Tuesday, November 15, 2011

day 2 - Mortgage Lifter VFN Tomato

The last twenty-four hours were kind of crazy and tiring so I am posting some four day old art, but don't worry. Tomatoes will stay good for more than four days, especially if you put them in a drawing pad and put that in a backpack. So these ones are still quite fresh: Mortgage Lifter VFN Tomatoes

These were done in spurts while watching my nieces with my mom and Juneau, my partner, on the same day I went to visit Catalpa Farm in Columbia City, Indiana where a woman named Soni raises a few heritage variety chickens for both eggs and meat. She was a well spoken, friendly, informative and kind woman, and her chickens were healthy and free to forage, but more on that all another day when I am ready with a chicken portrait... As for the mortgage lifters, they were done on bristol board with watercolor and colored pencil as always. The days before I was looking at other people's art on etsy and saw someone else who has done a number of tomatos, which I liked. They were looser and lighter than mine normally are and I think his tomatoes were in my head when I was working on these. I consider it a good influence. You can see his tomatos here if you want: http://www.etsy.com/shop/bobbyjoefontenot?section_id=6932799

And now some fun facts from the SESE catalog:
This tomato is an improved version of the original Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter. It has added disease resistance and more uniform fruit, ripening to red rather than pink-red. But the Radiator Charlie's story is good so it must be told. Fromt he catalog: "Developed by M.C. Byles in the 1930s and released to SESE in 1985. A legendary tomato always in demand in the Mid-Atlantic states. The following history is based on portions of our 1985 taped interview with M.C. Byles who developed this tomato in the early 1930's while in Logan, WV. Mr. Byles is affectionately known as "Radiator Charlie". He earned that nickname from the radiator repair business he opened at the foot of a steep hill on which trucks would often overheat. Radiator Charlie had no formal education or plant breeding experience, yet he created this legendary tomato by cross-breeding four of the largest-fruited tomatoes he could find: 'German Johnson', 'Beefsteak', an Italian variety, and an English variety. One of the four varieties was planted in the middle of a circle. Then, using a baby's ear syringe, he cross-pollinated the center plant with pollen from the circle of tomatoes. Next year he selected the best seedlings: he planted the best seedlings in the center and the rest in a circle around it. The pollination and selection process was repeated six more years until he had a stable variety. After Charlie developed and named this large tasty tomato, he sold plants for $1.00 each (in the 1940's) and paid off the $6000 mortgage on his house in 6 years. Each spring, gardeners drove as far as 200 miles to buy Charlie's seedling tomatoes."

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