The best way to experience heirloom fruits and vegetablesis to grow your own. There are literally thousands of varieties of heirloom plants to choose from, so seed shopping is fun. If you have kids, growing heirloom seeds is a great way to get them excited about gardening, because they can choose unusual varieties. Here are some tips to get started:

1. Make sure you get your heirloom seeds from a reputable source, preferably a company that specializes in heirloom seeds like Seed Savers Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

2. Start small with just several varieties. Remember, if you plant two different species of the same plant close to one another, those seeds will cross and you will not end up with seeds from the original plant strain.

3. Start your seeds off inside as seedlings in small containers before transferring to the garden.

4. Look for varieties that grow well in your climate and region.

5. Beginners should start with easier-to-grow produce, such as tomatoes, green beans, cabbage, melon or carrots. Here are some great heirloom varieties for beginners:

Violet Jasper tomato: Green striped tomato with unique purple-red flesh, a very productive tomato.

Atomic Red carrot: This red flesh carrot is rich in the nutrient lycopene.

Rich Sweetness melon: This bright red and golden-yellow-striped melon bursts with juicy sweetness