- The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table by Amy Goldman is a book that I could happily spend the rest of winter leafing through. The photography by Victor Schrager is absolutely breathtaking, perfectly capturing the beauty of heirloom tomatoes. Goldman not only covers how to grow and save seed from heirlooms, but provides detailed accounts of 100 gorgeous heirlooms. And, as if that weren't enough, the last portion of the book is dedicated to recipes featuring heirloom tomatoes.
- 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden by Dr. Carolyn Male is, like the Goldman book, a wonderful collection of descriptions of heirloom tomatoes. What I particularly liked about 100 Heirloom Tomatoes was the fact that Male classifies the tomatoes according to how they originated, classifying them as "family," "created," "commercial," or "mystery." Since I have a certain affinity for those tomatoes that families preserved over generations, I found this method of categorization very useful. For more on this book, you can also read About Gardening guide Marie Iannotti's review of the book.
- Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer by Tim Stark is not by any means a book about how to grow heirlooms. There are no pretty pictures. Instead, what this book offers is the story of a freelance writer who, to his surprise, ends up becoming an heirloom tomato farmer. Stark shares the good and the bad in the life of a tomato farmer. Who wouldn't love to have some of New York City's top chefs clamoring after your produce, and what would it feel like to taste one of their creations, featuring your very own tomatoes? But its not all fancy restaurants and time spent in the sunshine. Stark also shares the challenges faced by every small farmer: years with too little rain, or too much rain; the difficulty in finding employees who are as dedicated as you are; and the long hours put in to bring in a harvest. Despite all of this, I closed this book longing to become an heirloom tomato farmer myself.
I hope some of these books help get you through the winter, with renewed interest in growing your own food. Tomatoes are a very good place to start!
I hope you all have a very happy, safe New Year's!