Why does it matter what a specific kind of tomato is named—or who named it? Picking up the theme of seeds, history, representation, and changes to the land, Melissa and Wythe chat with tomato wizard Steph Gaylor of Invincible Summer Farms on Long Island about the birth of the modern seed industry—and why we eat so few of so many varieties out there. She tells us about the origins of the seed industry and how New York City fits in, and we learn the stories behind some fascinating seed varieties. We also interview a bioengineer, Will Shindel, about a non-profit tomato-hacking project that he and some friends started and almost brought into the world: a spicy tomato! It turns out tomatoes and peppers are cousins, and both evolved the chemical pathway to produce spiciness; tomatoes just forgot how. We get into the nitty-gritty of what genetic modification is, a new method called CRISPR, and why Will’s group wouldn’t try to patent their spicy tomato. It’s a wild ride through time! Listen and subscribe to Fields, and keep planting.

Further Resources:

Salt of the Earth Seeds: https://saltoftheearthseeds.com


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