He hopes the varieties he’s bred will be the heirlooms of tomorrow. Two NC companies are making salt a local commodity, The Rev. He actually believes heirloom tomatoes chose him to help keep them remain relevant and available. No gardeners in history have ever had so many tomato varieties to choose from,” Craig says. That taste of tomato was like water to a seed – a catalyst to help a love of gardening grow. The journey is endless, as each season brings joy, disappointment, and lessons. As a child, Craig LeHoullier really disliked tomatoes. Last of the Half Runner Beans coming to The Tomato Shack this morning (Wednesday)...South Carolina Freestone Peaches and North Carolina Heirloom Tomatoes are at their peak, so, come on down to The Shack! The NC Tomato Man! “My grandfather’s tomato kind of captivated my taste buds,” he said. Craig has written two gardening books (“Epic Tomatoes” and “Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales”), with a third forthcoming, on dwarf tomatoes. Dr. LeHoullier, tomato adviser for Seed Savers Exchange, offers everything a tomato enthusiast needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes — from sowing seeds and planting to cultivating and collecting seeds at the end of the season. But when Craig was about 12, his grandfather offered him a tomato he had grown. Richard Joyner is nurturing a healthier community in Edgecombe County, Meherwan Irani of Spicewalla is fairly legendary in food and restaurant circles. Close up of the ‘experimental plant’. He had even started a newsletter about tomato seeds. “The birds drop seed that the squirrels eat, and they can get water from the birdbath,” he advises. “I’m not like many heirloom people who look down on hybrids. I’m kind of a foodie [for tomatoes], like people who enjoy different coffees or teas.”. It’s an odd fact in a love affair that certainly didn’t begin with love at first sight. The far left plant is the one I am growning for NC Tomato Man. Perhaps you also have a local tomato grower in your area like The Tomato Man’s Daughter in Tulsa, Oklahoma. 6,596 Followers, 93 Following, 1,590 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Craig LeHoullier (@nctomatoman) Make Salsa: Chop 1 green onion (both white and green parts) per each diced tomato… She also compiles a list of heirlooms that performed well in her garden the previous year. . TomatoMan® Where science and old world horticulture come together. Make Salsa: Chop 1 green onion (both white and green parts) per each diced tomato… 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. The Sun Gold tops his list of favorites. He saved the seeds and named the tomato the Cherokee Purple. - Page 2 …What heirlooms give you is a tremendous variety of size, color, flavor, shape and nuances of flavor,” LeHoullier said. The Tomato Festival’s grand finale – The Acme Tomato & Wine Dinner. The NC Tomato Man! He may be best known as the man who named the Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato and saved it from extinction. Becoming a guardian of more heirlooms Lots of similar stories have followed since then. He tasted the great flavor too. Problem solved. Now gardeners all across the country know Craig LeHoullier of Raleigh as the NC Tomato Man. Green had gotten the seeds from a friend whose family had acquired them from Cherokees in the area many decades earlier. 07/24/2020 . Photos. "Epic Tomatoes" - by Craig LeHoullier Savor your best tomato harvest ever! Growing tomatoes in the coastal South is always a gamble. Seed Starting w/ NC Tomato Man. “I’m happy to be an ambassador for tomatoes. LeHoullier didn’t plant his own garden until years later though – shortly after he married his wife when he was earning his PhD in chemistry at Dartmouth College. Within reason, of course. To keep deer from devouring his garden, Craig uses two water scarecrows. Filter by sub-region or select one of u-pick fruits, vegetables, berries. Craig Lehoullier - Saturday, April 29 at 10am. He speaks at gardening shows and events, but don’t expect formal lectures. The North Carolina Collection preserves and makes available the historical record of the city and county of Durham. Those seeds provide the family members with a connection to their previous generations. 