Sunday, March 17, 2013

How To Get the Perfect Tomato

Tomatoes are pretty - I'll give you that.
My gardener friends are always talking about their tomatoes. There must be a bazillion kinds of tomatoes and they have their favorites, yet they're always on the lookout for a "better" one.  Those tomato lovers - it seems they're never satisfied.

Well, it's a pretty well-known fact that I don't like raw tomatoes.  I've got good company in Southern Living Magazine's The Grumpy Gardener (Steve Bender) and Chris Tidrick (From the Soil), who don't like 'em either.  Our distaste for raw tomatoes even garnered the attention of Scientific American ("Taster's Choice: Why I Hate Raw Tomatoes and You Don't") and Living Green Magazine, which republished my original article last May ("Please Don't Make Me Eat Them").

But now, just maybe there's a way to make the perfect tomato - maybe one that even I will eat without cooking it.  I doubt it though.  After all, it would still be a tomato, with that slimy, seedy texture that just feels ucky in my mouth. But that's not my point here.  The point is someone has written a book about creating custom vegetables and flowers in your own garden. So if you don't particularly like what you're growing, breed your own!

Requisite photo of Joseph and me in lieu of the video we intended to make,
but we talked too much, and then it was time for Joseph to go.

My mystery guest that came for lunch on Friday was Joseph Tychonievich, whose new book, Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener: How to Create Unique Vegetables and Flowers, was just released on March 7th.  Yes, there were several of you that guessed correctly in the giveaway - more about that in a bit, after I talk about Joseph's book.

I wasn't so sure how I was going to like it when it arrived here about a week ago.  I mean, really.  It's only plant geeks that like this kind of thing, right?  Don't you believe it.  (Okay, so I am a bit of a plant geek, but that's beside the point.) The short story is that I liked it quite a bit and there are some very good reasons that you just may like it too.  For the longer version, you can read my review on Horticulture Magazine's website.

Timber Press, the publisher, has provided a copy of Joseph's book to the winner of my giveaway, and Joseph, who is nursery manager at Arrowhead Alpines in Michigan (read about my visit there last year) threw in a plant for the lucky winner.  That plant will be custom chosen for the winner, depending on where the winner lives.  No use sending a plant that won't be happy in its new home, right?

So, now I suppose you're dying to know who the winner was.  Everyone who made a correct guess (and each person had three chances) got one entry for each correct guess.  I wrote each one on a piece of paper and had my husband, who couldn't care less about any of this, choose a name from the bowl.

 And the winner is...

Congratulations, Gregory!

I will be contacting you so that I can get your mailing address for shipping your prizes to you. And thanks to everyone who played along, including Timber Press, Arrowhead Alpines Nursery, and especially to Joseph, for wanting to stop and visit, and for writing the book in the first place.  Well done, one and all!

I was also provided with a free copy of Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener for possible review.  I was not obligated to do so, however.  All opinions stated here and in my reviews published on the Horticulture website are my own.


Unknown said...

Congratulations to Gregory! I can't wait to get this book--fascinating stuff! (Although I'm an heirloom grower, I still think plant genetics is fascinating. Serious garden geek here.) Thanks for the fun giveaway, Kylee!

Joseph said...

Hey Julie, I do hope you enjoy the book! And I think it is perfect for people who grow heirlooms. One of the possible titles the publisher and I kicked around was "Creating New Heirlooms" because what I think really makes heirloom varieties great is that they were mostly bred by gardeners and small farmers. Growing heirlooms and creating new ones to pass on the future generations go hand-in-hand to me!

RobinL said...

Okay, I do love a homegrown tomato, raw. And I'm never quite satisfied with the varieties that I grow! Sound like the typical home tomato grower?

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