You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato - Heirloom Tomato Basics

Now I'm no tomato aficionado, but I do know a savory marinara sauce when I smell one, or a summer fresh capresse salad when I taste one!

But what I don't know much about are the oh so popular heirloom tomatoes. So I did a bit of reading and thought I'd share the basics I learned...

An heirloom is generally considered to be a variety that has been passed down, through several generations of a family because of it's valued characteristics. Since 'heirloom' varieties have become popular in the past few years there have been liberties taken with the use of this term for commercial purposes.

*Tomato experts, Craig LeHoullier and Carolyn Male, have classified heirlooms into four categories:

Commercial Heirlooms: Open-pollinated varieties introduced before 1940, or tomato varieties more than 50 years in circulation.

Family Heirlooms: Seeds that have been passed down for several generations through a family.

Created Heirlooms: Crossing two known parents (either two heirlooms or an heirloom and a hybrid) and dehybridizing the resulting seeds for how ever many years/generations it takes to eliminate the undesirable characteristics and stabilize the desired characteristics, perhaps as many as 8 years or more.

Mystery Heirlooms: Varieties that are a product of natural cross-pollination of other heirloom varieties.

**Heirloom tomatoes are also divided into fruit size categories:

Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes – small bite-sized or salad sized tomatoes.
Heirloom Paste Tomatoes – meaty flesh with fewer seeds.
Heirloom Slicing Tomatoes – large, round tomatoes also called “beefsteak” tomatoes.
Heirloom Shaped Tomatoes – odd-shaped tomatoes that don’t fit into typical categories.

**And, heirloom tomato color categories:

Red Heirloom Tomatoes – The well-known and popular color for tomatoes.
Orange and Yellow Heirloom Tomatoes – Lower in acid than typical red tomatoes, these heirlooms would be a great choice for anyone suffering from ulcers.
Pink or Purple Heirloom Tomatoes – Second lowest acid content they are similar in flavor to the red tomatoes.
Green Heirloom Tomatoes – Unusual tomatoes that remain green tinted even when fully ripe.
White Heirloom Tomatoes – Often sweeter than others, these are white or near white tomatoes.
Striped Heirloom Tomatoes – Some of the most unusual tomatoes of all these can be red and yellow; green and orange or anything in between.

So that's the basics- now it's on to growing... a whole other subject! For growing basics can be found here. Lots of work to be sure but with names like Turkey Chomp, Wayahead, Bloody Butcher and Kellogg's Breakfast they've gotta be great!


It's Cocktail Time

This Friday our summer "Cocktail Time" spotlights a very cool venue in LA- Little Green Cocktail.

Launched just about a year ago this grouped is organized by Heather Knight, Pedram Sameni and Liya Brook. Here's their "story":


Small changes for a big impact

Little Green is a bi-monthly sustainability-themed cocktail party in downtown LA.

We explore gentle revolutions, knowledge and reflections. There are creative cocktails, inspirational talks and elegant guests galore!

Our focus is hot green topics and ideas relevant to Southern California. We aim to entertain and connect both the experts and the curious!"


Pretty simple right? And sounds super fun- wish we lived in LA!! This could be a great green social startup idea for your town, let us know if you have a similar gig. Or, if you are inspired and starting one. Cheers gals- have a cocktail for us!

.All images via littlegreencocktail.com


Summer Vaca Faves- what's yours???

Photo via Huffington Post

Well, we can't all be the Obamas and be whisked off to Martha's Vineyard! But we all can take a breather and hope for a bit of R&R. Monday I posted about my favorite vacation spot and I'd love to hear about yours...

Photo by Heather Goff via mvol.com

What's your favorite summer vacation destination?
Tell us the top 3 things you like best...


What I Did on My Summer Vacation: Chautauqua

I just returned from a lovely week of summer vacation at one of my very favorite places on the planet- Chautauqua. If you have never heard of Chautauqua, it is a must know! I am one of the fortunate few to have a cottage nearby and to steal a week away during the summer is not only a pleasure, but a privilege.

Chautauqua Institution is located in the far reaches of southwestern New York state- nestled between Erie and Buffalo. The Institution, originally the Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly, was founded in 1874 as an educational experiment in vacation learning for Sunday school teachers.

The two founders, Lewis Miller and John Vincent, were Methodists, and Chautauqua is unquestionable faith based. However, from early on other Protestant denominations participated, and today Chautauqua embraces multiculturalism as the direction toward achieving world peace. Chautauqua's Department of Religion presents distinguished religious leaders of all faiths from this country and abroad, as preachers, teachers and speakers.

By 1880 the Chautauqua platform had established itself as a national forum for open discussion of public issues, international relations, literature and science. It is famous for it's lecture program where past speakers have included Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ulysses S. Grant, supreme court justices, actors, artists, scientists, educators and the list goes on. Approximately 100 lecturers appear at Chautauqua during a season. It was here that I heard Al Gore deliver his presentation "An Inconvenient Truth" which served as my own inspirational ah ha moment that launched the concept for Green Paper Company.

Many of my most cherished moments have been at Chautauqua. My father, a violinist, played in the orchestra for over forty years and as a child that summered here I was given extraordinary freedom and growth opportunities available in very few places. As a teen I worked in the theater department, a summer job that greatly influenced my career path for years to come. As an adult I return, not only in summer, to seek refuge from the busy, hectic day to day life I have come to lead.