39 were here. So McCormack offered the tomatoes as Cherokee Purple in his 1993 seed catalogue, making it available to the general public for the first time. No gardeners in history have ever had so many tomato varieties to choose from,” Craig says. Gardening, for me, is a lifelong passion. Submit Photos . “Enjoy the journey, and don’t get hung up on growing the perfect tomato [or particular varieties].”, Craig suggests gardeners pick 10 varieties of tomatoes to grow. “Animals can smell when tomatoes are ripe and won’t eat them until then,” he explains. When he and his wife moved to Hendersonville in January, they had about 25 boxes of tomato seeds. Visit craiglehoullier.com for his schedule and to read his gardening blog. LeHoullier grew more tomatoes from those seeds, saved the new seeds and shared them with the Victory Seeds catalogue to sell to the public. The company's filing status is listed as Current-Active and its File Number is 1272799. “I’m happy to be an ambassador for tomatoes. “I’m still doing it because going to look at the garden in the morning still gets me out of bed. …but he never even ate a tomato until he was a teenager. 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. Much success in growing tomatoes can be attributed to use of a few proven techniques. They offer an incredible diversity of subtle nuances in taste. Now that man orders those tomato seeds, named Cancelmo Family Heirloom, each year and sends them to his extended family at Christmas. Here’s how, from NC Tomato Man Craig LeHoullier, who also wrote a book on straw-bale gardening.) This Monday, July 17 th. He got a few heirloom tomatoes and was hooked. Craig Lehoullier - Saturday, April 29 at 1pm. The North Carolina “Tomato Man,” Craig LeHoullier, will be speaking at the Ball Visitor Center at the Sandhills Community College Horticultural Gardens, at 1 p.m. Friday, March 29. Naming the Cherokee Purple By 1990, he was gardening in Pennsylvania, prior to his move to Raleigh, working for Smith Kline Beecham (which later merged with another company to become Glaxo Smith Kline). Their motion sensors shoot out bursts of water to scare the animals away. And, yes, he’s great and fun and happy to answer all your tomato queries. Most of the ones he’s worked on with an Australian friend, and their team of more than 700 amateur volunteers from across the world, are dwarf varieties aimed at being more manageable for people growing tomatoes in smaller spaces. Tomato varieties that produce medium size fruit are generally easier to grow in the south than extra large beefsteak types. “We’d call them our annual tomato friends.”. The green beans are on pots below the porch. “This is the tomato’s time. Joining Seed Savers in 1986 (seedsavers.org) took Craig beyond basic gardening. An Evening with Craig LeHoullier, The NC Tomato Man. These are the plants on the front porch. Dr. LeHoullier has been growing tomatoes and other heirloom vegetables for decades. LeHoullier has a new book, "Epic Tomatoes." “I share, they share, and I learn from them.”. Craig gives several gardening talks in NC each year. Victory Seed Company has committed to selling all the varieties from the project. NC State Extension is the largest outreach program at NC State University. ... man we had arrived Yes we fell from grace at Cora’s Place “In 1990, John Green and I were the only people who knew that tomato existed. The Registered Agent on file for this company is Lamb, Alan J. and is located at 3570 Chimney Rock Road, Hendersonville, NC 28792. “Also, you can’t be a seed saver and share with hybrids.”. Raleigh's Craig LeHoullier, aka NC Tomato Man, shows how to make stoplight salsa. He has a website too where he shares the joys of his gardening passion. Although my expertise is in heirloom tomatoes, I love to grow everything - vegetables, flowers, and herbs, in as many ways as possible. Created on February 28, 2010 using FlipShare.- follow my blog at - http://nctomatoman.weebly.com/nctomato-and-garden-blog.html I’m kind of a foodie [for tomatoes], like people who enjoy different coffees or teas. Although he thought the tomato was ugly, it was delicious and unique. And in the Midlands of South Carolina, he's known as the Tomato Man. Those are green beans behind the tomato plants. The afternoon tomato tastings and how may adjectives can we come up with to describe tomato flavors. Throughout the summer you play the odds against insects, diseases, heat, or drought ruining your crop. “I don’t tell people what to do, I show them what I do, and then they blend in my practices with theirs.”. …but he never even ate a tomato until he was a teenager. 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. “My grandfather and father cared enough about me to show me how to garden, so what I’m doing is just a way to pay it forward,” LeHoullier said. He grows about 150 to 200 varieties of tomatoes each year, plus eggplants, peppers and other vegetables. “It’s just a wonderful opportunity to help people. Craig met his wife, Sue, now a retired nurse, while he was earning his doctorate in chemistry at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. He now has about 50,000 to 60,000 seed packets, vials or envelopes, plus every letter sent to him along with the seeds. While he’s sent seeds from each variety to Victory Seeds, he’s also kept seeds from every variety. “Tomatoes are approaching roses in terms of getting