Customer Reviews: The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table: Recipes, Portraits, and History of the World's Most Beautiful Fruit
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on October 5, 2008
I bought this book for my husband Dennis for our anniversary. He planted over 50 tomato plants this year and we have been enjoying some and others we made salsa and sauce from. We have been buying Heirlooms at our local farmer's market but wanted to grow some or our own. So if you are a home gardener and into growing the very best Heirloom tomatoes on your block this is the book for you. Amy Goldman has researched everything you'd want to know about Heirloom tomatoes from which are the best, what types are available and which do well in certain areas. She's done all the work for you. There is information on taste, color and the various types of tomatoes so that you can grown tomatoes to match your tast palate. And she's included recipes as well. Another great thing about this book is the seed guide in the back which are divided by states and there are several to choose from. This is by far the quintessential book on Heirloom Tomatoes.
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on August 6, 2008
Amy Goldman so captures the magic of heirloom tomatoes the reader almost inhales that distinct summer fragrance with every turn of the page. Each tomato has a carefully researched history and sometimes even a romance shared with the reader. I especially value the detailed notes on each variety for sweetness, flavor, texture and general growing information.
Victor Schrager's tomato photographs are extraordinary and used lavishly throughout the book. This is a book to share and show every friend who gardens or enjoys good food. And, yes, there are some fine recipes included.
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on September 24, 2008
This book is all that it claims. For those wanting to grow heirloom tomatoes, it can be confusing as to which have the attributes one is seeking (sweet taste, good for sauce, good for munching, etc.) This book takes the mystery out of heirloom tomatoes with great descriptions of each tomato's attributes. The book also has beautiful photographs of each tomato so it is easy to visualize how they would appear in the garden. Finally, there is an extensive list of seed sources.

Great book--well worth the money.
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The Heirloom Tomato, Amy Goldman's new book on everyone's favorite fruit-vegetable, is an eye-popping , mouth-watering delight. On page after delicious page, the 258-page book provides offers up a cornucopia of history, etymology, botanical description and elegant, taste-teasing recipes, all of it served up through elegant writing and erudite scholarship, and ornamented richly with Victor Schrager's magnificent photographs.

My only regret is that the book is so pretty that it is hard to imagine abusing it in the two settings - the kitchen, and the garden -- in which it will surely find its highest and best use. Despite all the elegance, the publisher (Bloomsbury) has managed to keep the base price of the book at a very modest $35.

Robin Anthony Elliott, Tomatophile
New York City

August 26, 2008
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on September 2, 2008
To say that Amy Goldman's The Heirloom Tomato is a stunningly beautiful book is, for anyone familiar with Goldman's earlier masterworks on squash and melons, merely to state the obvious. But the tomato which is, as the subtitle indicates, "the world's most beautiful fruit," turns out to be an incomparable seductress of the camera. Any reader who settles, however, for making this a coffee-table book and neglects a serious engagement with the text will have missed at least half the delight. The pleasure begins with photographer Victor Schrager's loving description of how these luscious photos were set up and Amy's surprising story of her life-long link to tomatoes including a cousin Tillie who brought Italy's famous San Mazano (see page 137) to America. Then--after the instructions for growing them yourself, and some help in understanding shapes, colors, flavors, textures, foliage and the like--come the tomato portraits, each accompanied by any technical detail you might need to know, plus a bit of absorbing history personal or otherwise. The recipes that end the book are, as you would expect, about celebrating these fruits for their versatility and flavor as well as their looks. A glorious book. Joan Dye Gussow
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on October 18, 2008
Books are some of the greatest treasures we have in this life. Few, if any, other objects have the universal ability to make us laugh, to make us cry, to entertain us, to inspire us and to teach us. Fictional literature, the art of storytelling, entertains, inspires and sometimes teaches us by making us laugh, cry, think and appreciate. Non-fiction literature serves a different purpose. Its focus is to teach or inform us. Exceptional non-fiction literature teaches and informs us in an entertaining way which inspires us and causes us to think and to be appreciative.

Amy Goldman's books are some of the best non-fiction literature created in the fledgling 21st century, and with her newest book, The Heirloom Tomato, she has demonstrated that her skills as a writer, researcher and gardener are only becoming more refined. In my opinion, The Heirloom Tomato is the best book ever written on the tomato.

