Iowa’s Champion ‘Tomato Girl’ And The Secrets Of Her Success 100 Years Ago

Parents in Page County, Iowa, in 1915 hoped the actions of a local farm girl would cause similar seeds of thought to “germinate in the fertile minds of our youth.”

Eloise Parsons, 14, a member of the Page County Tomato Club, was honored for her work as a model tomato grower. On a small one-tenth of an acre tract of land near Clarinda, she grew a bumper crop of vegetables in the summer of 1914. After deducting her expenses of $15.61, which included renting the land, applying fertilizers, and her labor at a rate of ten cents per hour, Eloise saw a profit of $115.57. Iowa History, a weekly column, appears at IowaWatch on Saturdays. Cheryl Mullenbach is the author of non-fiction books for young people.