Thursday, May 19, 2011

My $25 Tomato - A Guest Post

Today's blog post comes to you courtesy of Michael Nolan, known in the blogiverse as the Garden Rockstar. He's got an amazing singing voice (that's the Rockstar part) and right now, he's homesteading in Alabama and you can read about his adventures at his blog, My Earth Garden (that's the Garden part). Oh, and he just had his first book published earlier this year:  I Garden - Urban Style, which I reviewed here.

My $25 Tomato

Want to know what sends me through the roof? The price of produce at the supermarket. Want to know what makes me want to burn the roof down? The subpar quality of that overpriced produce.

I will never forget the day I walked into the market my friend Scott so lovingly refers to as “Whole Paycheck.” I was making my way through the well-appointed (and even fractionally regional) produce area when I saw a big hand lettered sign: Heirloom Tomatoes $4.99/lb.

Say wha? Excuuuuuse me? Fourninetynineawhaaaat? Exactly. A fiver for a pound. A pound, incidentally, is one average-sized home-grown heirloom tomato. Five dollars. For real. I even mentioned this incident in my book but I fell short of explaining the beautiful reality that I came to, later that same season.

The ripening tomato seen here is the actual $25 tomato
that Michael grew in 2008.
You see, I was growing my annual 'Mortgage Lifter' tomatoes which are known for being rather prolific producers of mammoth fruit. We’re talking 2+ pounds easily. Well that season the beasts had a surprise even for this tomato growing vet.

The first fruit appeared on one of the 'Mortgage Lifters' and I was happy to see it. Then as other tomatoes matured and were picked, one kept growing. And growing. And…

In the end, that first tomato weighed in at an astonishing five pounds. Thus, using a bit of basic math and the price I had seen just a few weeks prior, that tomato was worth about $25.

And some folks think that growing your own food means you’re poor!

Michael Nolan, The Garden Rockstar, is an author, blogger and speaker on gardening, sustainability, food ethics and homesteading. He is currently in the process of writing a new guest post on a different site for each day in May. To follow his progress, visit


Anonymous said...

Fantastic! I agree with you whole (paycheck) heartedly about the price and quality of produce - heirloom or otherwise.

I'm growing Mortgage Lifters for the first time this year and am a little scared - hahaha! Two pounds - WOW!

Here's hoping!

Unknown said...

I love your photography. I just started my own gardening blog and am inspired by your talent.

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