There’s only a few of us that have the seed for a unique variety of tomato that has it’s roots right here in Calaveras County. In fact, the family that intentionally bred this fine red tomato were our neighbors and the three of them (Ernie, with half sister Josephine and her husband Sharkie) all lived to be in their 90’s and Ernie until 104!
Our personal theory goes: that by living off the land, feeding themselves, growing a large garden and feeding others they remained free of stress and enjoyed their health right up to the end.
Every year, for the past 28 years, we’ve grown these beauties and when we reach the point of harvest we heartily thank the Vogliotti family. If you’ve ever dappled in seed saving you will know that there is a science to saving seed that demands attention,
patience and dedication.
Imprinted on my memory is a time when we visited Josephine (the last one left of the three). She was often alone and we would go down to pay her a visit every now and again and hear the old stories of how and what they did making a living on the land. I remember distinctly the first time we showed up with a beautifully ripe Camalay. She took the tomato into her hands and brought it up to her nose for a long inhalation, just as any tomato connoisseur would, and declared, rightly so, that it was “one of ours wasn’t it”? The love for something so fleeting and special was the best reward we could ever have wished for in taking on the legacy year after year.
This year, 2020, they are showing up big time with that old fashioned tomato flavor. Get them while they are in!