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Shiny, red, and guaranteed to please the ladies.  Yes, I turned 40 last year but no I didn’t buy a car.  I planted heirloom tomatoes.    And I am hooked.  I just bought this book.

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It has incredibly detailed flavor profiles, growing tips, seed sources, and recipes for hundreds of heirloom varieties.  The photographs are beautiful and the mini-histories are very entertaining:

Early members of Seed Savers Exchange worked themselves into a frenzy trying to find a Pruden’s Purple–one “so purple it looked black, about the color of the Black Beauty eggplant,”  fantasized Milan Rafayako of New Haven Kentucky in the 1981 yearbook.  Alas, such a creature never materialized.  Rare cultivated tomatoes, it turns out, don’t normally contain the purple pigment anthocyanin–although some of their wild relatives do.

If my calculations are correct, for the Chicago climate I need to germinate seeds in late April, transplant in late May, and pray that I have ripe tomatoes before I leave for San Diego in August.  But if things go like last year, that last week I will be making heavy use of the recipe (page 221) for Fried Green Tomatoes.

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