KC's Summer Tomato Update

Lots-a-Love to my Tomato fans! Here’s my late summer update on this year’s heirloom crop, and a list of what I planted:

1884: Starting to produce pinky-red fruit, I think he needs more sun

Amana Orange: This late season heirloom beefsteak is named for Amana, Iowa.  It’s been producing slightly smaller fruit than I expected, but with beautiful color & fruity, tropical flavors.

Black Prince: My first producer of 2010 is still putting out lots of deeply colored juicy fruit with great flavor

Black Ruffles: I’m not even sure this is a tomato plant, I think it’s just a vine with attitude.  Or maybe it hates heat.

Camp Joy: My daughter Sam is having a great time picking all these brightly colored, sweet cherry tomatoes off the vine.  Camp Joy is one of my favorite cherry tomatoes, right up there with Sweet Baby Girl.

Carmello: These tomatoes have a lot of flavor and are very meaty, great for cooking or slicing.  The plant is easy to grow, everybody should plant a Carmello!

Dagma’s Perfection: This favorite of Tomato-legend Gary Ibsen (it’s named for his lady-love) isn’t doing anything in my garden. I may have it in too sunny of a spot –

Julia Child: This plant’s a moody sucker, just like the lady herself.  I couldn’t resist putting a Julia plant in, but it doesn’t like extreme heat, and I live in Central California.  My bad.  I probably ought to dig the plant up and drive to the coast & transplant it into someone’s yard out of respect for Ms. Child.  It’s a reason to go to the coast anyway, and if I take one or more of my friends, it’s sure to be a good story –

Kentucky Beefsteak:
Just starting to produce big, juicy orange fruit, as expected!

Marianna’s Peace: All this variety does is break my heart.  It did nothing last year during the “Crop Failure of 2009” – and I tried to blame it on the year, since I so love the story of Marianna’s Peace – (via Laurel, my tomato-dealer)

“Marianna was from a family of farmers in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia. During World War II, in May of 1945 when she was 17, Russian soldiers came to her school and forced Marianna and all her schoolmates into a truck to be taken to Siberia. During the journey, she and a few others escaped by jumping from the moving truck, but Marianna was shot in the leg just as she crossed the Czech border. With the help of her friends, she was able to continue on to the town of Weiden, Bavaria. She lost all contact with her parents and brothers for the next ten years, but after a long and diligent search with the aid of The Red Cross, she finally found them in 1955.

Before he died, her father gave her a little bundle of the seeds.

Marianna married, and in 1957 moved to Washington State with her husband where they raised four children.

The legacy of these seeds reaches back to the early 1900’s and year after year the tomatoes borne from this marvelous heirloom continue to be treasured for their outstanding taste and beauty. Incredibly sweet, creamy, with dense red flesh, rich and luscious, reminiscent of the finest of those “old-fashioned” tomato flavors, the memories of which are the stuff of dreams for all tomato lovers.”

Dream this.  The Marianna’s Peace plant in my garden currently has two sad, bright green fruits on it.  If I think about it anymore I’m gonna get upset, so let’s talk about:

Mortgage Lifter: (MY Favorite of the 2010 planting) or “Radiator Charlie’s Mortgage Lifter” is producing big, bright red fruit with super-tomato flavor! Check out the story of Mortgage Lifter

Paul Robeson: This black tomato is Laurel’s favorite & I know why.  It has gorgeous color, lots of juice & is very meaty.

Neves Azorean Red: Why the hell I thought this was a cherry tomato plant, I have no idea.  Just goes to show you I shouldn’t plant at 9:30pm anymore.  Anyway, Neves is producing big red fruits, right in the middle of my cherry plants.  I’ll definitely grow this variety again, but with proper spacing this time!

Red Zebra: I got this plant as a substitute for Berkley Tie Dye due to a nursery issue (we don’t need to talk about the fact that I haven’t been able to get my hands on a Berkley Tie Dye for 3 years, do we?) and I LOVE IT!  Red Zebra is producing lots of 3-5 inch striped tomatoes with great flavor, and color that adds lots of fun to the plate.

Rainbow Tears: Sam’s having a great time picking Rainbow Tears too, but several of these are going right into her mouth!  A great little cherry-teardrop tomato, prolific producer.

Sun Gold: Lots of people love this golden-colored cherry tomato, but it isn’t doing much in my garden.  The few fruits we have picked have been very tasty.  It’s planted next to Julia Child though, so maybe it’s intimidated and that’s why it isn’t growing.  Certainly can’t be my tomato-farming skills!

Traveler: This plant is just starting to produce smaller red fruit, and I like them, but I like others better.  I’ll probably skip Traveler next year & try something else.

Happy Farming – KC