Growing tomatoes can be a simple recreation... or a consuming passion. For Steven Shepherd cultivating tomatoes is a metaphor for nurturing life's larger bounty. This is a diary of his year growing tomatoes, from reading seed catalogs in December until the final tomato is eaten in October. November is spent thinking about next year. Along the way the reader learns the history of tomatoes, tips on growing them, some recipes for eating, and even some poems about tomatoes.
This is the time of year when delicious fruits and vegetables fill the homegrown gardens and bins at farmers' markets. An abundance of heirloom tomatoes, sweet corn and sweeter peaches make August the right time to practice the very rewarding work of preserving.
When you are growing up, there are two institutional places that affect you most powerfully -- the church, which belongs to God, and the public library, which belongs to you. The public library is a great equalizer.