For more than 6 years now Ms. Goldman has collaborated with Victor Schrager, an accomplished photographer with exceptional talent. During the process of creating three extraordinary books on three of America's most beloved fruits and vegetables, these two have forged a partnership which allows them to communicate to their readers with a singleness of purpose that I have never encountered in any other literary partnership. Undoubtedly inspired by Amy's passion, her years of meticulous research and the abundance from her extensive trial gardens, Victor has created photographs which communicate to the reader the beauty, delicacy, even sensuality of these fruits and vegetables and, in some cases, the images are so exceptional you can almost recall the fragrance and the flavor.

The Heirloom Tomato is first and foremost a comprehensive resource on the tomato, beginning with a well written primer on growing, harvesting and saving the seed of tomatoes followed by a detailed archive, describing for approximately 200 different tomatoes, the size, weight, shape, skin color, flesh color, sweetness, flavor, texture, uses, plant habit, leaf type, yield, maturity, origins, synonyms, seed sources and history. As is true with all of her books, the facts contained in this resource material are well researched and reliable. The book is also a compendium of tomato recipes some of which are quite unique like the dessert recipe, Galette of White Peaches and Tomatoes, and the drink recipe, Tomato Water.

The Heirloom Tomato is also a gentle book, and it is this aspect of its character that moves it from the realm of good non-fiction literature to exceptional non-fiction literature. This book, like Goldman's other two books, Melons for the Passionate Grower and The Compleat Squash, are not `one-time reads'. The Heirloom Tomato is the kind of book you will look to for inspiration on a cold winter day in front of a warm fire. You will return year after year to page 15 to stare at those black tipped fingers ever so gently cradling that magnificent red tomato or to page 248 to view, yet again, the absolutely perfect still life entitled, Thai Pink Bouquet. It is the resource you will seek out and come to depend upon, when, after strolling through someone's vegetable garden, you spy a tomato you have never seen before. This is a book for learned gardeners, novice gardeners, chefs, cooks and even people who do not like to garden or cook, but just love the tomato. This book will teach and inform you, it will inspire you and cause you to pause and think, but most of all, after the first read and the many, many reads that will follow, it will endow you with an even greater appreciation for the tomato.
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on January 2, 2014
I love this book. I actually don't really like eating tomatoes, but I certainly love ogling them in this book. I do love growing them, but that's so I can ogle them on the field. I guess I should keep this review PG.

Great book, probably the best single source of heirloom tomato information currently available. Carolyn Male's book is also good, but it doesn't have the lust-inducing photos.

Goldman's melon book is great too. Not as big, but great photos of melons you've probably never heard of unless you're a Seed Savers Exchange nerd.
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on November 24, 2008
Awesome! I had no idea that tomatoes were so interesting. I originally read about this book in the Washington Post and ordered it for my mom-- I didn't expect to become so fascinated with it myself! Not only does this book describe approximately one million different kinds of tomatoes, but it also has a guide for where to purchase seeds, so you can grow the ones that seem most interesting to you. Recipes are included along with a detailed description of the tomato.

Finally, the pictures are AMAZING. The photography is just beautiful, and that's what really sold me on the book. Each frame is a work of art, truly. If you're on the fence about it, go ahead and get it-- it was money well spent.
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on March 10, 2012
I am an heirloom tomato addict. Small gardener gone wild! I grew 60 + varieties last year and am expanding to grow 100 this year. I am not quite done with this book yet but have thoroughly enjoyed reading some of Amy's methods of starting seeds, transplanting, pruning, mulching, harvesting, seeds saving etc. I was blown away by her 5 foot between each plant method, and that she doesnt experience any problems with blight and such. Blight is a tomato growers worst nightmare and I experience it every year due to over crowding! Changes are going to be made this year - TY Amy. Many of her methods I have not followed and have opened my eyes a bit. Being that she lives only 30 minutes from me in the Hudson Valley also helps relate to her as she talks about climate in our area. The pictures are amazing and better yet are Amy's detailed descriptions, orgins and other facts that one would not know. I especially enjoy the synonyms and other names for these tomatoes that I did not know. I find it funny how one tomato could have so many names. Amy - Thank you, maybe one day our paths will cross. My wife and I love the farmers market in Rhinebeck and the little Thai restuarant in town. Will look for you at the farmers market this year! Happy planting this year! - Jay -
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on January 1, 2016
The photos, descriptions, history lessons and insights undeniably display Amy Goldman's deep personal love for and knowledge of these fruit on every page! There is a 45 minute video on YouTube of Goldman giving a moving PowerPoint lecture on heirloom tomatoes using many of the photos and descriptions found in this book. Please find this wonderful video, watch it and I know you will want to purchase this incredible book.
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