Remembering Fred Hempel

We just had our first frost, so I was cleaning up my tomato plants this weekend. We grew four varieties of Artisan Seeds tomatoes, and I wanted to let Fred Hempel, the breeder, know how the two new varieties did. When I got online, I saw a post that he had died.

I'm so sad.

He was the tomato breeder that I trusted above all others. He did excellent work and told the truth about his tomatoes without hype.

When I ordered, Pink Cherrywine for this year, Fred included an extra package of Golden Cherrywine as a surprise. We planted those Golden Cherrywine at the local library garden club. They were incredibly productive, tasty, and stored well.

I love his Sunrise and Pink Bumblebee and have grown them for several years now. They are like old friends we see and enjoy every summer.

Lord-willing I live to be 80, I'll probably still be growing his OP varieties and telling my grandkids stories of the breeder who created these. Regular gardeners like me can carry on the OP varieties, but I hope someone can carry on his hybrid work.


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