Monday, February 21, 2011

The $64 Tomato

I finally read the $64 Tomato by William Alexander.  My daughter gave it to me several years ago. 

It’s a delightful read, full of funny stories about the author’s vegetable gardening adventures.  He has struggles with deer and other critters, diseases, pollination, watering.  But the wonderful tasting food is the star of the book.   

A few memorable parts I found include:

Ø      His wife introduces newspaper and grass clippings for mulch in their vegetable garden.  Smart woman.  He discounts this technique due to the unsightliness as the newspaper breaks down the following year.  He prefers the bare dirt, which greatly amplifies the need for weeding.  Later in the book he discusses his frustration that his wife chooses to deadhead her flower garden rather than weed the vegetables. 

Ø      He is bothered by deer and makes the case for the government to rethink its management of the critters.  He says nationwide there are 1.5 million deer car crashes resulting in 1.1 billion in vehicle damage 161 deaths.  Also they inflict 76 million in commercial crop damage.  Why does our government (why do we) put up with this?

Ø      He tells the story of his dad using plastic bags on ripening apples to prevent the apple maggots.  One year the bags had writing on them, and the words transferred to the apple by blocking the light.  His dad then started a tradition of creating personalized apples.   This sounds like an interesting project. 

His calculations that price his heirloom tomatoes at $64 each include one time costs and a year of lousy tomato production.  But it’s a catchy title that provides some food for thought.  Why do we do this?

My other book recommendations can be found here. 


  1. Sounds delightful. Considering I recently had to swerve out of the way of a deer in the middle of the road and almost died in the process [not really] I can vouch for the deer problems. But I think the government has enough to do spending our hard-earned dollars. :)

  2. Sounds like a great read. Think I'll get it for hubby.