Off-Grid Living

Here in southern Missouri, May is the month when you want to get your tomato starts into the ground.

Off-grid life, to me, means growing as much of your own food as you can, and eating as much of what you grow as you can. One of the greatest crops in my garden has to be my heirloom tomatoes.

I love tomatoes! But the tomatoes found in today’s markets are not appealing to me. I know too much about those things they call tomatoes and I know there is way better available. But I also know I have to grow them myself, or at least find someone who does and set up a trade.

One of the best things about gardening has to be growing awesome, ripe, big and juicy fruit. Notice I didn’t describe my tomato fruits as red? Reason is, I hardly grow red tomatoes. What, you’ve never seen a tomato colored other than red?

I am not surprised to hear this. In fact, many people living today have no idea that there are black, yellow, white, pink, brown and even purple tomatoes. I even know of a green tomato – fully ripe! If you ever get into growing heirloom tomatoes, you will discover a whole other world of tomatoes.

In fact, heirloom tomatoes were hardly ever red. Did you know that the red tomatoes shipped to the grocery store are usually picked green and shipped to the store unripe? It’s true; in fact, the tomatoes are sprayed with a toxic gas to make them look as if they are ripe by the time you, the consumer, sees them.

Then they are coated with a wax to make them “pretty.” That is so consumers will buy them. Consumers have been taught – or brainwashed, if you will – to only buy perfect-looking foods. And those red tomatoes are far from perfect and far from healthy.

They don’t even taste good compared to heirloom, homegrown tomatoes. Once you sink your teeth into a Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato, you will know you haven’t eaten a good tomato! This tomato has to be my favorite and it dates clear back into the 1800s for when it was first grown.

When it comes to mainstream vs. heirloom tomatoes, is there even a challenge? Some people might scoff at the idea of homegrown food. I will never understand that, but I have had the best tomatoes of my life from my home garden. People have come to sample my Cherokee Chocolate tomatoes, Amish Paste, Cherokee Purples, San Marzanos, Black Beauties and Solar Flare tomatoes, and have told me those tomatoes were the best tasting they have ever eaten.

Most people have no idea what a natural tomato even looks like. In the home garden you hardly ever get a perfect – without blemish – tomato, but you will get the best tasting tomato you have ever had!

For more on where to get heirloom seeds, check out

Texas County resident Merlyn Seeley (a.k.a. Spirit Walker) is a natural living expert, herbalist, Cherokee medicine man and author of numerous books. His blog address is


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