The stories about the tomato blight are all over the news, including this op-ed piece in the New York Times, “You Say Tomato, I Say Agricultural Disaster.”
To my understanding it is an airborne fungus that wipes out tomato and potato crops. This year it’s affecting tomatoes hard.
From what I’ve read, the way it started this is year can be traced to the big businesses such as K-Mart, Wal-Mart and Home Depot. They buy their plants from industrial farms down South, which had the outbreak.
These plants were then shipped up north and sold to farmers and consumers. Since it’s an airborne disease direct contact isn’t necessary and it can affect a much larger population of plants.
Looking at my cherry tomato plants, they seem to be blight resistant.
The main reason why I think they are is because I bought from Silver Heights Farm, a local nursery.
Trina, the gardener at Silver Heights, starts from seed and oversees everything herself. The distance the plant travels from Silver Heights to my gardens is 30-40 miles, so there is less chance for exposure to disease.
It’s also easier for a local nursery to identify and isolate any chance of blight or disease at first look. The big industrial farms have too much acreage to be able to. By the time it’s noticed, it’s already planted in your garden and effecting your crop.
While it’s not guaranteed that what you buy from your local nursery won’t have blight, I think there is a much better chance of it not than if you were to buy from a big chain store.