Tomato

From Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia

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-Jefferson first mentions '''tomatoes''' in Query VI of his ''Notes on the State of Virginia'', which Jefferson first produced in 1781 and which was published several times throughout the 1780's. He says: "The gardens yield muskmelons, watermelons, tomatas, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the esculant plants of Europe." <ref>See http://oll.libertyfund.org/Texts/Jefferson0136/Works/0054-03_Bk.html#hd_lf054v03_head_205</ref> One of our research historians surmises that, since Jefferson mentioned them only briefly, in a list, and did not single them out, that they were nothing unusual, at least to him. The Jefferson family recipes contain numerous usages of tomatoes. Jefferson included tomatoes in his chart of vegetables sold in the markets in Washington, D.C.<ref>See http://memory.loc.gov/master/mss/mtj/mtj1/025/0400/0451.jpg</ref> He recorded planting them all of the years that he kept his ''Garden Book'' (1809-1824), and according to one of our research historians, it is likely that he was growing them both before and after those dates - perhaps as early as 1781, when he wrote about them in ''Notes''.+[[Thomas Jefferson]] first mentions '''tomatoes''' in Query VI of his ''Notes on the State of Virginia'': "The gardens yield muskmelons, watermelons, tomatas, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the esculent plants of Europe." <ref>[[Short Title List|''Notes,'' ed. Peden]], 43.</ref> One of our research historians notes that "Jefferson does not single out tomatoes as unusual objects in Virginia gardens, and in other parts of the country, the fruit was also available."<ref>Damon Lee Fowler, ed., [http://tjportal.monticello.org/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=14523 ''Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance''] (Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Foundation, 2005), 122.</ref> He recorded planting tomatoes all of the years that he kept his Garden Kalendar (1809-1824), and included them in his chart of vegetables sold in the markets in Washington, D.C.<ref> [http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collId=mtj1&fileName=mtj1page025.db&recNum=450 Copy] at the Library of Congress.</ref> Tomatoes commonly appear in the Jefferson family recipe collections. Two varieties Jefferson planted most often were the “dwarf” and the “Spanish,” which was described as “very much larger than the common kinds.
- +
-==Poisonous Tomato==+
-As for the belief that it was poisonous, Jefferson himself never writes about that, or in any way gives the impression that it was anything but natural to eat tomatoes. There is a folk tale about Jefferson visiting Lynchburg where he stuns people by eating a tomato. It appears in a book ''Saga of a City: Lynchburg, Virginia, 1786-1936.'' Researchers have not found proof this incident ever happened. What can be said is that Jefferson was nonchalantly growing them and eating them as early as 1781.+
-Original authors: Bryan Craig and Anna Berkes, 2003 & 2005.+Jefferson himself never mentioned the belief by some that tomatoes were poisonous. There is a story that, on a visit to Lynchburg, he terrified one of the locals when he paused to snack on a tomato on the steps of the Miller-Claytor house;<ref>[http://tjportal.monticello.org/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=16379 ''Saga of a City: Lynchburg, Virginia, 1786-1936''] (Lynchburg, Va.: Lynchburg Sesqui-Centennial Association, 1936), 57-59.</ref> our researchers have found no proof that this incident ever happened.
 + 
 +==Primary Source References<ref>Please note that this list should not be considered comprehensive.</ref>==
 + 
 +'''1811 February 11.''' (Memorandum for [[Poplar Forest]]). "prepared bed next Southwardly for tomatas."<ref>[[Short Title List|Betts, ''Garden Book'']], 465.</ref>
 + 
 +'''1813 March 2.''' (Jefferson to Randolph Jefferson). "I sent enough to put you in stock...tomatas..."<ref>Ibid, 506.</ref>
 + 
 +'''1814 March 21.''' (Seed & Grain committed to care of W. McAndrews for Mr. Jefferson). "Lare white cabbage, white onion, tomata..."<ref>Ibid, 613.</ref>
==Footnotes== ==Footnotes==
<references/> <references/>
-==Further Sources== +==Further Sources==
-*Smith, Andrew F. [http://tjportal.monticello.org/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=4757 The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cookery] University of South Carolina Press, 1994.+*Brandywine tomato seeds available for purchase at [http://monticellostore.stores.yahoo.net/631088.html Monticello Museum Shop]
 +*[[Costoluto Genovese Tomato]] seeds available for purchase at [http://monticellostore.stores.yahoo.net/600061.html Monticello Museum Shop]
 +*Hatch, Peter J. [http://www.twinleaf.org/articles/vegetables.html "Thomas Jefferson's Favorite Vegetables"], ''Twinleaf,'' January 2000
 +*[http://www.thomasjeffersonpapers.org/cfm/search.cfm?start=1&hi=on&user=&tag=text&archive=garden&noimages=&query=tomatas&submit=Search Look for more of Jefferson’s references in his Garden Book]
 +*[http://tjportal.monticello.org/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&SL=none&SAB1=tomato&BOOL1=all+of+these&FLD1=Title%2C+Author+%26+Subject+%28TASS%29&GRP1=AND+with+next+set&SAB2=&BOOL2=all+of+these&FLD2=Keyword+Anywhere+%28GKEY%29&CNT=50 Look for more sources in Thomas Jefferson Portal]
 +*McMahon, Bernard. [http://tjportal.monticello.org/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=5466 ''The American Gardener’s Calendar, 1806''] (Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation, 1997), 260, 319, 372, 401, and 429
 +*Smith, Andrew F. [http://tjportal.monticello.org/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?BBID=4757 ''The Tomato in America: Early History, Culture, and Cookery'']. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press, 1994.
 +[[Category:Vegetables]]
[[Category:Food and Drink]] [[Category:Food and Drink]]
-[[Category:Agriculture and Gardening]]+[[Category:Legends]]
 +[[Category:Jefferson-Documented Plants]]

