The value of heirloom varieties sometimes goes beyond the science

WSU Master Gardener columnist Lloyd Thompson inherited this heirloom rhubarb plant from his father, who got it from his own father roughly 60 years ago. Thompson's wife makes rhubarb crisp using a recipe she got from her mother nearly 40 years ago.

For years, I have been growing, harvesting and watching plants while trying to figure out which varieties perform the best.

The biggest discussion and change I have noticed in the last 10 years or so has been the interest in heirloom varieties and their availability. I see claims that heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers have better production, better flavor, more nutritional value, better fragrance and a host of other claims.

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