Saturday, July 10, 2010

The $64 Tomato Book Review

For a second or two, I had a Dan Quayle moment with the spelling of Tomato (potatoe).

This book was written by William Alexander and published by Algonquin books in 2006. It's a big hit and there are numerous websites devoted to reviews and expounding his ideas of home gardening.

Here is a link to the author's website and you can wander from there.

As the title suggests, this guy built and established a garden in his yard out East (moved out of Yonkers and went somewhere North up the Hudson where I want to move today honey), and after all of the digging, fertilizing, planting, supporting, protecting, reaping, etc., he calculated the cost of his tomatoes at $64 each --which is not the point. The point is that this man launched his family into home gardening and house resurrection. And not just a side of the yard garden with a few veggies and a flower pot. He grows fruit trees, ROWS of veggies: underground, terraced, hamocked, caged, etc.

He had to re-grade the plot (about 75 feet long), plan the planting map and cycle chronology, and learn how to grow organically and pesticide free -which helped him learn why veggies in the store look so beautiful. THEY AREN'T REAL! BURN IT BURN IT KILL IT WITH ACID!!!! Tree-huggers scream at farmers for using pesticides and hormones, but the consumers scream for perfect fruits and veggies, which are impossible to produce in quantity without using chemicals. This happens at all levels beyond the backyard family farmer, so the next time you go to a farmers market, believe me when I say the 'cover shot' fruits and veggies were grown in the Matrix. Pesticide-free fruits and veggies have blemishes.

Alexander is a terrific writer, he.....

Hey!! Little sideline: We watch a crapload of Curious George in our house (HJG watches while mom and dad bring him popsicles and beg him to take a nap), and The Man with the Yellow Hat just finished a marathon. Yellow shorts and sleeveless (cotton!!) shirt, I'm almost certain Chuck Taylors (minimalist!! I knew it!!) and his YELLOW HAT!! He came in 17th overall and received an Apollo trophy--not bad bling though I doubt the same trophy was given for the blogger who came in 11,703/14,112. And I heard they ran out of ice cream sandwiches-- Of course! My wife said that he has participated in other races in other episodes. I will research this further and get back to you.

Alexander write smoothly and is funny. If you are at all interested in following a family that moves into a destroyed house and spends lots of money and time and effort building the house back up and building a formidable garden, then you will enjoy this book. I will be reading his book about bread making called 52 Loaves and will review here.

"Enter to Win @Spibelt Giveaway over at #giveaways @erica_h


RunningLaur said...

npr has done a few interviews with him on that 52 loaves thing. I bet listening to the 7 minute spot would save you like 5 hours of reading :)

Anonymous said...

Didn't realize the real cost of produce could be that high! Our kids' veggie garden is growing but no food yet. :(

gene said...

i pine for a garden. i fear, though, that the daycare kids would trample it. we gardened when i was growing up. it was awesome. raised goats, too. good fertilizer. i am looking for a new book to read, and may just have found it! thanks! any new pictures of your porno garden (in reference to the squash.....)??

Molly said...

it's funny how the worse produce looks, the better it is for you.

Have you seen the Curious George movie? Love it for the sound track alone!

Adam said...

WOW. See, this is exactly why I only eat cheetos and pop tarts. I know how much they are costing me.