Thursday, September 10, 2009

Not Necessarily Round or Red

The tomato has become a symbol that is used by heirloom vegetable seed proponents to illustrate what is wrong with hybrids and what is right with open-pollinated cultivars. I'll leave that for other posts and/or articles. For now, I thought I'd give a quick look at some of our varieties and how they are doing this year. If you wish to see our web page on heirloom tomatoes - go here.

Italian Heirloom

This has been one of our favorites for several years now. They are very meaty and taste extremely good fresh on sandwiches, in salsas and work pretty well in sauces. They often weight around one pound and will sometimes shape themselves a bit like an oxheart, but are rounder than most tomatoes that claim to be oxheart varieties. It's been another nice year for these plants - even with the stresses put on them (in particular cool weather and blight). These are the earliest big tomatoes we have every grown (hybrid or heirloom).

Jaune Flamme

Wow. This one almost did not make the cut this year. We were looking to trial a few new types and we have to limit how many we do (for obvious reasons). In fact, I believe we decided not to do this one, but R grabbed a packed at Seed Savers anyway because he just couldn't resist. Good thing he couldn't. Excellent production of orange salad sized tomatoes. Several people have picked this one for taste over other snack/salad tomatoes. We like them because they are easier to pick than many small tomatoes. They grow in clusters and the stems come off readily after picking. They rarely if ever crack and they hold well on the plant. What's not to like?

Tasty Evergreen and Aunt Ruby's German Green

Yes, they are ripe when they are green. Yes, the insides are green. Yes, they have an excellent taste. And, they tend to split or have cracked shoulders. Doesn't matter, they're worth the effort to grow them - even if I can't use over two thirds of them.

Black Krim

All purple/black varieties are difficult to grow because they tend to have problems with cracking, blight, etcetera etcetera. But the taste! The greens are good. These are great! The biggest problem is the short period of time you can catch the fruit in good enough condition to market or deliver. It's a shame, really. But, they are what they are. Black Krim has been the best of a batch that includes Cherokee Purple and Black Sea Man. Smaller purple/black varieties include Nyagous and Japanese Black Trifele.

Golden Sunray

Big, sturdy, yellow to yellow-orange fruits keep well on the plant and on the counter. It takes a lot to mar one of these tomatoes. So - yes, they have a thicker skin. But, they are not thin on taste. As with all yellows, they are less acidic. These tomatoes tend to anchor the tail end of production for our tomatoes. They start later than Dr Wyche, Moonglow and Nebraska Wedding. Each has a slightly different taste and are all worth it. I don't see any of these going away any time soon.

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