Heirloom tomatoes are one of my favorite late summer treats.  I have often wondered what makes them 'heirloom'?

So here is a simple explanation.  Heirloom plants grow from seeds developed pre-1951 and pollinated by things occurring in nature, insects, birds, winds, etc.  1951 was the first year that people began hybridization, which explains the date.  Hybridization occurs when the pollen from one plant is used to pollinate an entirely different species or variety.  If seeds are harvested from these resulting plants they typically will not grow.  Where as with heirloom seeds the seeds harvested will result in plants just like the parents.

Personally, I would love to see more heirloom varieties on the market.  The tomatoes are incredible if you haven't yet tried them.  Grow your own, or cough up the $5 or so a pound price they fetch.  Who cares about the price...they are awesome!  They are so meaty and delicious you can save your money on the bacon and just have a L&T sandwich!