It could originally have come from Germany and may have been taken to America by emigrants before returning to Europe. When Meyer walks through her greenhouse on Kirchweg in Dreieich, between the districts of Buchschlag and Sprendlingen, and passes the tall plants, she can enjoy a large variety of tomatoes that look and taste differently.
About 500 plants have grown under glass in the past weeks and months and have hung up to a height of about two meters. Meyer helped, attaching the thin shoots to thin rods and long cords so that they would not break off.
You won’t find any bush and cocktail tomatoes that you know from the supermarket in Meyer’s greenhouse. She grows 40 old varieties whose names many have never heard of. Your customers appreciate that: Meyer’s “Blümchenwiese”, as she called her business, is open twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays from 3pm to 6pm; that is where the tomatoes are sold. According to Meyer’s words, most customers do not ask for a special variety, but instead get a “colorful kilo” for seven euros “and then try it out”.
Meyer has always been interested in plants. She has always sown tomato seeds and given the plants to friends. Meyer speaks of her “secret love”. For a long time, the Stuttgart native had to do with completely different jobs. Meyer studied international management, spent a semester in California and graduated with a degree in business administration. She then worked for several airlines for around 16 years. Most recently she was Marketing Director for a Swiss airline. “That was a really great time and I really loved my job,” says Meyer. Nevertheless, in 2017 she decided to take a break: “I had the feeling that life offers me a chance to start something new again.”
Meyer, now 45 years old, first traveled around for a few months. Later, when she was wondering what she wanted to do in the future, she read a newspaper report and watched a film on television about old tomato varieties that are threatened with extinction. This gave rise to the idea that such varieties should be saved and recultivated.
After a long search, she found a greenhouse in Dreieich that had been empty for 20 years and that she was able to lease: “The blackberries had parties there.” The beginning was difficult. “We had to replace or insert 153 panes in order to make the greenhouse usable again.” Eight years ago she and her husband moved from Fulda to Dreieich. In 2019, Meyer opened her tomato farm in the 400 square meter greenhouse. A few old varieties of tomatoes that can be grown outdoors usually still grow in an outdoor area. Not this year, however. Tomato lovers won’t have fond memories of the summer of 2021: “Much too damp and too cold, the tomatoes don’t like that.”
Only 40 varieties approved as food
There are several thousand types of tomatoes around the world. Meyer emphasizes that only about 40 are allowed to be traded as food in Germany. And in most supermarkets the buyer will only find a small selection of them.