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Tomatoes And Family On This West Virginia Morning

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On this West Virginia Morning, we have a story about a special tomato that’s been preserved for more than 100 years. Also, we share a story of resilience as families already struggling with the opioid epidemic must also navigate a global health pandemic.

The opioid epidemic hit families hard, and now, the pandemic is making things even harder. Despite this, people are finding ways to move forward. Within the past decade, the number of children in West Virginia’s foster care system has increased by more than 65 percent. Today, roughly 7,000 children are in state custody. Emily Corio has the story.

An heirloom tomato breed called Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter tomato got its start in Logan County. A man known as Radiator Charlie bred two varieties of tomato together to get a giant, juicy fruit. Many people bought his $1 tomato plant that Charlie was able to use to pay off his house. That’s how the “mortgage lifter” got its name. There is a lesser-known West Virginia tomato, however, also called the “mortgage lifter,” that’s older than Radiator Charlie’s. Inside Appalachia Folkways reporter Zack Harold has more.

West Virginia Morning is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting which is solely responsible for its content.

Support for our news bureaus comes from West Virginia University, Concord University, and Shepherd University.

Listen to West Virginia Morning weekdays at 7:43 a.m. on WVPB Radio or subscribe to the podcast and never miss an episode. #WVMorning