Meet Pat Kennedy, aka the ‘Tomato Lady,’ and discover the wide variety of delicious heirloom tomatos she sells in her unique bootstrap business.
Pat Kennedy, aka the "Tomato Lady," grows and sells unique heirloom tomatoes from her home.
Photo by Walter Chandoha
A selection of colorful heirloom tomato varieties.
Kennedy supports her heirloom tomatoes with homemade cages constructed of concrete-reinforcing wire. She says tomatoes grown in cages ripen sooner than those grown on the ground, and are easier to harvest.
Pat Kennedy, aka the "Tomato Lady," sells heirloom tomato seedlings to wholesalers, as well as to home gardeners, from her front porch. She charges $2 to $5 per plant, depending on its size.
Kennedy starts tomato seeds using light stands in front of sunny, south-facing windows. Each stand holds up to 200 seedlings. Her husband, Bruce, made the stands using 4-foot shop lights. The lights are adjustable, allowing her to position them about 1 inch above the seedlings’ topmost leaves. Automatic timers turn on the lights for 18 hours daily.