Mail Call November/December 2015: Heirloom Tomatoes, Cast-Iron Cooking, Home Soap Making and More

Share our readers’ experiences growing heirloom tomatoes, cooking with cast iron, making hay, growing food and enjoying life out where the pavement ends.

  • Dan Foster's tomato bounty.
    Photo courtesy Dan Foster
  • Fresh bread baked in a cast-iron Dutch oven in the backyard wood-fired brick oven.
    Photo courtesy Debby Greenlaw
  • The quilt top has 56 blocks made up of 8,064 little 1-inch squares.
    Photo courtesy Amie Lobaugh
  • Steve Pate makes a variety of hand-carved tools out of Osage orange and other woods.
    Photo by Steve Pate
  • From the good old days: Push was a publication published monthly for Grit salesmen.
    Photo from the GRIT Archives
  • Susan Abbott and family were one of several winners of our Homesteaders of the Year recognition. To enter for 2016, send an email to
    Photo courtesy Susan Abbott
  • The morning after the Grit party, my son, Judd, and I set to work assembling the Hoss Tools.
    Photo courtesy Susan Abbott
  • Peach Cobbler, recipe from the pages of the GRIT Comfort Foods Cookbook.
    Photo courtesy Susan Abbott

Cast-Iron Love

Just a quick note to let you know that I really enjoyed your article on cast-iron cookware (“Cooking With Cast Iron” July/August). It is the only way to cook, and the cookware will make a great gift to pass on to the grandchildren.

Just recently I hit the jackpot at a garage sale. There were two stacks of cast-iron skillets, but halfway down the first stack was a Griswold No. 7 skillet in perfect condition. The sign said “All skillets $10.” That $10 bill came out of my wallet so fast it almost burst into flames. I love Griswold iron because it is so well-made compared to some of the iron cookware today. Cast iron will be around when all this nonstick aluminum stuff will be but a faint memory. Keep up the good work.

Cornbread forever,

Mike Lundquist, Underwood, Minnesota

Tomato Harvest

I’ve been an avid urban gardener for about seven years now. In September 2008, Hurricane Ike blew through my neighborhood and took down the maple tree that had shaded my entire backyard. With an abundance of sunlight, I dug in and caught the fever of urban farming.

Last year, my tomatoes didn’t do too well, and I bought a large box of heirlooms at a farmers’ market. They were so good, I saved some seeds. Here are a few photos of my crop from these seeds.

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