Chautauquans are stewards of a national treasure. It is designated both a National Historic District and a National Historic Landmark. In keeping with 21st century ethics- a focus on a green, eco-conscious lifestyle has emerged. Chautauqua is committed to practicing responsible environmental stewardship and sustainability. I was pleased to see this growing list of current stewardship practices as listed on their website:

-Tree management and planting
-Planting of lakefront buffer zone vegetation
-Use of phosphate-free dishwasher and laundry detergent to conserve the lake's ecosystem
-Lawn and grounds fertilizer reduction to reduce seaweed overgrowth
-Commitment to storm water management in new construction, renovations, road construction
-Use of re-cycled water (effluent) for irrigation at the golf course
-Energy efficiency audit, and upgrades to Chautauqua Institution facilities including increased use of energy-efficient lighting
-Purchase of electric trams, bio-diesel buses
-Green Design standards and rewards
-Wildlife habitat preservation
-Substitution of e-publications for paper
-Use of recycled and recyclable products

This past week I decided to lay low, relax and participate only on the fringe. This meant: attending 2 symphony performances, 2 lectures about developing alternative energy sources- "Powering the Future", a Department of Religion lecture by the incredibly inspiring Karen Armstrong, a film starring Tilda Swinton- "I am Love", and, a trifle, ditty of a play called Macbeth. ;) I sat out listening to Salman Rushdie speak... opting for a nap instead!

So you get the idea- even "relaxing" is packed full of endless options! I often describe Chautauqua as Club Med for intellectuals and artists and it is an amazing oasis for the talented and curious. It draws people of all ages and is a perfect spot for young families, teens, and it is a mecca for seniors as well. Needless to say, I am a bit partial! But if you are looking for an idyllic place to recharge and regroup this may just be the ticket.

To read more- visit the official Chautauqua website and plan a trip for next summer!

All photos via: ciweb.org and The Chautauqua Daily


Gone Fishing!

Green Paper Company will be closed for vacation
August 16 - August 20. We're all looking forward to some much need R&R and we will re-open Monday, August 23. Have a great week!!

Photo via: http://www.cpaphilblog.com


Green School Supplies- ReBINDER

Looking for greener school supplies as the kids go back to school? Or a brighter shade of green to organize your office? Let us introduce you to one of our favorite companies- RE-BINDER. We've used their product for several years now for all of our internal office supplies and it's the company we used to create all of our sales rep kits and press kits.

ReBinder is the only true zero waste office supply manufacturer. A privately owned business in Seattle, Washington, their philosophy offers a balanced approach to providing exceptional office supply basics that reduce their, and your, environmental footprint. Their products are 100% recycled... and contain 85% post-consumer waste and 15% post-industrial waste.

Making products responsibly means considering the source of the materials, the use of the products and where they end up at the end of their life. When used for events and training or simply every day internal use, their products raise both brand and environmental awareness while helping responsible organizations reduce solid waste and lower their carbon footprint.

Assembled by a local, AbilityOne certified disabled workforce, all ReBinder product materials are sourced from responsibly managed forests and verified FSC and SFI certified sources. With each purchase of ReBinder products, solid waste, greenhouse gas, energy, tree and water consumption are reduced. Product line includes everything from 3 ring binders, page dividers, labels, CD cases and pocket folders.

ReBinder products have recently been nominated for the Best Office Products in North America. Retailers take note: ReBINDER also offers their product on a wholesale basis. Learn more about their product and how they stack up against traditional vinyl binders here.


Friday Cocktail TIme... Lovely Lillet

By far, my favorite cocktail this summer is the ever popular, lovely Lillet. I favor it in a vintage champagne glass, on ice with a slice of orange. Just a perfect way to welcome in a summer weekend evening, or any summer evening as it seems!!

For purposes of this blog, I thought I would have to look long and hard for the eco merits of this aperitif, but, as it turns out, I did not have to look far. Lillet made it's debut in 1872- by the Lillet brothers- French distillers. Lillet uses only the finest ingredients and is a blend of carefully selected wines combined with herbs and fruit. Made in the Bordeaux region much the same way as it always has been, Lillet is made from a secret recipe passed down through generations.

It really is the perfect French aperitif. Intended to be consumed at the start of a meal, with light fare- it gained it's 15 minutes of fame by none other than James Bond in Casino Royal.

The label graphics are alone well worth the price of the bottle. They have a long history and have graced french metro stations and prominent locations with ad campaigns for decades. It's a good time to start to collecting them and drink hearty- Lillet is getting hard to come by with state alcohol quotas limiting it's distribution. Below- a few fave recipes and find/read more about the rich history here. Cheers!

Lillet Royale
One mint leaf

3 drops Angustora bitters

Lillet Blanc
Ice cube
Slice of lime

Lillet Kiss
Equal quantities of Lillet Blanc and Lillet Rouge

Drop of crème de cassis

Schweppes or Perrier

Slice of Orange


Flower font

Check out this new font! Designer Mykl Roventine walks you through the steps of designing this summer fab font - Read more here...
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