Meema's Tomatoes

Mother’s Day marks the start of our warm weather planting season. It is “officially” safe to set out our frost tender annuals – like tomatoes. This year I’ll be growing out about 20 heirloom tomatoes from my partner’s family. I call them Meema’s Tomatoes.

Meema's tomatoes, in my homemade seedling nursery

Meema is my partner’s maternal grandmother. As far as I’ve been told, she brought these tomatoes with her when she fled her homeland, Ukraine, during World War II. She made it first to France, where she gave birth to my partner’s Aunt – who, along with her partner, is the only other relative currently growing these tomatoes anymore. After France, the family made it to the United States. Meema gave birth to my partner’s mother and grew her tomatoes where they settled in New York.

I am humbled to be growing a true family heirloom. These tomatoes are more than food – although, food is pretty damn important on its own. Meema’s tomatoes are a part of my child’s family history and culture. When he gets older, he’ll learn the story of his great grandmother, and even though they have never met, their lives will be connected. His roots will grow deeper.

Are any of you still growing a family heirloom? I would love to hear your stories! Also, if there is more I can add to the history of Meema’s tomatoes (or if there is something I have wrong!), I would love to know :)

Happy Gardening,