The Collier Cucumber: Once Nearly Lost, Now Preserved

 The Collier Cucumber: Once Nearly Lost, Now Preserved

One summer during the 1950s, Graham and Margaret Collier of Nashville, Tennessee planted all the seeds they had of their family’s heirloom slicing cucumber. Little did they know, none of the plants would survive that summer’s drought. But that's not where the story ends.

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Novel Uses for Common Garden Crops

Novel Uses for Common Garden Crops

Once in awhile we come across varieties that are so novel and extraordinary that even we are taken by surprise. Here are some of our favorite “outside of the box” varieties that we’ve encountered in the last few years.

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A man and his beans: Burt Berrier

A man and his beans: Burt Berrier

Burt Berrier, of Canon City, CO, collected beans because he enjoyed their stories, their diversity, and because it allowed him to meet people from all over the world.

“One thing about collecting beans, each has a life in it, it’s not dead as collecting clocks, dolls, guns etc…. There is no end to the subject of beans. I was told as a boy I didn’t know beans and I find that now at nearly 85 it’s still the same.”

                                                                          -Burt Berrier (circa 1978)

 

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The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Michels' cowpea

The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Michels' cowpea

In 1941, Vince Michels,’ army unit held maneuvers by walking from Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri to Tennessee.  During this march, Vince noticed they were walking through "a field of something planted with pods."  Vince picked a few pods, and mailed them to his father, Fred Michels, in Earling, Iowa.

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The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Halbert Honey' Watermelon

The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Halbert Honey' Watermelon

This historic variety of watermelon was developed by Mr. H.A. Halbert of Texas and introduced in 1902 by the W. Atlee Burpee seed house. That year, the Burpee catalog described it as “new to the general public” and as a selection by Mr. H. A. Halbert of Texas “who plants for his home trade thirty acres of this original pet of his, each season...”

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The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Missouri Pink Love Apple' tomato

The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Missouri Pink Love Apple' tomato

The Jennings claimed that their ancestor “Grandpa Barnes” grew it during the 1860s but only as an ornamental plant because he thought tomatoes were poisonous (not an uncommon misconception at that time).

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The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Brinker Carrier' bean

The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Brinker Carrier' bean

It is a good snap bean, but received especially strong taste reviews as a shelling and dry bean. Jane Jensen of Utah writes, “yummy shelly bean, had the best flavor, white, creamy smooth, delicious.”

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