By Vanessa Richins
I hope to be like Larry Kimpell when I’m 80 years old.
I already am in some ways, since we both share a love of growing tomatoes.
Like him, I get seed catalogs in the spring and carefully study all of the varieties, trying to decide which ones I want to grow.
I learned how to garden and cook when I was growing up, as did he.
We both want to help our friends and neighbors eat better. I’m working on starting a community garden, and he helps provide fresh vegetables for the residents of the nursing home he calls home.
The Albert Lea, MN resident is still growing over 100 tomato plants yearly, as part of St. John’s Lutheran Home’s gardening program. He’s lived there for the past 6.5 years, zipping around the garden in his motorized scooter. The raised beds provide easy access for anyone in a wheelchair.
I was impressed by the description of his bounty that was provided bu the Albert Lea Tribune:
“The tomatoes he has grown have so far produced 6 1/2 buckets (2 1/2 gallon size) of spaghetti sauce to feed the residents, enough tomatoes for the entire second floor residents to have BLTs, tomatoes for salsa, tomatoes for salads and of course some tomatoes to eat plain, too.”
He’s dedicated to the garden, often arriving before 6:30 in the morning to start tending the plants. Any problems in the garden are soon noticed under his watchful eye.
My hat is off to Larry Kimpell. He’s a fine example of what a tomato gardener should be like.