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Oldies That Are Still Goodies

March 07, 1993|Bill Sidnam

Since 1876, Burpee has specialized in developing and marketing seeds for the home gardener. And while Burpee's 1993 mail-order catalogue is loaded with new varieties, the catalogue also carries some heirloom vegetables featured since the 1800s.

The reason for this, says Lee Strasburger, Burpee research director, is that some of the new hybrid vegetables simply are not superior to the old open pollinated (non-hybrid) varieties.

This is especially true, Strasburger says, where peas, beans and lettuce are concerned. Burpee's Iceberg lettuce and Burpee's Stringless Green Pod bean have been listed in their catalogues since 1894. And their Mammoth Melting Sugar pea has been around for a full century; it was first listed in their 1893 catalogue.

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