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Posted on 08 March 2013 by tomatocasual.com

Decorating the Holiday Tree with Love Apples

Photo Credit: Pinterest Cheese Christmas tree by Blake Facey used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Photo Credit: Pinterest Cheese Christmas tree by Blake Facey used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

This year, I have decided to do my holiday decorating a little different.

In the past, I have filled my evergreen tree with treasure ornaments made by my children along with family collectables.

This includes homemade candy canes made from beads, little wooden backpacks, and my grandmother’s blown glass birds.

But this year, I am adding a unique decoration to my kitchen bar and that is a tomato tree.

This tree is not what one would expect. It is edible and ever changing. To start off, this tree’s form is one that can be found in many drugstores as the gumball tree. This tree is designed by pushing gumballs onto the ends of the plastic branches. This is the basic form of my tree but instead of gumballs I am going to use cherry tomatoes.

While I realize this seems a little unorthodox, Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 04 February 2013 by tomatocasual.com

Halloween and the Tomato

Photo Credit: Tomat’O'Lantern by Andrew Huff used under CC BY-NC 2.0

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

I would like to start a new tradition with tomatoes.

Culturally, tomatoes have spanned the human belief system.

Some cultures build festivals around tomatoes while others view tomatoes as a “poisonous fruit.”

But, for myself, the tomato represents summertime, and health. This year, though, the tomato has changed its image due to the unusual weather we have been having. I cannot remember picking tomatoes in October but this year it is the norm not the exception.

In doing so, since my tomato crop is still growing and producing, I would like to introduce the tomato into my Halloween celebration. Below are the top six ways I plan to use the ‘love apple” come October 31.

1. Bloody punch will be part of the menu for my Halloween party. I plan to take and make my own tomato juice, which I plan to cool with a frozen hand made from a latex glove. Since my party will be multigenerational, I am choosing to keep it alcohol-free.

2. Stuffed tomatoes will be served with an assortment Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 30 September 2011 by tomatocasual.com

Green House Tomatoes: The Pollinators Dilemma

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

The other day I was doing some research on greenhouse tomatoes and found a technique I found interesting and sad.

Greenhouse tomatoes are fertilized in several different ways.

One way is the way I used to use when I was an Agriculture Education instructor and that was just letting nature into my greenhouses.

In the commercial setting, this consists of releasing bumblebees into the greenhouse environment. These insects are short-lived but can be expensive when a new hive has to be purchased every time the greenhouse is cleaned out and new plants brought in.

Another approach Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 10 April 2011 by tomatocasual.com

Light Up the Darkness with a Simple Tomato

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Tomatoes are great for salads, pasta sauces, juice, and even as a possible cancer therapy.

But a little known fact about the simple tomato is that it can be used to generate electricity.

Any type of tomato will work but green ones are much better since they are more acidic.

The following information will get you started on this project and dazzle your gardening friends with the magic from the garden.

If one would like to do this with children as a science experiment try testing how much electricity is produced and what types of tomatoes produce the most. To get the hypothesis juices flowing consider testing homegrown verses hydroponics or paste verses beefsteak.

Supplies

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Posted on 14 March 2011 by tomatocasual.com

Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Tomato

By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

Sherlock Holmes has always impressed me with his uncanny ability to put pieces together that did not seem to have any relationship to each other.

While on the surface this may seem only entertaining the ability to form relationships where there does not seem to be any is an invaluable skill in life, and in science.

Horticulture is one of those unique disciplines that mundane, and unconnected relationships go hand in hand when it comes to searching for the Holy Grail of Tomatoes.

Roger Chetelat the Director of C. M. Rick Tomato Genetics Resource Center at the University of California, Davis is one of those individuals trying to find the ancestors of the common tomato. He is a cross between Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted on 16 December 2010 by tomatocasual.com

Celebrate the Spring Equinox with Friends, Family, and Tomato Goblets

tomato-gobletBy Mindy McIntosh-Shetter

A few years ago I started welcoming the Spring Equinox by having a party.

My friends would show up in their favorite medieval outfits and we would have our feast of seasonal produce on a King Arthur type table.

In past years I would fill goblets with party favors and candy but this year I am giving a true Spring Equinox gift of hope and revitalization.

One may ask what this is and the answer is simple it is Tomato Goblets.

This goblet idea came from the wine settings I have used for this party in the past. But instead of serving wine I am serving sustainability and food security in a simple goblet. The tomato plant came to mind since Europeans viewed the tomato as the “love apple” or a forbidden fruit. Plus, the tomato plant is an easy vegetable plant that everyone can be successful at growing.

Also going with the theme and beliefs of King Arthur these Tomato Goblets represent food equalities much like the equal powers that King Arthur’s Knights had at the table.

These goblets are a true recycling project that uses Read the rest of this entry »

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