Current revision

Thomas Jefferson first mentions tomatoes in Query VI of his Notes on the State of Virginia: "The gardens yield muskmelons, watermelons, tomatas, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the esculent plants of Europe." [1] One of our research historians notes that "Jefferson does not single out tomatoes as unusual objects in Virginia gardens, and in other parts of the country, the fruit was also available."[2] He recorded planting tomatoes all of the years that he kept his Garden Kalendar (1809-1824), and included them in his chart of vegetables sold in the markets in Washington, D.C.[3] Tomatoes commonly appear in the Jefferson family recipe collections. Two varieties Jefferson planted most often were the “dwarf” and the “Spanish,” which was described as “very much larger than the common kinds.

Jefferson himself never mentioned the belief by some that tomatoes were poisonous. There is a story that, on a visit to Lynchburg, he terrified one of the locals when he paused to snack on a tomato on the steps of the Miller-Claytor house;[4] our researchers have found no proof that this incident ever happened.

Primary Source References[5]

1811 February 11. (Memorandum for Poplar Forest). "prepared bed next Southwardly for tomatas."[6]

1813 March 2. (Jefferson to Randolph Jefferson). "I sent enough to put you in stock...tomatas..."[7]

1814 March 21. (Seed & Grain committed to care of W. McAndrews for Mr. Jefferson). "Lare white cabbage, white onion, tomata..."[8]

Footnotes

  1. Notes, ed. Peden, 43.
  2. Damon Lee Fowler, ed., Dining at Monticello: In Good Taste and Abundance (Charlottesville: Thomas Jefferson Foundation, 2005), 122.
  3. Copy at the Library of Congress.
  4. Saga of a City: Lynchburg, Virginia, 1786-1936 (Lynchburg, Va.: Lynchburg Sesqui-Centennial Association, 1936), 57-59.
  5. Please note that this list should not be considered comprehensive.
  6. Betts, Garden Book, 465.
  7. Ibid, 506.
  8. Ibid, 613.

Further Sources