Kenny’s Story

Way, way, way back, a long, long, time ago, practically in another world, 1992 I believe it was, My family went a lookin’ for some propane in Southern Indiana where we were living at that time. We were told we could find what we were looking for at the home of a man named Kenny Freeman. So we wound around on some country roads and came upon a cozy little farm with a wonderfully kept garden. Sure enough this was the place!

The friendly farmer came out and greeted us and quickly set us up with the propane we were looking for. But by the time he had finished we had struck up quite the conversation, and to complete it he needed to take us on a tour of his little farm. He showed us his tool shed with its immaculately cared for spades, digging forks and the like. Then he led us all around the garden, talking about varieties and methods. He was a veritable wealth of information!

Finally we came to rest in front of a trellis packed with tiny golden balls! Cherry tomatoes of a sort I had never before encountered! I was too polite back then to just pop a couple in my mouth, so I waited for he and my sweetie to stop jawing a spell and asked him what they tasted like.

He pulled three tomatoes off the vine and put them in my hand and said “Don’t eat these. Take them home and squeeze them out into a jar. Fill the jar with water and put a lid on it. Every day for the next three or four days shake the jar up, and when only the seeds sink to the bottom carefully drain off the water. Fill it again and shake to rinse off the seeds a couple of times, then drain the seeds well and lay them out on a plate. When they dry, put them someplace safe. Then next year plant those seeds and when the plants bear, you will know what those tomatoes taste like!”

This was completely unexpected, but it started me on a journey I have never turned back from! I never asked him what the varietal name was, but for our family they have always and only been known as Kenney’s Gold! We have saved them (sometimes through other folk’s plantings) for 28 years and counting! All the while we have taught countless people about seed saving and the desperate importance of using open pollinated and heirloom varieties in their gardens!

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