An heirloom plant comes from seeds that have been passed down from generation to generation. These seeds are open-pollinated which means that they rely on natural pollination from insects.
Did you know that in the supermarket you have mostly hybrid fruit and vegetables? They are meant to be produced in high volume with the same taste and look. They are cross pollinated to produce the desired characteristics from each plant.
Are hybrids and GMO the same? Hybrid is not the same as GMO. GMO (Genetically Modified) is when they use unnatural methods to gene-splice in order to produce the desired traits.
Hybrid plant do not breed true to the parent plant. This means that you may have varying results when using a seed from a hybrid. Heirlooms will produce the same results as the parent from generation to generation.
Many gardeners choose to grow from Heirloom seeds because they can be more confident about the results. There are several Heirloom seed companies. One very well known company Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They are located in Missouri. Searching in google I found an heirloom seed company in Bella Vista Arkansas called The Seed Guy. They have great reviews with a 5 star rating.