Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Uncommon Tomato Sale

(L to R) Greg Powell, Candid Wines, Martha and Charlie Barra, Barra of Mendocino

Close to 150 more heirloom tomato plants found their ways into the hands of Chicago area gardeners, chefs, and community garden organizers at our Uncommon Plant sale on Friday, June 5th. Special guest Farmers Charlie and Martha Barra joined us to offer insights and experience, and $400 was raised for Slow Food.

We had a few plants that remained unsold at the end of the night, and they were donated to a community garden group on the North side, to the gardeners at Uncommon Ground's rooftop garden on Devon, and finally to a few local friends who were willing to trade smoked brisket and good wine for a plant or two.

Now that the plants are sold, the real work begins. As your tomatoes grow, please send questions, comments and pics. We'd love to share the experience of growing tomatoes across Chicagoland, and we look forward to tasting the fruit of your labor at TomatoFest at The Honey Coop in September.

All of the pictures in this post come from Mr BrownThumb. Before our first sale this year, I had never met Mr. BrownThumb, but his blogs, his advice, and his photos have rapidly become an important part of Tomato Fest. Check out his good work at the link posted above.
Stay tuned! The best is truly yet to come. We are planning for our Heirloom BLT fest in August at Chicago's best restaurants, as well as TomatoFest itself.


  1. I made it to the sale and bought 5 varities which are now planted (I've got a total of 17 tomato plants) in my newly expanded kitchen garden. Plus, MBT introduced me to some pretty cool people at UG and I had a chance to tour their great rooftop garden with Natalie. Very impressive!

    I have to say that the ones I purchased from you guys looked way better than the ones we grew for our own tomato plant sale last month. I'll be comparing them side-by-side with a few other Heirlooms that I picked up from my neighborhood Jewel grocery.

    Question: How do you want us to share information about how our plants are doing etc? I do plan to blog about it on my garden blog do you want pictures sent directly to you or just links to our blogs or what?

  2. Gina -

    Glad you had room for so many! Can't wait to hear the results of your comparative tests as the season goes on. Our plants really benefited from our three years of experience with the starts. We did a much better job of hardening them off this year than last, and they received a good number of waterings with homemade compost tea, which of course is the original superfood.

    Good question on the sharing piece. Please do share links - cross promotion is a great thing. I can copy and paste pics from your site as they come up, and for non-bloggers, I'll post pics directly.

    I am particularly interested in talking about companion planting and pruning - two areas in which I have some experience but want more.

    Thanks for your enthusiasm!


  3. http://web.me.com/briandn/Photos/Heirloom_Tomatoes.html#grid