Saturday, March 10, 2007


Ya mon, there’s nothing like homegrown. I speak of tomatoes, cucumbers and the like, of course. But there was that friend’s dad in High School with six foot plants in his Brooklyn apartment, but let’s not stray from the path…..

Nothing breaks the gloom and forsaken dank of a cold March like seeing seedlings sprouting. They have no doubt that summer is coming even when your rational mind gives way to an uneasy suspicion that winter will linger without end.

Homegrown crops are far superior to what you can get at even the best farmers markets in Westchester (and the Community Markets are very good). And, yes, homegrown takes the store bought stuff by its scruffy limp neck and shakes it out all across town. So don’t buy veg in the stores after June and before Thanksgiving, it’s just not right. But why better than the farmers market? you ask.

First, variety – there is no limit to the obscure deliciousness you can grow in your own backyard. As previously reported, the Seed Savers exchange lists 1,518 different types of tomatoes available for growing (and that does not include the inferior hybrids such as Big Boy and its ilk). Have you ever eaten a Sudduth’s Strain Brandywine tomato? Do. Because these fist-sized pink fruits have a sweet tomato flavor that deepens as you indulge in the meaty flesh. An unctuousness that is incomparable. It’s the “ugly ripes” from the super market times twelve. Sudduth, by the way, is the family that kept this variety in existence for over one hundred years. They may be old, they may be odd shaped, but the eating is good!

Second freshness – even if you get the crop that was just picked by the farmers there still is not the same moment of perfection that can be achieved on a micro-scale in your own yard.

Third, sweat of the brow – if you work for it you’re just going to enjoy it more. Think of your kids. Almost. But growing a plant from seed (or seedling), watching it mature, flower and ultimately bear fruit makes one enjoy the produce more.

So git out there and grow some. If you can’t or don’t want to try growing from seed a terrific source for great heirloom variety seedlings (from tomatoes to leeks to melons) is Silver Heights farm in Jeffersonville – they have a stand at the Union Square Farmers Market in NYC. Here are some great places to get seeds for the most green thumbed readers and those who aspire to be such:

Seed Savers

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