My Favorite Kind of Tomatoes—Ripe!
Realization of the Day:
2009 is not my Year of the Tomato.
It was supposed to be. In late winter (on time!) I started something like 30 different kinds of heirloom tomato seeds, most of which I'd never grown before, and with fabulous names like Egg Yolk, Mule Team, and Chocolate Vintage.
Things pretty much went downhill after that, though I'm finally harvesting a few various ripe tomatoes—some of which I can even identify. (Why do the plants that I meticulously label and make notes about usually seem to die?) I'm also already planning for next year—and I'm not the only one.
Back on September 3rd (where has this month gone?) a message arrived in my inbox from 'mother.' Since messages from my mother have her name on them, I figured it was spam—like all the ones that say they're from 'me.' But then I looked at the subject line: Help Us with the Top Tomato Varieties Survey. This wasn't spam, it was from Mother Earth News, specifically Cheryl Long, the Editor in Chief herself:
As a tomato grower and a blogger, we hope you will help us spread the word to gardeners who love great tomatoes. Mother Earth News invites you (and others!) to take our new Top Tomato Varieties online survey.
Our goal is to connect with lots of folks who are passionate about homegrown tomatoes, then combine everyone's tomato-growing experience and advice into an article for Mother Earth News, with emphasis on the best varieties for regional growing conditions.
I guess I'm not the only one who spaced the survey out, because fortunately it's still going on. It only takes about 10 minutes, and you can take it here. The findings will be presented in the February/March 2010 issue of Mother Earth News.
I'm really looking forward to reading the results, especially since regional growing conditions seem to make an especially huge difference with tomatoes—which so many of you confirmed in all the interesting and helpful 2009 tomato comments you left on this recent post (thanks so much!).
Ironically, the same day Cheryl's message arrived, I picked the cherry tomatoes in the photo above, which were volunteers growing in our grey water runoff ditch (where the water that drains out of our kitchen sink, bathroom sink, washing machine, and shower runs off into a ditch outside The Shack). They're sweet and tasty, and the plants don't mind being completely ignored, but they're no help to the survey because I don't have a clue what kind they are.
Below are some of my tried and true favorite heirloom tomato varieties I can name, all of which are not only full of flavor but also do well in our hot and humid summers and generally crazy Missouri climate. Varieties marked PT came from Pinetree Garden Seeds in Maine; BC are varieties ordered from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds here in Missouri (which also has a new retail store in Petaluma, California—my old stomping grounds!).
—San Marzano (my favorite red plum/paste tomato I've been growing for 14 years - PT)
—Orange Banana (a wonderful orange plum/paste tomato - BC)
—Gold Nugget (produces lots of 1-inch flavorful fruits that aren't prone to cracking - PT)
—Yellow Pear & Red Pear (I love these tiny pear shaped fruits with great yields; the red ones date back to the 1700s - PT)
—Yellow Currant & Red Currant (really tiny tomatoes - so cute! - that mature early and taste great - PT)
—Tappy's Heritage (large, globe shaped red tomatoes with good disease resistance and great yields - a bestseller at BC)
—Arkansas Traveler (beautiful pink tomato from Arkansas, tolerant to heat and humidity, crack and disease resistant - I wrote about them here - BC)
—Kellogg's Breakfast (extremely large, sunny orange beefsteak I wrote about here - PT)
—Thai Pink Egg (darling pink, 2-ounce, grape shaped tomatoes from Thailand did fabulous for me the first year, died of some strange disease the next while loaded with unripe fruit, but are definitely worth trying again)
So what are your favorite tomato varieties to grow? I hope you'll take a minute to share them here—after you've taken the survey of course!
Previous tomato posts:
—Links to all of my tomato recipes (at the bottom of the post)
—7/31/06: Growing Arkansas Traveler Tomatoes & How To Save Your Own Tomato Seeds
—8/9/06: Growing Kellogg's Breakfast Tomatoes and a Colors of Summer Salad with Tomatoes, Zucchini, Sweet Red Pepper, Beet Greens, Basil, & Garbanzos
—9/16/07: Kissing Summer Goodbye with the Easiest Greek Salad Ever
—6/2/08: Planting Tomatoes Later is Better than Never (I Think)
—9/4/08: How To Freeze Tomatoes the Really Easy Way (and Why I Don't Do Much Canning Anymore) (lots of great comments from other gardeners here)
—10/12/08: Growing Tomatoes: How Many Plants Do You Need and What To Do If You End Up with Too Many Tomatoes—Make Easy & Delicious Homemade Tomato Juice! (lots of great comments here, too)
© Copyright 2009 FarmgirlFare.com, the small, round, and juicy foodie farm blog where it's nice to have tried and true tomato favorites, but it's even nicer knowing that despite all the past years of experimenting, there are still hundreds of varieties of heirloom tomatoes just waiting to be grown in my garden.