How often do you hear someone complain that tomatoes don't taste like they used to? It's becoming a common concern, as food production is increasingly controlled by multinational corporations more interested in profit than flavour. People who care about their food are growing their own vegetables in droves - and especially heirlooms for their wonderfully diverse flavours, shapes and colours. Not to mention their rich history and weird and wonderful names - who could resist a lettuce called 'Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed', not be intrigued by the potato that 'Makes the Daughter-in-Law Cry', or fail to be moved by the 'Cherokee Trail of Tears' bean? In this lively, passionate and at times political introduction to the world of heirloom vegetables, gardener Simon Rickard describes the history of many of his favourite varieties, encourages you to get growing yourself, and explains why he believes edible gardening is so important to our future - and the future of the planet.
Simon Rickard is a gardener and plantsman. He is best known as the former head gardener at the Diggers Club, in which role he oversaw the gardens at Heronswood and the Garden of St Erth until 2009. Until 2012 Simon worked as a market gardener, growing bespoke produce for Annie Smithers Bistrot in Kyneton. Simon is a botanical guide for Botanica World Discoveries and runs his own garden consultancy and coaching business. His first book The New Ornamental Garden was released in 2011. Somehow, Simon finds time to lead a parallel life as a musician, playing principal baroque bassoon for Pinchgut Opera. www.simonrickard.com