Epic tomatoes by Craig LeHoullier

Craig is not only an authority on everything that is tomato, he also managed to create one of the most attractive tomato books currently in existence. This book is just a joy to flip through. The ultimate coffee table book for tomato lovers.

Fresh and colorful. That is how you could describe his book in two words. He himself describes it as epic tomatoes, which is also an accurate duo of words.

Craig's focus is on tomato varieties. His origin lies here. From the moment he started growing heirlooms instead of hybrids his passion for collecting and trying out new varieties exploded, reportedly having grown over 1000 varieties by himself. Craig is not only curious, he is also a collector by heart and the combination of his love for trying out new varieties, his collector interests and his ability to tell a good story make this book one of the best tomato books published in recent years.

This book contains 9 chapters with various resources in the end of the book, including the necessities such as a useful index. Craig starts on the history of the tomato with a focus on the acceptance of the tomato in the USA.

Craig starts off with the history of the tomato, describing how it landed on our dinner plates after originally coming from a restricted region in South America. For here he describes the anatomy of the tomato, and do not expect some dry summation of tomato facts. Craig is a natural story teller and he skips on details that are unnecessary and shares what is really important: the color, shape, size, flavor, seed types and growth habit. The rest of the book is mainly dedicated to growing your tomatoes, taking care of them, and collecting seed. All wonderfully described with lucious pictures.

Each chapter also contains some smaller subsections with more personal content spread around throughout the book, where Craig describes his favorite varieties and their history. There are also many smaller boxes throughout the book with extra information of a standalone nature.

If you would ask me personally I love these intermittent descriptions of Craig's favorite varieties the most about this book. You can feel his passion and it is very hard not to order all those varieties yourself.

Final verdict

This book is recommended. Don't expect a dry scientific exploit on the natural history of the tomato, expect a passionate book on tomatoes with wonderful pictures. And that is even better!

9/10 tomatoes

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