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Home-grown Tomatoes

Susannah, Standley Lake Library

If you’ve ever eaten a garden-fresh tomato, you know that there’s a world of difference between home-grown and store-bought. While you’re waiting for those home-grown tomatoes to show up in your garden or at your farmer’s market, we offer you three books about growing tomatoes – as a commercial crop,  in a backyard vegetable garden and on an organic farm.

Tomatoland : how modern industrial agriculture destroyed our most alluring fruit - Barry Estabrook. The author sees several round green ‘apples’ falling off a truck in Florida. When he discovers that the ‘apples’ are in fact tomatoes and just fine after falling 10 feet and hitting the pavement at 60 miles per hour, he decides to find out just how we got to this point.

The $64 tomato : How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden - William Alexander. The author wonders why the neighbor doesn’t mow the field where the kids play softball. Learning that the land belongs to him, not his neighbor, he decides to plant the ultimate vegetable garden. He soon learns that having a garden may produce wonderful vegetables but costs him more than he anticipates.

It’s a long road to a tomato : tales of an organic farmer who quit the big city for the (not so) simple life - Keith Stewart. For the first 40 years of his life, the author had no idea that he wanted to be a farmer, but in 1986 he traded his office job in New York City for a farm in upstate New York. His essays over the next 20 years range from the specifics of growing vegetables on his farm to agricultural issues that should concern all of us.


And while you’re reading, keep in mind that old John Denver song:

Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without home grown tomatoes
Only two things that money can’t buy
That’s true love and home grown tomatoes.