I was looking at two local varieties, a Valarde Blue and the Hopi Blue. I know they'll do well around here, I know the Hopi Blue is good stuff and I figured I'd take a chance with the Valarde, as it supposedly produces decent sized ears. While I should be able to find the Hopi Blue seed at a reasonable price if I look around, the only place that I know to get the Valarde is a bit pricey, but it doesn't seem to be a very common variety, so it is what it is.
Another that I was looking at was Bloody Butcher. It seems to be readily available, and I've also read that people get some decent yields for an heirloom variety. Anybody have any experience with it? Given what I want to do, is it worth it, or are there other better varieties?
A bit about what I have available: Once I take the hack saw to the manifold on my irrigation well and add some stuff to it, I'll have a sufficient supply of water that I can easily move around where ever I want. I can get more manure than I know what to do with, and I do have a small tractor with a tiller attachment, and building new attachments that don't need to use the PTO would be easy for me if need be. I wouldn't consider myself a gardener, but the stuff that I've grown in the past (non-food) has done well. I have this annoying habit of immersing myself in something and learning everything I can about it, whether it be law or farming.
Now then, here is my understanding of heirloom crops: They don't deal with pesticides as well as modern varieties of corn, yet are more resistant to bugs than the modern varieties are without pesticides. Yields per acre are not as high as modern varieties in most instances. In other words, you don't get as much, but you don't need to rely on a large industrial base to reliably grow the stuff. Is this correct? Also, is there anything that I'll have to look out for that I wouldn't have to with the more modern varieties? I understand that if I want to build up a seed base, I either need to separate the different varieties either by distance, or by time, and it stays warm long enough here for me to use time.
Other things I am going to/want to grow:
Beans and squash. I'll probably do regular pintos, Hopi black pintos and Anasazis. (Hey, I'm from NM, beans, corn and squash were pretty much staple food for people before Europeans got here.)
NM varieties of chiles (Again, I'm from NM. We put the stuff on or in EVERYTHING. Including spaghetti sauce and pizza. And it's good.)
NM Mellons. This is an experiment. The Alameda Pueblo cultivated them. I'm less than 1/2 mile from Alameda Blvd. That road was named after the Pueblo that it went through. I think it'll grow here, and besides, I already have the seeds.
Tomatoes. I hate them fresh, as in whatever gets broken down when they get cooked is something that actually makes me ill, but I do like tomato sauces.
Onions. What can I say? I like'em.
Garlic. I love garlic. I know, they're supposed to be planted in the fall. Maybe I missed the boat for this year. But I still love me some garlic.
Potatoes. I like those too.