Tomato Talk!

poster for an event about heirloom gardening

I'm please to announce that I will give a talk about heirloom gardening with a focus on tomatoes and seed saving. I'm honored that McCowan Public Library and the Pitman Garden Club would ask me to do this. The event takes place Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Pitman Boro Hall, (Municipal Building), 110 South Broadway, Pitman, NJ 08071.

There will be a book signing also of Future Tomatoes, my book about the beauty of tomato buds, featuring macro photographs about tomato buds and some stories about them. I hope to see you there.

0123, Box It...

sunflower seeds... and you get 2013 in lottery parlance. Happy New Year! 2012 was quite a year here at The travelling I did in 2012 to find my voice, and to build an audience, opened up so many possibilities. I'm overwhelmed really. The future looks good. For example, I have my first book signing on January 31, 2013. It will be at a local library. I will give a talk before the signing, and the subject will be pure seeds, and their value in the heirloom gardening and food movement. More details to come about this.

Now that I have one lined up, I can pitch the concept to other libraries or community groups. I state on the back cover of my book that the book is available for fund raising. Self-publishing offers me the opportunity to buy quantities of books at a wholesale price. For a fund-raising event the book gets marked up, the organization gets a percentage of the profit, and so do I. I'm trying this out as a model for a socially responsible business for the some of the products I create.

Along the same line, I'll be an author at a Meet Our Authors event in April 2013, which is a book show of local authors.

I have an interview this month, January 2013, with Matthew Dillon, the director of, a new initiative funded by the Clif Bar Family Foundation. Check out their website, specifically the Community Seed Tool Kits.

I'm working on my next book. It will be similar to Future Tomatoes. It will be a picture book with stories, quotes or references about sunflowers. I hope to have it ready for the 3rd Annual Heirloom Expo, September 10-13, 2013 in Santa Rosa, CA. I will be back there as a vendor.

I'm going to push my t-shirt awareness program Tasty T-shirt Tales this year. Since the goal is to add new varieties to the t-shirt catalogue on the Spring Equinox, that will be a goal for me to launch a bigger push on this.

I hope to get to Italy to explore some of the interesting possibilities offered up at Salone del Gusto Terra Madre. I'm waiting on my dual citizenship with Italy. Once I get that confirmation, I can work out the details of what I have in mind. Don't be surprised if you see culinary tours pop into the mix here.

I'm also going to get more aggressive with marketing my photography. You can see some of my work here, they are photos from my trip to Italy. These are for viewing now, but I will set up a store this year where you could order directly from They offer a wide range of mounting services, and I'm impressed with their quality.

And finally, there's the possible new tomato variety that I'm growing out.

That's what I see sitting here on New Year's Day. I'll be doing some behind the scenes work. The blog will be moving to a different hosting company, and I will continue to build my audience using search engine optimization. Social media will play a part, but since my audience is information seekers who are looking for benefits, not features, search engines is the way for me to go. Social media tools are great for trends, breaking news, and focus groups to see what kind of information people seek, however for now, I don't see it as a major part of  building my audience.

Book Update – Waiting for a Proof

Future_tomatoes_CVR_FinalI kicked around the idea of pre-selliing the book, but I have no control over the print quality. The print on demand nature of self-publishing lends itself to manuscript type of books where it's all type, or perhaps a lot of type with some illustrations through out the book.

Digital printing of photographs has gotten better over the years, and since this book does have superb photos in it, I thought it would be best to get a proof before selling it.

Another factor is the paper stock. I would think the people who run this business would have a good idea of what paper works the best for both type and photos. That's why we get proofs.

The files are uploaded. I'm waiting for them to be reviewed to see if they meet the submission guidelines required by, the publishing studio by I have confidence that the final product will be good.

I have a donation button the right hand side of the blog. I put there for people who want to donate to help me continue. I know the economy is tough. In October, I'm going to lose my job for the third time in 5.5 years. It will complicate my life in many ways, and it does offer the opportunity perhaps to spend more time on this.

With the gardening off-season coming up, I want to start shooting some video of what people are doing to preserve the heirloom varieties. I do believe it's a good niche to fill. I have the camera to shoot it. I need a good mic such as a Zoom H4 , and good tripod to start.

I now have a calendar store at which features my photography, with a wide range of subject matter. Any calendar ordered will support Vanishing Feast. The choices right now include the Sunflowers a Go Go mentioned in the previous post, The Sonoma County Coast, and Window Shopping, a series of photos of store windows that capture the surreal dioramas that the reflections in them create. I have a blog set up, and will be posting at the blog and tweeting daily to see what kind of traffic and attention I can get. Perhaps some Google Ad Words too.

I also woke up from a very lucid dream with the idea of three tomatoes and how to grow them. What better way to preserve the future tomatoes and vegetables than to teach children about them. I have a concept developed that's been soundly rejected by publishing companies so there has to be merit in the idea. I will adapt that concept to this.

I'm experimenting with the self-publishing opportunities that are out there. I see myself as a media company that creates media that will support heirloom varieties and offer some products to others to use as fund raising tools. It would a variation of the social business model that Muhammad Yunus presents in Creating a World Without Poverty. With your support, this will happen. Please feel free to pass this post along to anyone who you know that can help me achieve this goal.

I have a lot of talent and creativity and the corporate world has made it clear to me that I'm not worthy of them. No matter what happens over the course of the next six months with my situation, I will find a way to continue on with this.

Ok enough of the shameless self-promotion, now back to the stuff I grow and write about. On the horizon we have a failed experiment with fermenting hot peppers to create hot pepper sauce. I will demonstrate what not to do. It's a good metaphor at my attempt at my previous career.

I also tried to make dye from Hopi Dye Sunflowers that I grew this year. It didn't work either. It's a beautiful plant that the Hopi Nation has used for hundreds of years so I'm sure it works quite well when you know what to do with it.

That's it for now, and thank you for your support.