boothyby's Blonde Cucumbers we had and I have continued to be fixated on them this week. They are that good. We made pickles out of them and they exceeded my wildest expectations. I ate them whole, no slices, with a little salt and they were so satisfying that I swore off any other cucumbers for the foreseeable future. Sorry big green cucumbers-- I've found a new love interest.
The Boothby Blonde is an heirloom variety. What does that mean? I thought an heirloom was that old dresser that belonged to your great-great grandmother and has been handed down for decades (maybe centuries) through your family. It has value based on its history and emotional connection to your family.
Heirloom vegetables are like that too. They have been handed down for a long time. They are not new or the product of modern technology. Most of the vegetables you find today are hybrids. That's not a bad thing but they aren't heirlooms. Heirlooms are pure genetics. Haven't been messed with. Haven't been crossed with another variety to "improve" them.
For instance, we now have seedless watermelons. They are hybrids developed so that people don't have to spit out seeds.
How boring. I grew up experiencing intense seed spitting contests with my cousins. If an heirloom was seedless that would be the end of the line. No more heirloom. So, now all we want to do is have the experience of eating a seedless watermelon -- the culinary equivalent of a bowling shoe.
I'm often asked if the heirloom Boothby Blonde has seeds. Duh. Of course. People don't seem to like seeds in their cucumbers either. I did an experiment this week. I extracted some seeds from the Boothby and tasted them separate from the flesh of the cucumber. Guess what? They were tender and sweet, almost melted in my mouth and only added to the taste of the Boothby. You can't find that in the grocery. Technology can't provide that experience.
Seeds are important. You want to pass on your "seeds" to your children. You want them to have some heirloom qualities even though they have hybrid characteristics. Mom and Dad both contribute. You need that winning smile from your Dad and that strong backbone from your Mom. Both seeds are needed. But if we only selected for those characteristics we liked then our children would be as boring as seedless watermelon. But maybe easier to control or predict. Clones. Science tells us that asexual reproduction (clones) is the most efficient way of perpetuating our species. Just think about that.
I'll take my chance with the Boothby's. I'll take the risk that comes with continuing flavor and interesting textures. You can have the seedless clones. I choose adventure.
I choose life.