Sunday, March 11, 2007

It's March 11. Shall we talk tomatoes?

Oh, let's. The first tiny, tender seedlings have pushed through and I'm just so excited. It's going to be a good year for salsa, I can tell already. (Although I'll feel better when the hot peppers are up.)

Here's what we here at PupDudes Farm are cultivating in the way of seedlings this year. They are all indeterminate. I don't plan it that way. I think there are just way more indeterminate varieties than determinate varieties:

Cherry Tomatoes:
Tonadose Des Conores: An endangered heirloom cherry tomato from France, the very red fruit have an orange tinge inside and a long, lingering flavor. Productive vines produce loads of these tiny jewels that seem to melt in your mouth. 60-64 days, early season.

Blondkopfchen: Name of this heirloom means little blond girl. Plant produces phenomenal clusters of 20-30 very-very-very tasty gold/yellow grape-sized (1/2") cherries. Put this in your mouth and see if you can keep from smiling. (This is where you catch on that I'm copying and pasting catalog descriptions.) 75 days, mid-season.

Everything Else:
Black Prince: Originally introduced from Irkutsk, Russia and is regarded as a "true Siberian tomato" that does very well in cooler climates. The Black Prince tomato is said to have considerable health benefits beyond the presence of lycopene. These deep garnet round, 2-inch (2-3 oz.) tomatoes are full of juice and incredibly rich fruity flavors. Perfect for eating fresh, and in cooking in tomato sauce or other culinary wonders. 70 days, mid-season.

San Marzano Redorta: Named for a mountain, Pizzo Redorta in Bergamo, Italy. This is Gary Ibsen’s preferred Italian paste tomato. A much larger tomato (8 oz., 4-inch) with much better taste than its cousin, San Marzano. Good enough to eat off the vine with the bonus of ending up with more tomato paste per plant. Yum! 78 days, mid-season.

Wonder Light: aka Plum lemon. Seed for this was collected in 1991 from an old seedsman in Moscow. Fruit is pointed on its ends just like a lemon with solid meat, almost like a paste tomato. 2 x 3-inch (6 oz.) fruit is a bright, clear-yellow tomato with mild sweet flavor. Perfect tomato for salads, tomato sauce, or even a wonderful yellow catsup. 78 days, mid-season. [This is my second year trying this variety. Last year none of my seeds germinated. This year? None so far, but we're still very early on. I'm determined.]

Kellogg’s Breakfast: 1 lb., pale to deep orange beefsteak tomatoes originally from West Virginia, that are thin-skinned, meaty, have few seeds and a fantastic sweet, tangy flavor. Juice and inside flesh have the same bright orange color as orange juice. 80 days, mid-season.

Amish Paste: Very productive heirloom from Wisconsin that produces up to 1-pound, deep-red oxheart-shaped, meaty fruit. (Probably one of the largest paste tomatoes) Lots of sweet, tomatoey flavors from this coreless meaty fruit. A great slicing and sauce tomato. 81 days, late season.

Russian Big Roma: A favorite heirloom paste variety. Disease resistant plant produces lots of huge (2 x 4-inch), deep red, fruits with exceptionally rich tomatoey flavors. A perfect sauce tomato. 85 days, late season.

German Red Strawberry: This German heirloom produces large, red, oxheart-shaped tomatoes that are shaped like a much larger strawberry. Plants yield an abundance of meaty, 3-inch wide by 3 1/2-inch long fruit that can grow to 1 pound. Shape of fruits can be inconsistent. Copious amount of delicious, robust, "old-tomato" flavors with a lingering sweetness. 85 days, late season.

Tobolsk: 100 year old heirloom, originally from the Urals near the city of Tobolsk, Russia. 3-inch, round, light yellow to orange fruit with excellent sweet flavors. Perfect balance of acid for it's deliciously sweet flavors. A rare and precious new find! 86 days, mid-season.

Amana Orange: Huge heirloom beefsteak named for Amana, Iowa. Light-orange fruit that can grow to 2 pounds or more. Mildly sweet , very pleasant, almost tropical fruit in flavors. 90 days, late season.

Believe It or Not: An old -time favorite Heirloom. Prolific large (1-2 lb.), red, smooth-shouldered slicer with great flavor. 90 days, late season.

Brandywine, Red: An old heirloom variety from Virginia that won Grand Prize in 1907. Possibly from the Ponderosa strain around 1889. Big plants produce lots of 1-2 pound, pink/purple, meaty fruits with a slightly thicker skin than most heirlooms. A wonderful low-acid tomato with abundance of sweet flavors. A great canning tomato. 90 days, late season.

Brandywine, Yellow: A vigorous potato-leaf heirloom from Gary Platfoot of Ohio produces large amounts of 3 to 4-inch, yellow-orange, round, flattened, great tasting beefsteak fruit. 90 days, late season.

About half of the varieties have sprouted tiny little one-day-old seedlings. Hopefully the others will come along soon.


In other news, Chris is still in California and I'm . . . ready for him to come home. This week's schedule is all off since it's spring break and half of State College, PA has fled to . . . I don't know where they go, but they're not here. I thought about taking the gang back to Washington D.C. to do an educational tour of the Smithsonian, but I'm supposed to do that big drive back to Philly on Wednesday and I'm not sure I'm up for that much driving. Then again, the house wants cleaning again, so maybe we'll just stay put, blow bubbles on the back deck, enjoy the few days of beautiful weather in our own back yard, and do a little smidge of spring cleaning.

1 comment:

Dy said...

Please tutor us, Oh Wise One, on heirloom plants and seeds. I am so frightfully new to this... but my mouth is absolutely watering after reading this (and I don't even like tomatoes except for in my salsa and pico de gallo - but the guys do.)

Hope Chris comes home soon. it's just nicer that way, isn't it?