I read one of the items of your concerns as regard heritage seeds. Well over here we had the same happened back in the 1970's and the 'Heritage Seed Library' was set up. Now for the princely sum of £20 ( this pays towards the upkeep of the register and the presevation of the old varieties) you get 6 packets of seed of your choice plus a 'lucky dip'. The web site is:-
I am not sure about the import regs for seeds into US. I know that plants are a definite no no.
Perhaps the venerable, wize YB could find out if perhaps the TOFA could purchase seeds and resell to members? Worth a try if you can't get the seeds you want stateside.
Also if you want a real good read try to get a copy of 'Forgotten Fruits' by Christopher Stocks. It is written about traditional british fruit and vegetables.It tells of vegies that were grown in Victorian times and where you can still get them.Hope this is of interest to you and a little useful.
(Still keeping up the NY resolution, 24 days now.)
I am learning all kinds of good things to do with vegetables from my book I'm reading, Native American Gardening, all kinds of ways of using and storing corn and squash, including drying squash blooms and cooking the squash seeds in water, corn meal/bread made with fresh corn etc. :)
They had some kind of squash that had more than one color of squashes on the same plant, they were also a variety of shapes and sizes, but were considered all the same variety of squash! :D (something quite like this would be very hard to get even if you tried to cross several types of squash)
Also, today I picked up some seeds for Mammoth Russian Sunflowers, and Alpine Strawberries, won't be long now till I can get some of them going in the greenhouse, so I'd better get back to work soon improving my heating system/heat retention system, and tidy up in there as well as get my hooks up for hanging baskets. :)
as it is very easy to cross pollinate veggies, often times things people don't even realize can cross do.