Want to buy this man’s Italian, 100-year-old heirloom seed tomatoes for your garden? Wish granted. Go to HOTLIPS Pizza’s 2nd annual, Ulisse Edera Tomato Sale — a one-day plant sale at its Ecotrust location next Friday, May 17th from 9am-5pm. Each one-gallon tomato plant will be $10 and 100% of sales go to support Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Here’s more info. pretty much straight from the press release…
HOTLIPS owner, David Yudkin, has saved seeds and propagated these 100 year old tomato plants since meeting the late Ulisse Edera in 1984 in Edera’s garden south of Portland in Milwaukie’s Ardenwald neighborhood, where many of Portland’s early Italian truck farms were located.
Born in Canelli, Italy, in August, 1890, Ulisse was an orphan raised by three different families, finally in Colcavagno, Austria, where he attended school. After serving in the Italian Army, Ulisse followed his brother to the US at age 23, hand carrying tomato seeds on the voyage. Ulisse filed citizenship papers at La Grande, Oregon in 1916, and in 1917 joined the US Army. The brothers made weekend visits to the Italian families living in Ardenwald, who farmed and sold produce at the Portland Farmers Market. It was there he met his wife, Daria, and at age 31 Ulisse and Daria were married. In 1925 they built a house on 32nd Avenue in Ardenwald and continued farming on 22 acres then known as Johnson Creek Farms. They both lived in that house the rest of their lives with close Italian neighbors and many friends nearby.
Every inch of Ulisse’s small yard was planted with vegetables and flowers. He grew 200 pounds of garlic every year, drying it and selling it, along with homemade vinegar. A visit with Ulisse always included a taste of his “bagnait” on dried bread with a sip or two of red wine. Visitors left his house without a bag of garden delights picked during their visit. Ulisse died at age 103. Though he had slowed down some, he was still gardening, cooking, preserving foods, hunting mushrooms on Mt. Hood, welcoming visitors and visiting neighbors at that time.
About Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center
Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center, (a private 501(c)3 non-profit), was founded in 1989 as Friends of Opal Creek to gain protection of the Opal Creek watershed for future generations to study and enjoy, a goal we achieved in 1996. Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center maintains and stewards Jawbone Flats, a rejuvenated historic mining town in the heart of the 35,000-acre ancient forest watershed of the Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Recreation Area. We are located on the west slope of the Cascade Mountains, one hour east of Salem, Oregon, and approximately two hours from Portland, two and a half from Eugene and three from Bend. Opal Creek’s Mission” “Promoting conservation through educational experiences in wilderness.”
Founded in 1984, HOTLIPS is a Portland family-owned business with five pizza restaurants and a line of real fruit soda. Our mission is to preserve culture and celebrate humanity through rich culinary experiences, and by joining others in finding new and sustainable ways of doing business. Currently with 135 on staff, we train our folks to get out and talk about sustainability, ask questions, think of new things. We spend a lot of time teaching, taking our show on the road. We love what we do.
2nd Annual Ulisse Edera Tomato Sale
Friday, May 17th
9am-5pm at HOTLIPS Pizza @ Ecotrust
721 NW 9th Ave., #150
Portland, Oregon 97209