Arkansas Traveler tomato plants are one of my favorite heirloom tomatoes to grow from seed.
The pretty pink tomatoes are crack and disease resistant, and the plants don't mind the heat and humidity.
Realization Of The Day:
The scary experimental super trim I gave my two Arkansas Traveler tomato plants back on July 7th appears to be a success. What a relief! As you can see, all those green tomatoes at the base of the plants ripened nicely, and the tops have not only filled out with lush new growth but are also putting on quite a few more fruits.
There are two ripe tomatoes with minor pale splotches (I assume from 'sunburn'), but other than that, these beautiful rose colored babies are nearly all perfect and have a great flavor.
The plants were started on 2/6/06 with 2003 seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and transplanted into individual plugs on 3/20/06.
The seedlings were planted in a raised bed full of soil rich with aged sheep manure on 4/20/06. They were mulched with grass clippings which kept all but a few determined weeds from sprouting. I watered them regularly.
If you garden in a location with iffy and unpredictable weather like I do, and/or you often have a hard time getting good looking mature tomatoes, I highly recommend giving this medium-sized variety a try.
Don't forget to save the seeds from your best tomatoes to plant the next year! It's so easy:
1. Slice off the top of the tomato, squeeze the seeds into a small dish (by all means eat the rest of it!)
2. Add a little water (I can't remember why I do this part except that years ago I read that I should—and considering the VFN tomatoes I grew this year were from 5 year old seeds, I'm going to keep doing it).
3. Let them sit around for a day or two, then pour the seeds into a fine strainer, rinse them off, and allow them to dry in a little cotton drawstring bag, or spread out on some waxed paper in a protected spot, or however you like to dry your seeds.
4. Store your dry seeds in bags or containers (I use itty bitty zipper seal plastic bags) in a cool, dry place or in the freezer.
From Garden To Table:
So how have we been enjoying these luscious beauties (besides as Summer In A Bowl)? Well, the other night we piled thick slices on homegrown, grass-fed Angus beef burgers while they were still on the grill—and before we put on the cheese. Oh my.
Allowing the tomatoes to cook slightly, while sealing in all the juices between the meat and cheese, gave the burgers a whole different flavor. In fact, they were so good we had burgers again the next night.
And last night we had the first BLTs of the summer (though these were made with VFN tomatoes—a standard, disease resistant heirloom—pictured here and here). This is always a highlight of the year for us—and even more so last night since we used up our last package of bacon in the freezer. No, we can't just go out and buy some more. This was not your average bacon.
Every couple of years we purchase an entire hog that has been locally and naturally raised and have it butchered to our specifications, including having bacon made that's smoked without any nitrates or other additives. I'd never seen or tasted bacon like this before 'going whole hog.' It's so lean and meaty you have to add oil to the pan when you cook it up.
But back to the BLTs. That amazing bacon, thick toasted slices of freshly baked Farmhouse White basic sandwich bread slathered with mayonnaise, the most wonderful tomatoes on earth (because they were grown on our little piece of it), crisp Iceberg lettuce. Smirk or gasp if you will, but we're old-fashioned purists when it comes to BLTs—we love that Iceburg crunch—and besides, there hasn't been any lettuce in the garden in two months.
It just wouldn't be fair to show you a photo—which is good because once those heavenly sandwiches were assembled, the thought of taking pictures of them was the last thing on my mind.
It's reward time in the garden. This year's tomato disasters are for another day. Enjoy!
© FarmgirlFare.com, the vine-ripened foodie farm blog where we eat as many fresh tomatoes as we can during summer and then dream about them the rest of the year.