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Preacher Fred of the Church of the Heirloom Tomato - from Public Radio Kitchen blog

http://publicradiokitchen.org/2009/06/24/for-this-preacher-tomatoes...

An excerpt, below:

...In a cluttered front yard tableau that might be called American primitive, or uncontemporary casual, (in which Fred demonstrates his priority is growing, not prettifying), you can find a hundred and eighty varieties of genuine heirlooms. Let’s see, Fred’s got sungold, Brandywine, Yellow Brandywine, Black Brandywine, Omar’s Lebanese, Anna Russian, pink accordion (yes, it’s pleated!), fox cherry, Charlie Pineapple, Mortgage Lifter, pony express, Tiffin Mennonite, green zebra, tigerella…you get the picture.

Fred will tell praise each variety and tell you it’s the best he’s ever eaten. How he can tell you something like that when it can’t logically be true is apparently a mystery of faith. But Preacher Fred’s on to the greater truth.

And the truth will set you free. Because what you can trust about heirlooms is that they were chosen for something other than their ability to be clutched by mechanical hands or dropped several feet without apparent damage or share 3500 miles and countless rest area road stops with a cross-country trucker without losing their innocence as the sweetest new things in the neighborhood (but then again, agribusiness tomatoes were born in original sin).

Heirlooms were chosen for taste alone. And though they won’t perform as well as trained seals, some will bleed if you look at them sideways, and they may have you reading Ecclesiastes for consolation, on the day their ripening when you pick them and send them juicily to meet their maker, they taste great. These heirlooms were the ones whose seeds were saved by Great, Great Grandpa, who planted them again. And those seeds beget tomatoes that begat more seeds that beget more…you can see the line of Preacher Fred’s story here....

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