them to succeed everywhere,” he says, “but every disease, [type of] weather, humidity and critter seems to affect tomatoes.”, Because not all tomato varieties will thrive everywhere, he always advises gardeners to have an open mind. Since returning home, I've been clearing out the garden - all tomatoes are gone. Breeding new tomatoes In addition to his work to preserve heirloom tomato varieties, LeHoullier has also been working since about 2005 to breed new tomato varieties. Sudden changes in soil moisture can cause concentric cracks to form around the top of tomato fruits. Being married to Craig, my best friend and affectionately know as NC Tomato Man, has its advantages: 1. He turned the driveway of his house in Raleigh into his open-air nursery where he’s grown hundreds of tomato seedlings each year. Choosing a variety that has proven to be a true performer should be at the top of every gardener's list. Living with a man … Please join us at my new website www.craiglehoullier.com See you there! Every year, Lisa Merrell saves seed from her tomatoes and sells plants of open-pollinated varieties of tomatoes and peppers. Better Boy, Whopper, Celebrity, and Mountain Pride are among some of the best selections. That much sampling has taught him that there is no correlation between a tomato’s taste and color. Some of the gardening magazines he read had seed shares and ads for seed saver exchanges. I look forward to some tomato talk, perhaps a bit of looking back, as well as looking ahead. John Green in Sevierville, Tennessee, apparently caught wind of LeHoullier because he sent LeHoullier seeds from an unusual tomato variety without a name. Class #2 - We’re excited to welcome back Dr. Craig LeHoullier, the NC Tomato Man! I always know where he is. Craig Lehoullier, a retired scientist living in Raleigh, is North Carolina's Tomato Man. Buy Photo. NC's Tomato Man. 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. Many people also may recognize LeHoullier from the many years he spent selling heirloom tomato seedlings at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh. There’s always something new to see and something new to share,” LeHoullier said. “We ended up making friends for life from our plant sales,” LeHoullier said. Craig estimates that over the years he has tasted about 4,000 different types of tomatoes. Dr. LeHoullier has been growing tomatoes and other heirloom vegetables for decades. He was still participating in the heirloom seed exchanges such as Seed Savers Exchange. Still, he loves working with heirlooms, and he loves sharing what he’s learned with others. Pretty plants but no beans. Tags: vegetables, fruit, garden, gardening * * * * It's time to start planning your summer garden! North Carolina’s “Tomato Man” makes a mark saving and sharing heirloom tomatoes By Brandon Herring on July 16, 2020 Many North Carolinians may know Craig LeHoullier simply as “the Tomato Man” or maybe “the North Carolina Tomato Man” if they’re being specific. NC Tomato Man, Craig LeHoullier Getting Dirty in Your Garden Extension Master Gardener Radio Show and Podcast Tune in for expert advise on selecting and growing tomatoes in North Carolina. That was 1981, and he didn’t start dabbling in heirloom tomatoes until 1986. Ongoing work While it may seem like blasphemy, his favorite tomato variety is actually a hybrid though. “This is the tomato’s time. Friday July 28th 7-9pm Seeds on 36th: Urban Farm Store. Video by Andrea Weigl, [email protected] We’re excited to welcome back Dr. Craig LeHoullier, the NC Tomato Man! 9. 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 . His seedlings and books will be available for sale. Otherwise, many of those old tomato varieties may have been lost forever when no one decided to grow them anymore or pass down their seeds. You'll find a wealth of materials to assist with researching North Carolina-related topics as well as several online exhibits. “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.”. Craig LeHoullier has far-reaching influence in the world of tomatoes. “It has all felt like a natural progression and felt like the right thing that I should be doing.”, © 2015, N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For squirrels he recommends installing bird feeders and a birdbath. ... Durham County Library Hosts NC Tomato Man and Author Craig LeHoullier. He’s also become a sought-after speaker about gardening, and he’s written two books titled Epic Tomatoes and Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales (both from Storey Publishing). His work for pharmaceutical corporations took them first to Philadelphia, then to Charlotte. The early and long heat wave effected the green beans. But that's mostly because of SPLAT (South Carolina Piedmont Lycopersicum Annual Tasting), aka the big tomato-tasting party that