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What is the difference between Heirloom and Organic?

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We get asked this a lot.  There are so many terms used in the seed world and it can get really confusing.  Heirloom, hybrid, GMO, organic and conventional, the list goes on.

Basically there are two main ways to describe your seeds, the genetics of your seeds and how your seeds were grown.

Genetics

Heirlooms are seed varieties that are at least 50 years old, and you can save these seeds and plant them year after year.  Heirlooms are never hybrids or GMOs.  Hybrids are crosses of heirloom varieties.  If you save hybrid seeds, you won't get what you expect.  Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is bad, and sometimes it doesn't work at all.  GMOs are Genetically Modified seeds.  They are created in a lab where the basic genetic material of the seed is being altered, usually to make them resistant to an herbicide.

 

How your Seeds were Grown

Organic seeds are grown without synthetic pesticides, herbicides and synthetic fertilizers.  Conventional isn't really defined but usually means that any fertilizer, pesticide and herbicide can be used.

At Annie's all our varieties are Heirloom.  All the varieties labeled Organic are Certified Organic Seeds as well.