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I will never forget the first time I bit into a dry-farmed, early-girl tomato. It was 1984, and I was working at Community Foods, a natural foods collective. A coveralled man offered me a box of these red orbs to sell in our store.
I found them to be a bit small. Since they were organic, which was hard to source in those days, I took a bite.
The sweet, seedy richness exploded and dripped. The very essence of tomato-hood danced in my mouth. They were exquisitely sweet and firm with a touch of tartness—like a complex wine.
The dusty local farmer, Mark Lipson, would someday become USDA’s first organic policy advisor. He is one of the founders of California Central Coast’s oldest dry-farmed organic tomato endeavors, Molino Creek Farming Collective.
Last week, this historic and iconic community farm was ravaged by the CZU Lightning Complex Fire that exploded across the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The pictures of the devastation are mortifying and terrifying!