Craig D. Cramer has just directed us to his Cornell Horticulture blog post about Late Blight disease observed in tomatoes and potatoes in the Northeast.
This is the same disease that caused the Irish potato famine, and it is apparently extremely contagious in wet weather like this super-rainy spring.
It arrived in Ireland in 1845 on ships from North America, and in the Northeast in 2009, possibly in containers of seedlings grown in the South.
I hate starting seedlings and every year, I swear I will never do it again. This year, after babysitting carefully chosen varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants (including a Turkish orange variety) for two months under fluorescent lights and waiting, like a mature person, until May 31st to plant them–they were all wiped out in one night by a June frost. GRRRRR!
But maybe start-your-own is really the way to go. Because a summer without homegrown tomatoes is not a tragedy on the level of no potatoes for a population eating nothing but–but it is quite sad nonetheless.