Sunday, September 2, 2012

Tomato Festival

Persimmon and Early Girl
With all the new varieties Mr. Glad and I are growing this summer, we can have our own Backyard Tomato Tasting Festival.

It's the best tomato year in at least a decade, partly because we planted more vines, and maybe for some other reasons we are mulling over.

Trays and platters and bowls of tomatoes are crowding the kitchen counters and tables. Time to make soup or just freeze some after I peel and dice them -- and take their pictures, of course.

Juliet, SunSugar, Northern Lights
There are some puzzling and disappointing results, like Czech Bush, which was billed by our nursery as being an "orange slicer," but bears red fruits the size of a large cherry.

Ailsa Craig is in theory interesting, as Tatiana writes on her TOMATObase site, "...a variety of tomato that has been an experimental staple of tomato molecular biology and biotechnology. Originally Ailsa Craig, named for a small rocky island off the coast of England, was grown for greenhouse production of tomatoes in Great Britain. Apparently this crop is particularly important for English breakfasts."

None of the English or Scottish breakfasts I knew featured tomatoes that small. One seed site predicted 1.5-oz. fruits, another "medium" size, and another 70-90 gm. for Ailsa Craig. I must have read the "medium" word last spring, but now that heirloom tomatoes are so popular, in the future I will do more research, as on Tatiana's site, and have fewer surprises. And I know now that I want my slicers to be a minimum of 8 oz.

Northern Lights is a pinkish tomato that we expected to be "smallish," but it was a local news columnist's "favorite red tomato! Very productive...." The flavor is truly fantastic, but again, they are too small to slice, and too large to pop into the mouth like a cherry tomato -- and anyway, we have plenty of cherry tomatoes.

The Brazilian Beauty fruits aren't large, but the plant is loaded with fruit. I like the unusual flavor, often called "smoky," and I would like to plant them again, but I'm not sure my husband would go for it. I like having a "black" tomato, and these are nicely shaped and look good arranged on a plate with other varieties.


Brazilian Beauty, Persimmon, and Early Girl
Isn't that Persimmon gorgeous? It tastes divine, too. I think we will always plant Persimmon tomatoes if we can get them. (In the old days it was Jubilees we adored for orange tomatoes.)

Our one Early Girl plant continues to amaze us - the many fruits are running 8 oz. or more, and are perfect smooth globes with great flavor. The local nursery's special hybrid is a similarly big, productive and luscious specimen.

Yesterday we made grilled cheese and BLT sandwiches with orange, red and black tomatoes in them. I slice Juliets and Sunsugars in half and throw them into salads, and grab a few as I'm walking past throughout the day.

September is often our biggest tomato month. Even as the nights are getting chillier, and apples are coming on, we are surrounded by these lavish gifts of Summer.

11 comments:

Jeannette said...

I suppose they won't mail well. they surely are beautiful and full of that goos old S. County sunshine. ...mail me a little of that while you are at it!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Beautiful tomatoes! We've found over the years there is often a difference between the way tomatoes are described in the catalogs and what they end up being in real life. Fortunately, the Man takes notes! Our tomato season is over, I'm sad to say, so I'll have to live vicariously through you while yours last!

xofrances

wayside wanderer said...

You are positively RICH! I am soooo jealous. What great beauty.

Jo said...

Beautiful, luscious tomatoes! I am just thinking about planting some seeds soon in our spring... I would love to see some photos of your garden. It sounds delightful and productive, and I love having a nosey peek at other people's vegie gardens...

Marfa said...

Such beautiful tomatoes! ♥ The persimmon looks much like our "King of Siberia" yellow tomatoes. They are my favorite, low in acidity. The purple ones are amazing. We have had a great crop of tomatoes this year, too.

Pom Pom said...

Hello GJ!
I remember in the book Lark Rise to Candleford when Flora Thompson mentions the hamlet peoples' first taste of the mystery fruit! I am not a tomato eater per se. I like soup, sauces, and slices on sandwiches.
Your crop is extraordinary!
Did you get MK and Sandra's email? What do you think?

Gumbo Lily said...

I really like reading about your tomato varieties. I'm starting to find several ripe tomatoes in the garden now and I know I will be totally overwhelmed with them soon, and I can't wait because I'm hoping to make a lot of spicy tomato jam (which is thick like ketchup and so delicious). We're eating the last jar of it right now so I'm hoping to replenish my stock.

The grape tomato I planted is a real dud this year but everything else is going "great guns!"

Love those purply tomatoes. Amazing.

M.K. said...

Oh, I didn't comment on your fabulous tomatoes! I do wish I could sit down and eat a dish of them with you. They look delectable. My 2 tomato plants in pots have done terribly. The larger Brandywine, which I was so hopeful for, has suffered from the potting, or from too much rain(?), and the the cherry tom plant hasn't ripened fully yet. Waiting...

GretchenJoanna said...

Jo, I feel the same way about visiting other people's gardens. My own backyard is full of a swimming pool and shaded by several neighbors' trees, so I don't really have something to take a picture of.

I see that most of my posts with the tag "garden" feature close-up photos, because the wider views are not very pleasing. But here are a few with pics that show more breadth. Usually we have other veggies besides tomatoes and basil, but this year we were traveling too much to tend more.

http://gretchenjoanna.blogspot.com/2010/10/essential-aromas.html

http://gretchenjoanna.blogspot.com/2012/04/coming-into-glory-for-pascha.html

http://gretchenjoanna.blogspot.com/2011/08/spiders-perfume-and-hot-lips.html

http://gretchenjoanna.blogspot.com/2011/04/arugula-and-other-flowers.html

Jo said...

Thankyou Gretchen Joanna, just loved those photos, now I can picture your yard. You have some nice little 'garden rooms' going on. I bet your grandchildren love the nooks and crannies to hide in, like a secret garden. And tomatoes and basil go a long way in a garden. You can do so much with them, and they smell like summer!

Rachel Federman said...

Those are gorgeous. The grilled cheese sounds so good!!!