Tracking Down Those Heritage Days Tomatoes

Macomb, IL – A soil scientist at Western Illinois University is looking for some tomato plants.

Members of the Food Initiatives Group (FIG) handed out the plants during the Heritage Days parade in Macomb at the end of June.

Assistant Agriculture Professor Joel Gruver - who is a FIG member - says he grew more than 350 plants for the parade. He says almost all were handed out. He would like to hear what happened to them.

"I'm interested in the human experience and how people relate to plants," says Gruver. "The goal of giving out those plants is to nurture more people enjoying the pleasure of growing tomato plants."

He says there is an obvious difference between homegrown tomatoes and what can be bought at the store. He hopes the Heritage Days plants gave more people a chance to experience that taste difference.

Gruver says he nurtured the plants for about five weeks before they were distributed. He says they were about six inches tall when he last saw them. He says it's not essential that he hear from people, but he would like to interact with anyone who has a story or photos to share.

Gruver can be reached at or through the School of Agriculture at Western Illinois University.

The School of Agriculture celebrates its 90th anniversary this weekend during its annual Ag Day event at Hanson Field before and during the Leathernecks football game against North Dakota State University. Game time is 1:05pm.