Winn and his wife, Karen, host every July in his 3-acre garden in Little Mountain, South Carolina. He’s become known internationally for resurrecting thousands of varieties of heirloom tomato seeds and making them available for others to grow. Taken 7/10/19. His garden grows entirely in containers or straw bales. Craig LeHoullier shares his advice for four easy tomato preparations to enjoy now and later. North Carolina’s range of climate affects how different varieties will grow. Margaret Buranen writes from her home in Kentucky. “I like to go out and have a conversation with fellow gardeners,” he explains. The NC Tomato Man, Craig LeHoullier, shares history, tips and interesting facts. The coastal storm led to a mandatory evacuation from Ocracoke last Friday, so we missed out on week 2 (and part of week 1, to tell the truth). They offer an incredible diversity of subtle nuances in taste. He admits he assumed tomatoes must be “horrendous” until he eventually tried one from his grandfather’s garden. “Heirlooms never pretend to be the type of tomato that you can ship off to a market and sit there and be pretty and be good enough to eat a week from now. He developed an interest in finding rare varieties of plants and keeping them from becoming extinct. He then sent the seeds to his friend Jeff McCormack, owner of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in Charlottesville, Va. “This is the tomato’s time. “I think it’s a great tribute to these people’s families that people can read the stories of these great varieties,” LeHoullier said. He started releasing the new varieties around 2010, and currently 123 different varieties have resulted from the Dwarf Tomato Project. But it felt like the right time to start anew. All tomatoes grown in North Carolina are grown for fresh market and the majority of the industry utilizes the plasticulture system with raised beds covered with plastic, drip irrigation, fumigation of soils and the string-weave culture system. There’s a variety out there for everyone,” LeHoullier said. Pick your own (u-pick) tomatoes farms, patches and orchards in North Carolina, NC. A love rooted in gardening His fame in the tomato world may seem a far cry from the kid who had never tried a tomato, but the truth is, a love of gardening was planted in him at an early age. . Join the North Carolina Tomato Man —author of the books Epic Tomatoes and Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales; co-organizer of Tomatopalooza, an heirloom-tomato tasting event; and cofounder of an international tomato breeding project—as he shares his love of heirloom tomatoes, great stories of special varieties, and tips on succeeding in our challenging climate. “Frost cloth covering the plants will prevent the rabbits from eating them.”. It just took several years for that love to grow and eventually bloom. Many North Carolinians may know Craig LeHoullier simply as “the Tomato Man” or maybe “the North Carolina Tomato Man” if they’re being specific. 3. Their purpose was to allow people to share seeds they had from rare heirloom tomato varieties. Now gardeners all across the country know Craig LeHoullier of Raleigh as the NC Tomato Man. Check out the new book from our good friend . Craig LeHoullier shares his advice for four easy tomato preparations to enjoy now and later. For example, plants of a longer maturing variety may take 70 to 80 days to produce tomatoes in Raleigh, but need 80 to 90 days in Asheville. « Today’s Topic: New program aims to increase meat processing capacity in the state. You can load the map to see all places where to pick tomatoes in North Carolina, NC for a better overview and navigation. Another trick is to pick tomatoes when they are only half-ripe and let them ripen inside. Tomato Man Inc is a North Carolina Business Corporation filed on September 1, 2012. 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. I don’t take the responsibility lightly, and I’m in a great position to help people,” LeHoullier said. For many years, he sold the seedlings at the State Farmers Market, and he gave away many of them also. Craig has written two gardening books (“ Epic Tomatoes ” and “ Growing Vegetables in Straw Bales ”), with a third forthcoming, on dwarf tomatoes. That tomato was the seed that grew into a lifelong interest in growing tomatoes and sharing them with other people. And, yes, Craig is the man who discovered the famed Cherokee Purple tomato that is sold in farmers’ markets nationwide. That love affair has brought LeHoullier to what he describes as a sort of calling – a purpose in life, or at least a passion. 2. LeHoullier grew tomatoes from the seeds and saw for himself the unusual purple tone that Green said the tomatoes had. 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. 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