Photo of the Week
—————— Monday, October 11, 2021 ——————
FROM THE SCHS LIBRARY ARCHIVES
“How shall we know it is us without our past?”
– John Steinbeck
LIRR Experimental Farm # 1: “Peace and Plenty”
by Wendy Polhemus-Annibell, Head Librarian
Edith Fullerton Among the Tomato Harvest, Wading River, c. 1900. Photograph by Hal B. Fullerton. Hand-colored. (From the Harry T. Tuthill Fullerton Collection of the Suffolk County Historical Society Library Archives. Copyright © Suffolk County Historical Society. All rights reserved. ED: to see Fullerton photo, please visit SCHS website.)
Edith Loring Fullerton, photographer Hal B. Fullerton’s spouse, is shown here at the Wading River LIRR Experimental Farm cleaning tomatoes by the railroad tracks that extended to the area in the early twentieth century. In the hand-colored print reproduced from a glass-plate negative, one can see that the tomatoes themselves share the size and shape of the heirloom tomato known today as ‘Brandywine.’ In 1905, Edith wrote about growing tomatoes and other gardening topics in her book How to Make a Vegetable Garden:
The tomato…is a native of a warm climate, that of South America, and in the old days it was considered a curious rarity in North America. Its name was then the ‘Love Apple,’ for it was so often used in courtship as to be highly prized by the damsel who received it from her preferred lover; and it was also much in demand as a mantel ornament. Great was the dismay among our grandmothers when the younger generation began eating the fruit, for it was considered distinctly poisonous. The original tomato was very small, not much larger than a cherry, and it has been used in our country as an edible only during the last 50 years…. We always have two kinds [of tomatoes] in our garden, large red and yellow egg.
On 10 acres of land along the LIRR tracks in Wading River, Edith and her husband set up the LIRR Experimental Farm #1, nicknamed “Peace and Plenty.” Their success at Wading River led to LIRR Experimental Farm #2, “Prosperity Farm,” in Medford, where 80 acres were cleared and planted. Over a period of many years during the early twentieth century, both farms were an enormous success, as the Fullertons grew nearly a thousand varieties of produce, many of them prize-winners at county and state fairs.
Suggested Reading: How to Make a Vegetable Garden: A Practical and Suggestive Manual for the Home Garden, by Edith Loring Fullerton (Doubleday, 1905).
Join us on Thursday, October 14, 2021 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM for a “Night at the Museum”- Costume Party ~ Reception ~ Fundraiser – in celebration of our newly installed Gory Gallery Exhibit! $20 per guest. Reserve in advance: (631) 727-2881 x100. Costumes (and masks) highly recommended! Ages 16 and older. Light refreshments will be served.