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Knoxville's Heirloom Tomatoes

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Photo by David Luttrell

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  • JOURNEYMAN: After working at a farm in Boone, N.C., for two years, this is the first year Jonathan Buchanan has grown produce for market from his South Knoxville location, Crooked Road Farm. He markets six varieties, including Big Rainbow and Large Red, and estimates he planted 170 tomato plants this year.
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  • SIMPLY TASTY: Jonathan Buchanan of Crooked Road Farm eats a tomato sandwich for lunch every single day in the season—fixed with Dijon mustard and often the Big Rainbow variety between two slices of bread.
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  • MADE IN THE SHADE: Attorney Bill Byrne (left, with his grandson) started Shady Lady Farm with wife Betty in 2002. The two buy an heirloom mix from a seed house, and favor the giant Mortgage Lifter for sale, along with hybrid Mountain Spring varieties for buyers who want to cook or can their tomatoes. This year, their tomatoes should arrive by the end of the July, which is much later than usual.
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  • ‘MATER EDUCATORS: The University of Tennessee Organic and Sustainable Crop Production Program promotes organic production for family farms to increase income and provide alternatives to keep the family farm in the family. Jeff Martin (above) works at the program’s farm, where heirloom tomato crops include Orange Oxheart, Cherokee Purple, and the prolific, long-lasting Arkansas Traveler.

Photographer David Luttrell visits Knoxville's heirloom-tomato growers.

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