These fruits and vegetables are not being grown at University, in a Botanical Garden by Master Gardeners for scientists. This is food, being grown for food, by people like you and me. To preserve food because it tastes good! I love that.
When I found out about Slow Food I felt like I had reconnected with an old friend. It was akin to when I was in the third grade and I found out that we needed to save the pandas. I knocked on every door USNB Beeville, TX. Those pandas were not going to save themselves. I raised $112.67, but it was 1977 so that was like 9 million dollars then, right? Now the panda has a fighting chance. Because of me and the Navy Base in Beeville, TX.
Fast-forward 30 something years. I’m researching heirloom tomatoes. I decided that I want to grow the oldest varieties I can find. I get the sense that if I can taste what they tasted I can have at least one connection to those Pennsylvania Dutch people that toiled on the land before me. I want to see what they saw when they went to their gardens. I want to taste what they tasted.
In the middle of this research I found it! The Ark of Taste! Exactly what I’ve been looking for and more, so much more! Somebody had already done the work of compiling a list of plants that are near or in danger of extinction and they’ll tell you how you can get yours.
I poured over the list. I wanted to get every thing on it. It didn’t take long to realize this is not realistic. For one thing, more than half of it is grains or animals. I don’t have the space for a field of wheat. I don’t have the desire to grow barley for beer or rye for whiskey. I can, however, choose a couple of the chickens on the list to add to the girls. If the opportunity arises, I can choose a couple of the trees from the list to add to the fruit trees I’m already growing.
Something else that amazed me, before I knew anything about the list or the Slow Food Movement, I had already chosen, purchased and started eleven of the varieties listed. I thought I might have gotten one or two, but eleven? I was a little amazed.
I was also quite surprised to find some of the varieties that are on this list are considered in danger of disappearing. Every gardener I know personally grows Amish Paste and Suduth Brandywine tomatoes. How could they be in danger? My 14 year old son put me back in my place as I was rambling on about this, he just said it bluntly, “Mom, you know about 12 gardeners personally and four of those are family, and you give them their seeds and seedlings You think that’s enough to save an entire species?” Remind me to spank that kid.
Now that I have the list, I’m on a mission. In ten years I want to have at least four plants of each of the tomatoes, lettuce, squash and peppers. I want at least four of the trees and two of the chickens (or other poultry). I think that this will be possible for me, I already grow over twenty varieties of tomatoes, I’ll just change out some of the newer varieties for some on the list. The other stuff I’ll just gradually incorporate. I’ll be diligent about saving and cataloging seeds. And I’ll tell everyone that will listen, and a few that don’t want to listen, that they should do the same.
So, I’m knocking on your door. You already like to garden, you’re already going to be growing loads of stuff. Why not grow something that is in danger of disappearing? Let’s do it for the taste!
I may only collect $112.67, but pandas are now listed as in danger with populations increasing, it’s a step in the right direction. This week I’m going to break the list in to sections that I hope will be easier to digest. Of course I’ve linked the Ark of Taste site about a gazillion times as well if you want to just get the whole thing for yourself, and I hope you will. After you do, tell a friend. Tell all of your friends! And while you’re at it, tell them to tell their friends.
Today I’m giving the tomato list. How many are you already growing? Do you see any you’re surprised about? Will you add any now that you know they are in danger? I would really love some feedback on this. Do you think it is worthwhile?
Ark of Taste Tomato List
- Amish Paste Tomato
- Aunt Ruby’s German Green
- Burbank Tomato
- Chalk’s Early Jewel
- Cherokee Purple
- Djena Lee’s Golden Girl
- German Pink
- Livingston’s Globe
- Livingston’s Golden Queen
- New Mexico Native Tomatillo
- Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter
- Red fig
- Sudduth Strain Brandywine
I have to get in the garden before the rain starts. I hope I’ve given you something to think about. I have to go spank Jonathan as well. = )
Have an Ark of Taste paisley day!~KeriAnne