Posted by: hightides | October 29, 2008

The Last Tomato

Yesterday I wandered through the dead tomato plants shaking my head over all the tomatoes left behind.  I found four more good sized green ones and picked them, but it was very sad. There will be no more fresh-picked tomatoes until June 2009!

During tomato season, I have fresh tomatoes with every breakfast. I eat fried Spam sandwiches with mayonnaise and thick slices of tomato. I make spaghetti sauce with fresh tomatoes and peppers. There are always bowls, baskets, and plates of tomatoes in the kitchen. (Fruit flies, too, but that’s another post…) I love the colors, the shapes, the different textures of my heirlooms. I like taking mixed bags of cherry tomatoes to market. I like seeing boxes of tomatoes on my farm stand shelves and on the farmers’ market cart. I like walking through the tomato cages and plucking a fresh Sungold directly into my mouth. I like the smell of tomato plants and hot tomatoes growing in the sun.

I look up new varieties, swap seeds all over the country, and keep up with the TomatoMania Yahoo group. I take notes on how different varieties do in our hot and dry summers. I keep lists of new ones to try next year. There’s always a next year when you grow tomatoes…

I have a database of my tomato trials. Actually, I have a database for every year:  five years ago, I grew nine varieties; this year there were 73. About 350 plants.

What do we do with all of these? Sell them, can them, dry them, sun-dry them, give them away. Some trials produce little or no fruit (we’ve said goodbye to Brandywines forever), some produce enough to sell to specialty stores (love those Mini Orange and Fox Cherries!), some we grow just for our own canning (black plums) or drying (Principe de Borghese), or tomato sandwiches (Cherokee Purple). On a good day at the farmers’ markets, we can sell 100 pounds of tomatoes very easily– not that we always have that many.  They’re just so beautiful, people HAVE to buy them.

We grow beautiful food.

–Dev

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