Lost Heirloom Seeds!

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Xtina, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Portland, Oregon
    It's a long, long, long shot, but I thought I'd try the BYC forum for a solution to this heartbreaking problem.

    While I grew up in the States, my family is from Greece. The Western side, from the Ilias province and the island of Zakynthos. The Ilias province used to have the greatest tomatoes. I'm not going to say they were the world's best, because I'm no connoisseur, but these were a national treasure. I'm speaking in the past tense, because when I went back to Greece for the first time in 13 years this September, I was told that the heirloom seeds are lost. All the farmers in the area bought Monsanto stock when it came out, and they were excited about the color, size, and longer shelf-life of these varietals. This was before they knew that you can't save the seeds and that the tomatoes themselves taste like acidic cardboard. Since everyone there has a farm, no one has small scale gardens. Every farmer took the GMO seeds and NOBODY saved their heirlooms! These were varieties that should have been saved by someone, but everyone I asked (and I asked a lot of random people, even strangers) said that the tomatoes were gone. Everyone's depressed about it, and everyone is convinced that the seeds are lost forever.

    I'm of a different mind. I know that somewhere, someone has saved these seeds. I want to find them and propagate them, somehow. So I'm reaching out to this community to see if anyone has a friend of a friend somewhere who used to defy customs laws by taking home seeds in their pockets or something. Help me out if you can!
     
  2. turney31

    turney31 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2008
    palestine texas
    No help, but wishing you luck!
     
  3. Amyable

    Amyable Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Greenleaf, WI
    Do you know the name of the heirlooms? That would help a lot. I have a hard time believing they're truly gone, as I had volunteer tomatoes this season from my heirloom plants from last year. There have got to be some volunteer tomato plants growing somewhere in Greece, just doing their thing without human help. [​IMG]
     
  4. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree about the fact that they have to be somewhere! But I don't have a name. They just called them the local tomatoes. It seems pretty ridiculous to be asking without even this basic information, I know, but I just don't have it [​IMG]
     
  5. Qi Chicken

    Qi Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2009
    We have a Monsanto plant not 10 miles from where I live and I HATE them. I never use that word but I'll say it again. Monsanto is E V I L. There are many many seed banks around the world where seeds are being preserved. Unfortunately for seeds to remain viable they have to be planted every 10 years. And money is tight and some feel that the refrigeration is not always functioning properly etc. I agree that you need some kind of name to go on but you do know the appearance, region etc. There is a place in the US called Seed Savers. They are in Iowa near Decorah. They have about 100 varieties of tomatoes. They have a tomato testing every summer. They may not have yours but they probably would have at least some advice for you. If your town has a list of inhabitants, or a birthday section in the newspaper find the OLD people. I KNOW that someone there still has seeds. Even look at the obituaries. Check with the surviving spouse. After a decent interval of course! Oh wait, you aren't living there anymore. You need help from local people! You're not really looking for farmers but just people with a few plants in their backyard.

    Look up the contact info for seed savers and email them with your questions. Ask them to direct you to someone who could help you if they don't know. I am sick about the loss of so many plants and animals. Actually it was my research into this subject that led me into raising chickens. We lose one domesticated animal a MONTH, and lord knows about corn and everything else. It really is a very dangerous situation with roundup and all that.

    If you can't find Seedsavers on the internet or want to brainstorm other ideas PM me. The Dorking chicken and I are going to go far but I want to make sure you get your tomatoes back! I know a Greek family in Iowa, I used to work in their restaurant. I guess I could ask!

    PS. I've been to Greece (and about 40 other countries) and the islands were hands down my favorite place. I've never been to the one you mentioned though. Sounds like I really missed out.

    Anne

    PS-- Rereading this it sounds like I'm a little nutballs. I don't mean to be so hyper but THIS is how it happens! This is how they become extinct and this is how they are saved. One person can really make a difference in this situation. Once you get your tomato back give some to everyone you know.

    Good luck!!!!!!!!!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2010
  6. FlashPointFarm

    FlashPointFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Iowa
  7. Xtina

    Xtina Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Portland, Oregon
    Qi Chicken, thanks so much! I wish people in Greece had small gardens; it seems unbelievable to me that they don't, but trust me, I put it to them that exact same way. I told a cab driver that it would be worth it to knock on every door in the province! Pretty much everyone I talked to about them was old, since my mother is 75 and I was talking to her cousins, siblings, and even an aunt in her 90s. It's a strange and sad situation. I've begun doing some Google searches too (don't know why I didn't do that before bugging you guys!) and I'm having a tiny bit of luck, but not much. I'm on a mission! And I could use some partners [​IMG]
     
  8. Qi Chicken

    Qi Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 3, 2009
    I just noticed that you're in Portland. I used to live in Eugene. I don't remember if Portland has a large greek population or not. I don't really know where in the US does but you could eat your way through the greek restaurants of the US. Someone is bound to know something!
     
  9. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

  10. farmerlor

    farmerlor Chillin' With My Peeps

    I grew an heirloom tomato called Greek domata that I bought from Gary Ibsen at Tomato fest. It's a medium sized red tomato, nice and firm, round shaped with excellent flavor. I did not keep the seeds and have not grown it again because production in my area was not good but you might want to check that out on Gary's website. Another GREAT source is a yahoo email group that I belong to called tomato lovers and we have a seed bank of heirloom tomatoes that is beyond description. Someone there may know what you're looking for exactly.
     

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