Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tomatoes—Fried, Green, or Otherwise

I have to admit I am having trouble picking tomatoes. No, not the fruit, but the seed. Which tomatoes shall I grow? I am not only growing for myself, but for other people to buy tomato starts.

I have been researching flavor, how many days till fruit bearing, acidity vs. non-acidic. Heirlooms vs. contemporary. Its just so mind boggling and the next thing I know I am wanting to order forty or more varieties of the summer flavor favorites. I lied, I just checked my shopping cart at one source and I have 62 varieties in my shopping cart. OMG! I need to choose wisely. I need to get all the lists down to 40 or less.

So I am breaking it down to this. I need to order at least 3 varieties that most people will grow. I need to order the seed in bulk. Beefsteak, Brandywine, Roma. People want fresh eating tomatoes, but they want something for sandwiches and salads. Folks also want a tomato they can sauce.

Canning tomatoes are another story—I have a few of those too. I am going to use Jersey Giant myself.

The varieties are endless, and sources are varied. I am trying to find more organically grown seeds than just commercial seeds.

Heirlooms are fashionable, but I don't think they are trend. I think because of the foodie society we are becoming, or at least those reading this posting are becoming, that we look at food as artistic, something to savor, and something we enjoy. I think with all the GMO information going around a lot more people are going to be trying their darnedest to save heirlooms or save their heirloom seeds. Its about quality of life sometimes, something corporate America understands little about.
I know during the summer one thing I truly enjoy is bruschetta. I use several types of tomatoes, I like colorful. I always try to have more than enough basil in the garden and am a fan of using white vinegar. I don't like to darken the color of the tomatoes. I could eat this for dinner almost every night during the summer—it's something I get drunk on. With a nice glass of wine and a few friends it can make quite a spontaneous dinner party. Ananas Noir, Gold Medal, Pink Acordian, Black Krim and Ingegnoli Gigante Liscio will be wonderful additions to bruschetta making. Ready for summer flavor now!

Salads I am thinking small tomatoes, ox hearts, cherries, small plums. Placero, Red Fig, Gold Pear, Plum Lemon and Black Cherry.

Think of the colors and the tastes. That's where I am really going.

Roasting tomatoes or drying them with rosemary, olive oil and a touch of sea salt. Flavor, flavor flavor.

So choice—guess I better stay to topic. I am having choice problems because I having to many choices offered to me. THAT is a good thing.

Some other great  tomato offerings are—Balck From Tula, Amish Paste,Green Sausage, Japanese Trifele Black, Striped Cavern, Ukrainian Purple, Kellogg's Breakfast, Dr. Wyches Yellow, Black Sea Man,Tasty Evergreen, and Great White. Funny how a picture can influence you or reading another persons blog or article.

I guess I have developed my list in this blog, or cut it down to size. It's truly interesting how one comes to a decision. I am needing to start these in the greenhouse this coming month. I would recommend when you transplant your starts to use a manure tea such as
This manure tea is from organic, grass fed beef raised on native grass pastures. This is also an independent cottage industry that is worth supporting.

So in conclusion, I would say choose what you like. Think about how a tomato is going to taste or how you are going to use it. Use your garden space wisely and support farmers markets if you don't have the space to grow what you need.


Acknoledgements— I would like to thank Benda Haas of BGgarden and Annie Haven of Manure Tea for their contributions to this posting. Brenda was kind enough to send me some fantastic pictures and Annie allowed me to use her link as well as sending me the scanned document of her Family's historical seed company. GOSH! Just look at the varieties listed for the 1916 season!


  1. Thanks for sharing your tomato choices! We've narrowed it down to 18 varieties for the Dirt to Dinner garden this year, with a landrace trial for two of those varieties. Here's our list if you want to share:
    Amish Paste
    Aunt Ruby's
    German Green
    Burbank Red Slicing
    Cherokee Chocolate
    Cherokee Purple
    Costaluto Genovese
    German Pink
    Green Zebra
    Orange Heirloom
    Principe Borghese
    Pruden's Purple
    Ramapo (F1)
    Rose de Berne
    Rossa Sicilian
    San Marzano
    Speckled Roman

  2. Hi Bruce:

    I'm so honored to have you mention me/my manure teas and post my families historical seed company information (1873 to 1968) on your blog featuring the glorious tomato. I haven't heard anyone really speak about "the taste of the tomato" in some time, that has always been a big topic at our table! I look forward to sharing your thoughts on this mouth water subject with those that follow me (just as soon as I make a tomato sandwich) Annie