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He grows about 150 to 200 varieties of tomatoes each year, plus eggplants, peppers and other vegetables. “This is the tomato’s time. He was still participating in the heirloom seed exchanges such as Seed Savers Exchange. I always know where he is. His seedlings and books will be available for sale. Those are green beans behind the tomato plants. They offer an incredible diversity of subtle nuances in taste. The NC Tomato Man, Craig LeHoullier, shares history, tips and interesting facts. She also compiles a list of heirlooms that performed well in her garden the previous year. For many years, he sold the seedlings at the State Farmers Market, and he gave away many of them also. Over the past 30 years, LeHoullier has received many, many more heirloom varieties seeds, and he feels like he’s become a guardian of those seeds. Based in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we reach millions of North Carolina citizens each year through local centers in the state's 100 counties and with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. …but he never even ate a tomato until he was a teenager. The Registered Agent on file for this company is Lamb, Alan J. and is located at 3570 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville, NC 28792. Perhaps you also have a local tomato grower in your area like The Tomato Man’s Daughter in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Every year, Lisa Merrell saves seed from her tomatoes and sells plants of open-pollinated varieties of tomatoes and peppers. He developed an interest in finding rare varieties of plants and keeping them from becoming extinct. But it felt like the right time to start anew. “I don’t tell people what to do, I show them what I do, and then they blend in my practices with theirs.”. “Also, you can’t be a seed saver and share with hybrids.”. John Green in Sevierville, Tennessee, apparently caught wind of LeHoullier because he sent LeHoullier seeds from an unusual tomato variety without a name. The green beans are on pots below the porch. If you are worried about late blight specifically, the hygiene regimen also includes discarding any potato tubers missed at fall harvest, and these other steps . …What heirlooms give you is a tremendous variety of size, color, flavor, shape and nuances of flavor,” LeHoullier said. To keep deer from devouring his garden, Craig uses two water scarecrows. “This is the tomato’s time. Seed Starting w/ NC Tomato Man. Craig LeHoullier shares his advice for four easy tomato preparations to enjoy now and later. “The birds drop seed that the squirrels eat, and they can get water from the birdbath,” he advises. Soil temperatures have warmed into the 60’s and there is little chance we will see another frost this spring in central North Carolina, which means it is time to plant warm season crops. “We’d call them our annual tomato friends.”. Sudden changes in soil moisture can cause concentric cracks to form around the top of tomato fruits. One man sent LeHoullier seeds that his grandmother brought from Italy in 1917. He tasted the great flavor too. NC State Extension is the largest outreach program at NC State University. That tomato was the seed that grew into a lifelong interest in growing tomatoes and sharing them with other people. Victory Seed Company has committed to selling all the varieties from the project. Richard Joyner is nurturing a healthier community in Edgecombe County, Meherwan Irani of Spicewalla is fairly legendary in food and restaurant circles. Joining Seed Savers in 1986 (seedsavers.org) took Craig beyond basic gardening. The afternoon tomato tastings and how may adjectives can we come up with to describe tomato flavors. Within reason, of course. “Five or six [of those] won’t do well, but three or four will be outstanding.”, For NC gardens he recommends: “Cherokee Purple” (which he had the honor of naming), “Red Brandywine” and “Andrew Rahart’s Jumbo Red”; hybrids “Sun Gold,” “Big Beef” and “Lemon Boy”; and dwarf varieties “Sweet Sue” and “Blazing Beauty.”. Visit craiglehoullier.com for his schedule and to read his gardening blog. Class #2 - We’re excited to welcome back Dr. Craig LeHoullier, the NC Tomato Man! Some of LeHoullier’s earliest memories are of walking through his grandfather’s garden with him, and he has early memories of his father’s garden too. ... Durham County Library Hosts NC Tomato Man and Author Craig LeHoullier. Dr. LeHoullier has been growing tomatoes and other heirloom vegetables for decades. How lucky would you have to be to know the right people to get it out there?” LeHoullier said, commenting on how fateful it was that Green sent the seeds to him. Two NC companies are making salt a local commodity, The Rev. Green had gotten the seeds from a friend whose family had acquired them from Cherokees in the area many decades earlier. The NC Tomato Man, as he is sometimes called, has trialed more than 2,000 different tomato varieties and introduced more than 100 to the trade, and he even named the popular and distinctive ‘Cherokee Purple,’ in 1990. TomatoMan® Where science and old world horticulture come together. Choosing a variety that has proven to be a true performer should be at the top of every gardener's list. Buy Photo. He may be best known as the man who named the Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato and saved it from extinction. He then sent the seeds to his friend Jeff McCormack, owner of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in Charlottesville, Va. 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