Barone tomatoes feed FISH food bank coffer

JACQUIE Barone stands outside her greenhouse with a flat full of tomato starts.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
JACQUIE Barone stands outside her greenhouse with a flat full of tomato starts.

Jacquie Barone calls her green thumb project “feeding Hood River one tomato at a time.”

“It’s spring and it’s time for tomato starts again,” Barone said of her annual tomato fundraiser.

Barone grows tomato starts for her family and to share with friends every year, and by donation starting at $1 per plant, with all proceeds going to FISH food bank.

“We raised almost $1,000 last year for the food bank, which equates to about 9,000 meals. Every $1 is leveraged to provide nine meals,” said Barone. “I have over 350 starts this year. So let’s see if we can raise even more.


“It has become such a success that I planted more plants again this year and as usual some new ones,” Barone said. All told, her tomato plant buyers can choose from 35 varieties.

Barone emails the list of plants, and quantities for each, and checks off the inventory as emails and other responses come in; it’s first-come, first-served.

The starts range from the familiar Yellow Pear and Black Cherry to the more exotically named Cosmonaut Volko, Pink Berkley Tie Dye, and Pompeii.

Barone has transplanted all the seedlings in 4-inch pots, and buyers are asked to pick them up by May 1.

Barone said planting time will be ideal in about one week. She said of the project, “It’s just so much fun to spend February in the green house planting seeds and watching them sprout.”

One friend reserves one plant, just one, and gives Barone $5. Others give her $10 to $100 for a few plants.

As Barone says in her email, “If you are feeling generous, you can donate more and rejoice all summer long as you eat all your fabulous tomatoes, knowing that other local families got to eat too.”

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