This Manhattan Socialite Takes Good Care of Her Heirlooms

A new tomato tome from Amy Goldman.

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You’d expect to find invaluable heirlooms in the multi-million dollar homes on Fifth Avenue, but Amy Goldman’s tastes in treasure run in the vegetal vein.

Daughter of famed mogul Sol Goldman (who counted the Stanhope and the Hyde Park Hotels among his many properties), this Manhattan blueblood was destined to dwell among ladies who lunch, but as one of the foremost experts on vanishing biodiversity Goldman could school socialistas on the tomatoes and cucumbers in that Four Seasons salad.

Like so many Manhattanites, Goldman’s green thumb sprouted on her family’s Long Island estate where, as a teenager, she nurtured her first tomato plants in a ramshackle greenhouse and vowed to shed skyscrapers in favor of, well, sheds. “It just spoke to me,” the real-estate heiress remembers of the dilapidated building, “but what did I know from growing?”

Eventually, plenty: Those August treasures would become the seedlings of a lifelong love of bountiful botany which has born fruit in books on open-pollinated squashes and melons, and now on her first round, red inspiration; in August she added The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table ($35, Bloomsbury). Goldman spent more than five years testing over 1,000 varietals before narrowing the cast down to a final 200 featured toms, each accompanied by painstaking descriptions, poetic musings and Victor Schrager’s gorgeous photographs. We apprise these humble heirloom seeds to be more valuable than any Tiffany’s tennis bracelet — and we’re all the heirs.

Photo credit: Stephen Munshin. 




Amy Zavatto is the daughter of an old school Italian butcher who used to sell bay scallops alongside steaks, and is also the former Deputy Editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She holds her Level III Certification in Wine and Spirits from the WSET, and contributes to Imbibe, Whisky Advocate, SOMMJournal,, and others. She is the author of Forager's Cocktails: Botanical Mixology with Fresh, Natural Ingredients and The Architecture of the Cocktail. She's stomped around vineyards from the Finger Lakes to the Loire Valley and toured distilleries everywhere from Kentucky to Jalisco to the Highlands of Scotland. When not doing all those other things, Amy is the Director of the Long Island Merlot Alliance.