If you grow fruits and vegetables from seed passed down by your ancestors, you could be making a trip to the Iowa State Fair. Susan Futrell of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University says they’re expanding the competition at the fair for “heirloom” fruits and vegetables. She says they thought it would be a fun way to show things that’re starting to reemerge as people rediscover the old varieties of fruits and vegetables. She says they’re expanding to six different categories. Futrell says they use the “heirloom” definition created by the Seed Savers group in Decorah. She says that definition is a seed or plant that’s been handed down within a family or a community. Futrell says if your relatives didn’t pass down the seeds from their favorite plants, you can still get involved. She says there has been a resurgence in the older varieties becoming available commercially again through the Seed Savers and other outlets. So she says there’s a ready source for people who want to try out some uncommon or unusual varieties. Futrell says the number of commercial seed varieties that’re available now has narrowed – so you get the same types every year. She says part of what’s interesting about heirlooms is their great range of colors, shape and flavor that makes a different look on the plate and in the garden. Entry forms for the competitions are due July 1. For more information, go to the Iowa State Fair web site at: www.iowastatefair.org.
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