Kids like Growing Tomatoes

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Kids find it fun to grow tomatoes, like Gabrielle at the Thousand Oaks Community Garden. Tomatoes are easy to grow in the backyard garden, on a patio or balcony, are used in dishes internationally, and are excellent for our health. There are entire cookbooks devoted to tomatoes, as they are delicious fresh, cooked or dried, as beverages, appetizers, sandwich staples, soups, entrees and desserts. There are over 4,000 different kinds of tomatoes that can be grouped into four culinary groups: to slice, for sauces, to stuff, and small ones for salads. Tiny wild cherry tomatoes originated in the Andes Mountains in South America and spread to Mexico, where the Aztecs developed large yellow tomatoes. French settlers in New Orleans used red tomatoes to make ketchup, which now can be found in almost every kitchen in America. In 1897 Joseph Campbell introduced Campbell Tomato Soup, which has been so popular the can was immortalized by artist Andy Warhol and hangs in the New York Modern Art Museum. There is no doubt that the texture and flavor of organic home grown tomatoes fresh from the garden far surpass conventional tomatoes at the supermarket. Also local vine ripe tomatoes have shown in many studies to be significantly more nutritious. Tomatoes are filled with vitamin C, Vitamin A, beta-carotene (which reduces risk of certain types of cancer), lycopene (an antioxidant), flavonoids (an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory), B vitamins, potassium, iron, phosphorous, and is a rich source of fiber. A tomato a day keeps the doctor away!

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