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Family Heritage and Heirloom Tomatoes

I thought I would say a very quick hello and share a tidbit about who I am - the face behind the tomatoes! My name is Lisa Troutner and I am the organic gardener, artist, photographer and founder of Carmel Bella Farm. I am a passionate farmer specializing in sustainably producing the most beautiful varieties of rare heirloom tomatoes imaginable, but grow a vast array of other colorful crops as well. I am deeply in love with nature and what it provides for our mind, body and soul and with that, have found a love in creating intricate mosaic like artwork- using the pallet of rainbow colored produce that is grown in our gardens.

Fun fact: My grandmother was born in Croatia where her and her family farmed heirloom tomatoes, lavender, grapes, olives and more. She moved to the US as a young woman and I grew up wandering through her tomato gardens on the coast of California and marveling over her gorgeous, handmade, stained glass art that graced nearly every window of her home. Her kindness was contagious and she was an amazing gardener, a gifted artist and worked magic in the kitchen.

In my late teens, I felt a magnetic pull towards gardening, and my passion for growing tomatoes started shortly after. As things evolved and the harvests grew and grew, the beauty all around me began to look like a magical paint pallet made from nature. I had tomatoes covering every counter in my home. I felt drawn to create with what I had grown (sounds silly, but I fell in love)... and I began making intricate art pieces with the produce grown in my gardens. I didn’t know where this unusual expression was coming from, but searching for answers, I believe this love for what I do could very much run deep in my bones and stem from my family lineage.

My grandmother and I both having a deep love for working in nature, cultivating, creating and sharing. Her intricate stained glass art, very much like mine, and her love of growing tomatoes was something I mirrored. She passed away before I realized our resemblance, but I feel her love in the garden every day. I was lucky to grow up with this example.

I also had a mother and father who connected me deeply with nature, being raised on a property surrounded by plants, animals, flowers and majestic redwood trees.… My father an artistic stone mason, landscaper and musician and my mother a fierce independent beauty who loved, music, dancing, nature, and alternative medicine- later becoming an acupuncturist. I had a brother and sister to play in the dirt with who have grown to be just as passionate about health and the earth as I am. My brother is now a well traveled Environmental Scientist and skilled gardener and stone mason and my sister has a dual masters working as a Gene Scientist and Registered Dietician. We grew up having a garden to learn from, artistic landscapes to meander and tending to the earth.

Carmel Bella’s certified organic farm originated in the coastal mountains of Carmel Valley, CA, but we are currently in North Idaho, building a new farm. It is a work in progress and we can’t wait to invite you to visit! Thank you for joining us on our journey!


Visit our SEED SHOP to view our beautiful collection

Visit our SEED STARTING GUIDE to help you grow tomatoes successfully

Visit our AMAZON STORE to find our favorite tomato growing supplies


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