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Tomato Time: TomatoMania! by Scott Daigre

By Sarene Wallace | March 30, 2015
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Scott Daigre describes himself as an avid gardener, occasional farmer and enthusiastic landscape designer. But to so many people, the Ojai resident is Mr. Tomatomania!, creator of the annual extensive tomato seedling sale that happens here and elsewhere around the country. (Daigre has also been an Edible Ojai & Ventura County contributor.) 

Now he’s turned his tomato passion into the book Tomatomania!: A Fresh Approach to Celebrating Tomatoes in the Garden and in the Kitchen (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2015), which he co-wrote with Jenn Garbee.

I was eager to read the book because some years my tomato plants flourish and other times they taunt with just a few tomatoes that squirrels claim before I can. (I should have harvested early, cutting the tomatoes from the plant and putting them in a cool, dark place.)

Daigre and Garbee come across like they’re touring readers’ yards as friends, offering pointers and explaining the “why’s” and “how’s” behind successful tomato gardening. Staci Valentine’s photos add color commentary.

Starting at the beginning of the tomato-growing process, the book covers picking a spot in the yard and defi ning “full sun” (six to eight hours, uninterrupted). It talks about container growing as an option, helps readers pick the right tomato and teaches them how to plant and nurture.

Once gardeners harvest their homegrown beauties, the authors offer 20 recipes and tips. Recipes include standards like tomato sauce and roasted cherry tomatoes as well as the lively Black Martini (reminiscent of a Bloody Mary), Stone Fruit and Tomato Gazpacho, and New Tomatoes Rockefeller, among others.

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