Created by

About Our Tomato Casual Team

We’ve assembled an expert team to help you grow better tomatoes, discover new ways to cook and enjoy tomatoes, and keep you in the know on all things tomato.

davidDavid Harbilas

David Harbilas is a professional chef of fifteen years’ experience, mostly in the seacoast area of New Hampshire.

He is currently part of the opening staff of AKA Bistro in Lincoln, Massachusetts, owned by 2009 Boston Rising Star Chef Christopher Chung. A graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars, Harbilas has also published poems and essays in a number of independent literary magazines, in addition to publishing his own magazine, Four Corners, for three years.

Michelle Fabio -

Michelle Fabio

“Ciao!” from sunny southern Italy, a tomato lover’s paradise.

I’m Michelle Fabio, a freelance writer, translator, part-time attorney, and amateur cook with a true passion for what we here call the “pomodoro,” or golden apple.

When I’m not occupied with those pursuits, you’ll probably find me at my blog, Bleeding Espresso, where I write about life and love in Calabria (the toe of Italy’s boot), my writing career, recipes, and my trilingual dogs, Luna and Stella.

I was raised in the United States with my Italian-American grandmother, and tomatoes were a part of our daily life, something that brought us together as a family.

When I think of tomatoes, I think of the rich smell of sauce (gravy!) cooking on the stove for hours, the tired, content feeling as I stared at jars and jars and jars full of canned tomatoes for the winter, the deep red color of sliced tomatoes ready to top everything from macaroni and cheese to a salami-and-fresh-Italian-bread sandwich, and, of course, the utter joy of harvesting my first, all-grown-by-me, perfect tomato.

My love for the tomato runs deep–it has given me so much over the years, and I’m ready to return the favor by extolling its virtues to all who will listen, er, read here at Tomato Casual.

Kira Hamman, TomatoCasual.comKira Hamman

On certain days of the week, I am a small-time farmer, raising vegetables (including lots of tomatoes, of course), sheep, chickens, honeybees, and the occasional duck or rabbit on my 3-acre farm in Washington County, Maryland. On other days, I am a mathematics professor at a local college. And on all days, I write, cook, read, and play with my two young children. You can read about that last at my blog, The Yellow Bus.

Michael Nolan, Tomato Casual writerMichael Nolan

As both a freelance writer and a voracious gardener, I am proud to be part of the Tomato Casual team. As a southern gentleman, I was raised to appreciate the tomato in a variety of forms, from the simple and basic slices to the battered fried green tomatoes that made the movie famous and introduced the world to a whole new way to eat.

I have had a passion for tomatoes since I was a child. My mother used to tell stories about how I would give up ice cream for a bowl of sliced tomatoes with salt & pepper. These days I’m in my mid thirties and I still eat them like there is no tomorrow, though now I have moved on to sea salt and cayenne. My particular passion is for heirloom varieties because of their rich history and misunderstood appearance.

I am far from a typical man in his mid-thirties. I write and work a great deal on my plants outdoors when the weather agrees with me. I have an extreme interest in frugality and simple living, largely because I feel a spiritual connection with the Earth. There is no more profound experience for me than to spend time with my hands in the dirt, nurturing seeds into seedlings and seedlings into plants that then return the favor by nourishing me.

I believe that there are less expensive and often entirely free ways of doing things, and I feel that it is my responsibility to find them and share the information with others. One good example of this is my penchant for seed collecting and saving. Every year I take great care to collect seeds from my vegetable plants — especially the heirlooms — and I store and label them so that I will be able to sow new crops the following year without spending the first penny on seeds or seedlings.

I relocated to Atlanta in April of 2009 where I live with my partner, our two cats Cleo and Jackie and every plant I can possibly put my hands on. For more about me and my work, check out my writing blog at Michael Writes or my gardening blog at My Earth Garden.

Vanessa Richins, TomatoCasual.comVanessa Richins

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t gardening. I grew up in one of the blessed lands – Southern California. How I miss the wonder of year round gardening!

