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Old February 12, 2018   #1
JosephineRose
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Default Trip to Italy - Varieties to Look for?

Hello,

We are planning my first ever trip to Italy in April, and I would like to bring back some lasting memories in the form of tomato seeds.

I've applied for my USDA small lot of seed permit so I may bring a few packets back through customs with me (limit is 50 seeds total per type of plant).

I am looking for suggestions on delicious and hard to find varieties to look for and places to find them for sale. Online is an option, because I have a friend over there I can ship to and pick up from when I am in Rome.

We will be visiting Rome, Naples, Pompeii and Sorrento.

What Italian varieties are not to be missed?
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Old February 12, 2018   #2
Ann123
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Exciting and fun! Beautiful country, delicious food.
I can't help you. I don't know which varieties are easy enough to find in those cities but hard to find in the USA.
I always wonder how travelers find seed. In Europe garden centers are usually outside the cities. And those garden centers sell all the same (unexciting) stuff. At least it is like this in Belgium. For cool varieties I go to a family business in a small village where my parents live. Or I order through internet.
I wonder where one could find good seed sources while traveling.
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Old February 12, 2018   #3
Cole_Robbie
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I believe you can cut up a tomato in a jar, label it "salsa," and then declare it as you enter. The worst that can happen is that they take it away from you. The important part is that you declare it.


https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/det...X3Y0eDc5Rm4%3D

The following are generally admissible:
- Condiments such as ketchup (catsup), mustard, mayonnaise, Marmite and Vegemite and prepared sauces that do not contain meat products

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Old February 12, 2018   #4
rhines81
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If you avoid tourist places when dining out and go where the locals eat you can often find family heirlooms that they have been growing for years. If you like the flavor of what you have eaten, simply ask for seed (or a whole tomato or dried pepper).
I sometimes bring seeds (from salads or whole dried peppers) home when I travel and just put them in an envelope in my laptop case.
Cole had a great suggestion regarding the "salsa".
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Old February 12, 2018   #5
oakley
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Not fresh tomato season in April. I lived in Rome for a year just off Campo di Fiori
where one of the major farmer markets is located. Fun market that you should seek
out.
Definitely the time of year to buy seed packets.

When I travel and come across a good tomato I just swipe it on a napkin and air dry
in the hotel.
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Old February 12, 2018   #6
MdTNGrdner
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann123 View Post
I wonder where one could find good seed sources while traveling.

I have wondered this too! DH travels all over the world and so often I have thought, "Where can he go get some seeds to bring home?"
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Old February 12, 2018   #7
Worth1
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Roma.

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Old February 13, 2018   #8
mdvpc
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I have been to Italy many times. You will find out that most seed for sale, and tomatoes that are in markets are hybrids. I have several friends in Italy that tried to search out heirlooms and they always came up short. Good luck
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Old February 13, 2018   #9
charline
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May be Fritz from Italy can help you. Try to contact him.
If not, May be I can find an adress of a person I did a seed exchange two years ago. He has some very nice varieties.

Last edited by charline; February 13, 2018 at 12:57 PM.
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Old March 7, 2018   #10
cwavec
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Default Small Lots of Seed

Please take care here.

Your P37 permit does NOT allow hand-carried seeds to enter the country.
I don't remember exactly where, but this is explicitly stated in the paper-
work you have, probably somewhere in the three pages of conditions
following the permit itself on the first page.

I see the many suggestions made about wonderful varieties you might find
but you need to study carefully the rules for the Small Lots of Seed Program.

I have just been through an episode (in the last two weeks) of using the
program to import several packets of Dona F1 tomato and a couple of
French melon varieties. It worked well enough but believe me it was
very arduous to get things right.

