When the tomatoes on Amy Giaquinta's 65 plants begin to ripen every summer, she faces a dilemma familiar to gardeners: too much of a good thing. But Amy and her husband, Jerry, have figured out the perfect solution. They invite their friends and Napa Valley neighbors over for an unconventional garden party.
The tomato bash that the Giaquintas host every August allows them to make a minor dent in their multicolored crop of organic heirloom tomatoes with names like Moonglow and Aunt Ruby's German Green. Many of the people they invite are customers who plan to buy seedlings (called "tomato starts") in the spring for their gardens. The party gives them a chance to check out the goods.
"I would never have guessed that Amy would gravitate to gardening," says Jerry, a former Hollywood film executive and now a marketing consultant. A lifelong urbanite, Amy had been involved in media too, working in television production about 10 years ago. When the couple bought their two-acre Napa estate in 2002, it desperately needed tending. "The weeds were bigger than I was," recalls Amy, who worked with an artist friend to turn the former horse pasture into a landscape of vegetables, fruit trees and flowers.