Saturday, August 16, 2014

Variety Feature - Tomatoes

We've finally realized that we're running on fumes as we work towards being ready for the PFI Field Day at the farm tomorrow.  The result is that we haven't had the energy to spare for the creative work that is blogging.  Then, Rob realized that you all might enjoy a few things to help you identify what is in your shares and what to do with them.

First things first - we'd like to remind you that we do have lots of information on vegetable varieties here on our website.
We also have recipes at this location on our website.

Some of the information in this post can be found on our website as well.  But, the great thing is that there is MUCH more on the website than there is here.  Between the two, we have some pretty good resources.

Without further ado - we thought we'd give you the low down on one of the tomatoes that you've already seen on your shares.  We've noticed that the tomatoes are much more variable in size and shape this season.  Average weight is much lower than usual.  But, taste and texture have been very good.  So, we'll take it!


Italian Heirloom
Italian Heirloom tomato
Resists Cracking
Disease resistance
Days to Maturity
Fruit Per Plant
Typical Harvest Period
Size of Fruit
.85 pounds

Easy to peel, slice and can with little waste. This variety tends to start production earlier in the season than any other large tomato. These do not leave juice all over the board when you slice or dice them, very meaty and great for BLT sandwiches! The fruits are usually round with a slight elongation towards the bottom and tend toward an orangish-red when ripe. In other words, they don't quite go to the 'fire engine' red that some people think is a typical tomato color. This is probably our favorite tomato to recommend to restaurants or persons who need a high volume for an event. As a grower, you won't find a better all around large tomato. The reliability rating took a hit in 2008 with a very weak year. However, plants we sold to persons in the area did extremely well. We have traced the problem to a soil drainage issue in the area these were planted. It's a tribute to the plants that they did anything. Plants can sometimes be a little 'weepy' looking until they bush out since they are related to roma varieties. It is important that you put transplants in deeply to avoid stem breakage in the wind. 

2013 Report: We were grateful that Italian Heirloom matures quickly with our late planting in 2013. Crops were sufficient to make us wonder if we would get close to a record production year from these plants and we would have if we had not failed to stake a dozen of the plants we put in. Contact with the ground results in fruit rot, even if there is mulch. Plants are smaller than many, so we go with the smaller, square cages from Nolt's and find that they are perfect size for these plants. A daycare asked for about 100 pounds of larger tomatoes to process for Winter. One hundred and five tomatoes later, I had the order filled and had more than enough to give our CSA members a couple each that same week. These are well worth figuring out how to grow.

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