Thursday, August 14, 2008

Radiator Charlie and his mortgage lifter

Wow – Eco-capitalism has been around for a long time! Talk about ideas for peak oil employment!
Being a guy who never gets tired of good stories from the More experienced members of society, I love the story of Marshall Cletis “Radiator Charlie” Byles, the originator of Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter Tomato,
From Gary Ibsens Tomato Fest:

"Developed by M.C. Byles in the 1930’s, this heirloom tomato remains very much in demand in the Mid-Atlantic states. Mr. Byles, affectionately known as "Radiator Charlie" earned his nickname from the radiator repair business he opened at the foot of a steep hill on which trucks would often overheat. Radiator Charlie, who had no formal education or plant breeding experience, created this legendary tomato by cross-breeding four of the largest tomatoes he was able to find and developed a stable variety after six years of pollination and selection. He then sold his heirloom tomato plants for one dollar each (in the 1940’s) and paid off the six thousand dollar mortgage on his house in six years. It is said that each spring, gardeners drove as far as 200 miles to buy Charlie’s seedling tomatoes. The large, slightly flattened, pink-red fruits that range from 1 pound to more than 3 pounds, are meaty, very flavorful and have few tomato seeds."

Here is a good radio interview From Living on Earth - Featuring Jeff McCormick with Ed Martin, the grandson of Radiator Charlie- and the story of and his “Mortgage Lifter”.

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