Heirloom Tomato Benefit Sale

Friday, May 19, 2017

HOTLIPS Pizza announces the 5th Annual Ulisse Edera Tomato Sale on Friday, May 19, 2017, from 11AM – 5PM at HOTLIPS Pizza in Ecotrust (721 NW 9th Avenue) in Portland’s Pearl District. Each one-gallon plant is $10 and 100% of sales go to support Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center.

HOTLIPS owner, David Yudkin, has saved seeds and propagated these tomato plants since meeting Ulisse Edera in 1984 in Edera’s garden in the Ardenwald neighborhood of Milwaukie, south of Portland, where many of Portland’s early Italian truck farms were located.

Born in Canelli, Italy, in August 1890, Ulisse was an orphan raised by 3 different families, finally in Colcavagno, Austria, where he attended school. After serving in the Italian Army, Ulisse followed his brother to the US at age 23, filed citizenship papers at La Grande, OR, in 1916, and in 1917 joined the US Army. Ulisse and his brother made weekend visits to the Italian families living in Ardenwald, who farmed and sold produce at the Portland Farmers Market. It was there he met his wife, Daria, and at age 31 Ulisse and Daria were married. In 1925 they built a house on 32nd Avenue in Ardenwald and continued farming on 22 acres then known as Johnson Creek Farms. They both lived in that house the rest of their lives with close Italian neighbors and many friends nearby.

Every inch of Ulisse’s small yard was planted with vegetables and flowers. He grew 200 pounds of garlic every year, drying it and selling it, along with homemade vinegar. A visit with Ulisse always included a taste of his “bagnait” on dried bread with a sip or two of red wine. Visitors left his house without a bag of garden delights picked during your visit. Ulisse died at age 103. Though he had slowed down some, he was still gardening, cooking, preserving foods, hunting mushrooms on Mt Hood, welcoming visitors and visiting neighbors at that time.

Many thanks to HOTLIPS for hosting this fantastic benefit for the past 5 years!