Why do I include heirloom vegetables in my gardens? Basically it comes down to flavor. Many of the newer varieties often grow better, are sturdier, more disease and pest resistant. Some are even more tender than heirlooms. Others are faster growing, thus harvestable sooner. But it's all about taste.
But don't jump to the conclusion that all heirlooms taste better. That's not always the case. But many do. So I often grow those.
...Black Valentine bean. Talk about flavor! One of my favorites.
...Yellow Pear tomato. Sassy and delicious, perfect for snacking.
...Mammoth Melting snow pea. Fresh flavor.
...Chiogga beet. Sweet and tender.
...Fordhook Giant Chard. Tender. Nice flavor. Productive.
...Golden Bantam Corn. Old time corn flavor. Not sweet like the sweet corns of today, but it really tastes like real corn.
...Amish Paste Tomato. Versatile. A very nice paste type tomato.
...Parris Island Cos. Great romaine lettuce that doesn't get bitter here in Hawaii.
...Dragon Tongue bean. Versatile. Good flavor.
...Purple Majesty Potato. Excellent flavor as home fries. We like to eat them cooked then chilled. Sliced and dipped in hummus or homemade salad dressing, they're a tasty snack.
...Chantenay Carrot. Real carrot taste.
...Dinosaur Kale. The only kale I like. Great flavor, even raw.
There are lots of heirlooms still out there, though sadly we've lost quite a few when corporations took over seed production. Home gardeners preserved many and they are starting to reappear in small seed catalogs as the seeds get donated to preservation.
Every year I experiment with new varieties. I try a couple a heirlooms, seeing if they will survive and produce at my location. Many don't due to pests and disease. But the ones I like be one permanent residents on this farm.