A blast from the past: Planting heirloom seeds

Fit for Life

Photo by Emily Ryan. A 3-year-old boy shows off a Brandywine tomato harvested from his backyard garden. Photo by Emily Ryan. A 3-year-old boy shows off a Brandywine tomato harvested from his backyard garden.

By Emily Ryan, The Mercury

On a cool, cloudy afternoon, William Woys Weaver led a tour of his garden, pointing out Eva Snader’s Brown Winter lettuce, Crimson flowering fava and a cress called Wrinkled Crinkled.

“So a lot’s going on here,” he said. “We’ve got potatoes. You can see they’re coming up here. This is Peach Blow. It’s one of the oldest varieties around here.”

Stepping into his greenhouse, Weaver checked other plants’ progress.

“Oh, good. Persimmon has finally germinated,” he observed. “That’s the name of the tomato. It’s very big, and it’s persimmon colored, so it doesn’t look like a tomato. You look at it twice. Is that a tomato or something from the tropics?”

It’s one of more than 4,000 heirloom food plants in Weaver’s Roughwood Seed Collection, named for…

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