College led me to Utah. After starting out as a microbiology major, my love of all things green won out. I earned a Bachelors in Horticulture, with an emphasis on Landscape and Urban Horticulture. I’ve worked at a nursery, on a grounds crew, for a water conservation demo garden, and I currently teach garden classes for community education. I’m also getting my Master Gardener certification for fun.

One of the best smells on earth is the tangy goodness of tomato plants. At the water conservation garden, my favorite breakfast was to just sit among the tomato plants and munch away. I drool over the glossy pictures in seed catalogs. And as food….heaven! If I could only have one “vegetable” (of course, it’s really a berry!), it would be the tomato, hands down. Whether sliced onto a hamburger or simmered for hours for sauce, it is pure decadence.

I am maintaining three different plots just to make sure I have room for a garden devoted to heirloom tomatoes. This year alone I will be experimenting with at least 22 different kinds in all shapes, sizes and colors. Watch for reviews of these beauties and other subjects hailing the glory of tomatoes.. I am so excited for this opportunity to write for Tomato Casual!

mindarMindy McIntosh-Shetter

Presently I am living a life or a soon-to-be-empty nester of two 19-year olds. My time is spent milking out as much as I can on my 1/5 acre with my husband, son, daughter, rabbit Rufus, and a soft-shell turtle Joshua.

I am also finishing up my Masters in Environmental Education, Urban Planning, and Public Health from the University of Louisville. Hopefully I will have this completed by December 2011.

While I am a newcomer to blogging, today I blog for Tomato Casual, Urban Garden Casual, and Suit101 During my blogging career I have also blogged as a ghostwriter for

My credentials are wide spread and consist of a Bachelor in Agriculture Education with a minor in biology, chemistry, and natural resources from Purdue University. This degree led me into a teaching career that span 7 years in Louisville, Kentucky. I taught 125+ students a year in aspects of agriculture that ranged from raising paddlefish, and tilapia to greenhouse management in an urban setting. But due to budget cuts my program closed down but my teaching agriculture has continued.

I presently volunteer my services in my community and teach “square foot gardening” to a group of individuals new to the concept of recession gardening in a subdivision. I am also spreading my agriculture knowledge by creating my own blog that showcases Mindar the gardening gnome.

Mindar can be found visiting gardens, doing how-tos, and generally teaching what she loves that is agriculture. So look Mindar the gardening gnome up if you have any questions about gardening, science or agriculture. Who knows you may see Mindar the gardening gnome (Mindy McIntosh-Shetter) at a garden near you.

blog photoSteve Shetter Jr

Hello all, my name is Steve Shetter Jr. and I hope to help and bring some inspiration to your time in the kitchen and outdoor cooking experiences. I started cooking at a young age helping to feed my siblings as needed and have continued cooking unto this day. Working in pizzas from 17 until about 23 and moved into management. Then, moving into parenthood helped with feeding the family and going back to school to better our future as well as my person.

Putting myself through chef school, I opened up my passion for food and related issues, (gardening, growing and recycling leftovers). As our children grew, joining the scouting movement, I taught the cooking to scouts and parents that had interest. I recently became a Certified Dietary Manager and Food safe certified. I mention this because I will be throwing in information at times on dietary needs and food preparation.

I mentioned pizza chains as a beginning point in employment, at different times I have worked in Country Clubs, Ski Resort, 5-star restaurant, and the Kentucky Derby. While in these locals, I picked the brains of my superiors to better my abilities in and around the kitchen. I hope to share with you some of the experiences I have enjoyed. Should you have any questions, I will leave my e-mail for further contact; look for a future outdoor cooking blog/website.

Reggie Solomon reggieCasual - TomatoCasual.comReggie Solomon (a.k.a., “reggieCasual”)

I adore tomatoes.

In fact, I love tomatoes so much I decided to create Tomato Casual so I could connect with other people around the world who are passionate about this juicy fruit.

When I’m not serving as the editor of Tomato Casual, you’ll find me writing about my other two passions — urban gardening and wine.

With tomatoes as with gardening, we keep it easy; we keep it casual.

Recent Comments