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For the avid gardener, growing one variety of a particular herb, fruit or vegetable is never enough. It is always interesting to see the difference in plant growth, production and finally the taste of the fruit in your cherished recipe. Especially for culinary enthusiasts, the more varieties you have the more amazing your dish is, complete with a horticultural biography to entertain your guests leaving them in awe. What if you found that through the years you had quite the assortment of organic tomato seeds in your collection? This is exactly what happened to Gary Ibsen who suddenly found himself the keeper of this huge seed bank of organic heirloom tomatoes that began to grow thanks to the contributions of his friends, neighbors and gardeners around the globe.
In this segment of The Organic View Radio Show, host, June Stoyer talks to Gary Ibsen, founder of TomatoFest Garden Seeds (http://www.tomatofest.com). TomatoFest has revitalized the appreciation and desire for true heirloom tomatoes. Ibsen’s belief in sustainable, organic farming and seed saving has inspired him to develop and grow heirloom tomato varieties for more than 30 years. For the 2009 season, he, and his partner Dagma Lacey, are growing more than 600 varieties of certified organic, heirloom tomatoes from seeds originally sourced from family farms around the world. Their hands-on tomato production and seed harvest techniques ensure the highest quality product and help ensure that these precious heirloom tomato varieties will be sustained for years to come. In 2008 Ibsen retired from 18 years of producing the nationally celebrated Carmel TomatoFest event in Carmel CA. Through their TomatoFest Seed Donation Program, TomatoFest Garden Seeds has been donating heirloom tomato seeds to more than 250 urban garden projects, school gardens, community outreach gardens around the U.S., India, Africa, Europe, China.
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