The $64 Tomato

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The $64 Tomato

Postby Jenise » Mon May 01, 2006 6:39 pm

I heard this delightful piece on NPR this morning, and wanted to enjoy it again. Here's a link to the text version for anyone interested in reading about one man's attempt to put a price on the cost of growing his own food.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5360768
Last edited by Jenise on Mon May 01, 2006 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: The $64 Tomato

Postby Bob Ross » Mon May 01, 2006 6:53 pm

For many years, I grew tomatoes in New York City at a cost of $.0064 a piece. Here's my list of expenses:

1. Buy a pack of seeds -- in those days you could get them for $.75.

2. Plant the seeds in a mixture of coffee grounds and chopped up paper towels, used of course -- free.

3. Make a mulch from kitchen left overs; keep the mulch in plastic bags from the grocery store -- free.

4. In late May, walk along Riverside Park to the railroad tracks near 120th Street, and then north for about half a mile. Plant my seedlings in sunny spots on the east side of the tracks.

5. Return once a week with a two and a half container and water with Hudson River water.

6. When they start to bear, water to the end of the line, then fill up the container on the way back home. We lived in a building filled with artistic types -- folks would leave little containers in the lobby for me to divy up; the goodies -- hundreds and hundreds a season. I never found out why they grew so well in that section -- perhaps the afternoon sun was perfect for the plants. But I never had a bad season in six years of railroading tomatoes.

Round trip was three miles -- great exercise -- great tomatoes.

Regards, Bob
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Re: The $64 Tomato

Postby Jenise » Mon May 01, 2006 7:15 pm

Why the chopped up paper towels, Bob?
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Re: The $64 Tomato

Postby Bob Ross » Mon May 01, 2006 7:28 pm

They hold the water better -- I didn't really need the coffee grounds -- the grounds made me think of soil. One year my mother visited from Wisconsin, and she was so shocked at the idea of coffee grounds, she picked the seeds out and put them in clean paper towels. Unused, if you can believe that.

I suppose I should factor those two sheets of paper into the costs for that year. :-)

I also should add that I had a case of a household plant fertilizer that one of the tenants threw out when she gave up on trying to dance at the New York State Ballet. So, it was sort of hydrophonic/towelly gardening.

For some reason, I've always had wonderful luck starting tomato plants.
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Re: The $64 Tomato

Postby Hoke » Mon May 01, 2006 7:39 pm

Well, I don't have a $64 tomato, but I am quite familiar with ravioli at $24 a serving.

1. Take a very expensive cooking class at Ramekins. Get excited about making fresh ravioli stuffed with mushrooms.
2. Buy the brand new KitchenAid mixer (deluxe version, of course) required to make the pasta dough.
3. Buy a relatively inexpensive hand rolled pasta maker to make the ravioli.
4. Realize that if you have the KitchenAid, then you have to have the Deluxe Pasta Maker Attachment, so spend another huge amount of money on same.
5. Decide you really want to make something special so go down to the Ferry Plaza Terminal Building and visit the Gourmet Mushroom Shop and buy some of the most expensive mushrooms known to man.
6. When you serve the mushroom pasta, make sure you get only the finest extra virgin olive oil from some frantoio in Tuscany, with a price greater price per ounce than the current market rate for gold per pound.

Good pasta, mind you. But damned expensive.

I'm still waiting to find out what the next Ramekins class will cost me. It's this month.
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Re: The $64 Tomato

Postby Jenise » Tue May 02, 2006 12:56 pm

Hoke, okay, so it cost you a fortune. But the ravioli kept Roxi from leaving you, didn't it, and you can't put a price on that. :)

Ramekins--was the class you took taught by Judy ____, an American living in Florence? I friend of mine took classes from her in Florence, and then took some at Ramekins recently. I could swear a ravioli session was one of them.
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Re: The $64 Tomato

Postby Hoke » Tue May 02, 2006 1:32 pm

Roxi and BettyLu took the course last year, Jenise, so I don't recall who the instructor was---but the description does sound familiar.

Ramekins really does an amazing job with their classes. Good instructors, good round of offerings, and a wonderful venue.

The ladies are already signed up for another class, so I'm waiting breathlessly to see what major piece of kitchen equipment I'm going to invest in now. :)

(Hey, the ravioli is fun to make, and they taste great. It's just that I'm urging Roxi to make them more often so we can get the cost per serving down to a reasonable level, thassall.)
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Re: The $64 Tomato

Postby Jenise » Tue May 02, 2006 1:44 pm

Ravioli's a blast to make, and several years have passed since I made any. I'm BAD! It's just that in my head, it seems like it takes all day to clean up afterward, and much as I love the making part, I sure despise cleaning up after myself. Like that makes me any different. (snicker) I need a maid.

Hey, had the weissburgunder last night. I believe I liked it even better than the Terlan. Splendid; and what a joke it turns every American version I've had into.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: The $64 Tomato

Postby Hoke » Tue May 02, 2006 2:13 pm

Okay, now you have to find the Schiopetto Pinot Bianco from the Collio in Friuli. It's okay to gasp a little when you see the price. But it is truly fine PB.
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Re: The $64 Tomato

Postby Jenise » Tue May 02, 2006 2:33 pm

I believe that's the one Kriss Reed brought for me to try along with the Terlan a few weeks ago. He'd hand-carried it home from his last trip to Italy--it was corked. ARGH!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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