On Livingseeds Farm, our main focus is on food crops – traditionally, we have focused on heirloom and open-pollinated vegetables. There is, however, a massive resource of real South African and international heritage food crops that have gone unnoticed by the general gardening public.
We are blessed to have a broad base of professional food gardeners who specialise in rare and unusual crops, often known as forgotten or lost crops. These growers have spent years cultivating and understanding such crops. Through their dedication, Livingseeds can supply these lost varieties to the South African gardening public.
There is a massive diversity in traditional food crops that our “Western palate” is totally out of tune with. The Western palate has a propensity for soft and sweet, often mistaking sweet for flavour. It’s gotten so bad that crops are sold solely on a Brix index – the higher the Brix, the more in demand the crop. But Brix is an indication of sweetness and not actual flavour.
Traditional food crops are seen as orphan crops as they are not seen as commercially viable. The world revolves around 4 staple crops: corn, wheat, rice, and soy bean. All of these have been bred to suit commercial requirements in terms of planting, fertilization, harvesting, processing, and consumption. Thanks to our bodies constantly being tempted with sweet, soft carbs, our palates have been damaged and our minds addled as to what food is.
Orphan crops are often not what we would expect as standard fare; however, the surprises in flavour and texture are deliciously astonishing. Even better, they come packed with nutrients, fibre, and flavours that make you wonder why you had never encountered these amazing foods before.
This year, take the plunge and plant a few indigenous edibles. Very often, these crops are limited in stock and tend to sell out quite quickly. Being subscribed to our newsletter is the best way to ensure that you get a heads-up when they come into stock.