Basically, you have to mail (or courier) your seeds to a USDA plant
quarantine station using the green and yellow labels on the outside
of the parcel. There are other tricks too. You can PM me if you like
and I will try to help
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Old March 9, 2018   #11
MissS
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Well then, we trade seeds with people over there all of the time. I have declared what was in the envelope and they arrived just fine. So... just mail the seeds to yourself and all will be well.
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Old March 9, 2018   #12
cwavec
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Default Not exactly true

Well no, this is not exactly true. In fact it is strictly illegal to do
what you are talking about.

I don't mean to be Tomatoville's "legal monitor". In fact I have done the
same thing myself. But if you look at a couple of other threads in this
very forum, you will see that some people have been caught and faced
serious threats.

I agree that if you just mail seeds to yourself they will get through most
of the time but it is not safe to predict that "all will be well", apart from
the very sound reasons for the restrictions.

Moreover, JosephineRose is hoping to "bring back some lasting memories"
by hand carrying seeds through customs. This can be a very unpleasant
experience and, again, I speak from having been in that situation. It is
not fun and can be dangerous. At the very minimum, she is likely to find
that officials will seize and destroy her carefully collected and cherished
memories.

JosephineRose is on the right track by trying to use the Small Lots of Seed
program though she is clearly misinformed about several aspects of it.
That is no wonder; it is complex and difficult to understand. I am not an
unalloyed apologist for the Small Lots of Seed program; it could be
better but once you take the time (and make the effort) to get registered
and understand how to use it, things are not so bad. And it does at least
help protect all of us against the potential introduction of some very
nasty diseases.
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Old March 9, 2018   #13
JosephineRose
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Thank you all for your feedback.

Actually, you can apply for a separate small lot of seed permit to hand carry. You do it the same place online with the USDA. You select "personal baggage" as means of transportation.

You do this separately from the mail permit, but in the same manner. You simply request a new permit. You can have more then one, it is up to the USDA to approve or not.

I wonder why it gives that option if it is not truly available?

Last edited by JosephineRose; March 9, 2018 at 01:25 PM.
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Old March 9, 2018   #14
cwavec
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Default I hope you are right

@JosephineRose

I hope you are right. I do remember seeing something like that but am
sure that elsewhere they say you can't.

This is surely an indication of how convoluted the process is.

One thing I do want to ask is whether you have received the permit.
In my case, although for a mail permit, it was issued in one day along
with the labels.

My case was much more complicated because I was ordering online
from a French retailer (Graines Baumaux) who does not ship to the
US. In any case it would have been nearly impossible to explain to
a retailer all the requirements for documentation and expect them
to be able to follow through. I had to have Baumaux ship to a mail
forwarder in England and then I separately sent a package of documents
to the forwarder and had them combine the necessary contents of the
two packages while discarding all the advertising and bonus items.
It was also necessary to get them to place the green and yellow label
and another label on the outside, etc., etc. Then it went to DHL. The
tracking was inadequate in that customs grabbed the package and
sent it straight to USDA instead of letting DHL "deliver" it. Once it
was in the hands of USDA things went smoothly. They passed it
right away and sent it on in a prepaid mailer I had included with
the documents. DHL never did figure out what happened and a few
days later emailed me a bogus "proof of delivery". I didn't care
because I had already received my seeds. Needless to say, this was
all very expensive.

Whew!!!!!

Please let us know what your experiences are. As I said, I am not
particularly a fan of this program but I do have to acknowledge that
it worked for me. I also suspect that if you have an acquaintance in
another country with whom you want to exchange seeds, it could
be possible to winnow all this down to a point where it might
actually be fairly sensible. That of course is for incoming exchanges.
I have no idea what the procedure would be in the other direction.
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Old March 9, 2018   #15
JosephineRose
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Well isn't this interesting? I logged in to download the permit that was approved, and I got the labels along with the no hand carry language you referred to, even though I applied to hand carry. So the application to hand carry was approved - to mail.

No matter, I do have a friend over there who can mail to me with the labels that I package myself. I will just have her post them to me. I will come with the color labels and packaging all prepared. I can even have her order some seeds from retailers that don't ship to the US, and have them delivered to her house and then ship on.

But isn't that fascinating?
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