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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tomatoes For 2008

We love heirloom tomatoes here at Boulder Belt Eco-Farm. We started this love affair back in 1994 when we were given the seeds of a pink Brandywine tomato by Susan Domonkos, a friend of mine from my horsey days at Old Stone Riding Centre . we dried the seeds and planted them that spring and got wonderful pink beefsteak maters and we were hooked.

This year's roster of tomatoes is as follows
Dr Wyche's Yellow-a huge orange beefsteak mater with great taste
Great White-bought this seed last year, misplaced the packet and wondered in august why we had no white tomatoes, even though I knew I had ordered seeds. Found the seeds this spring (exactly where they were supposed to be) and planted them. These will be white or ivory in color. I have no idea what they will taste like.
Nayagous-we grew this black tomato for the first time last year and it was wonderful. The plants are prolific producers of golf ball sized perfectly round black maters, taste is excellent
Crincovich-a huge pink tomato from Czechoslovakia with an unpronounceable name. Like the Nayagous we grew these for the first time last year and loved them.
Black Krim-our friend Wyatt gave us a couple of black krim plants last year so we saved seed. I was introduced to black krim back in 1989 or 90 while I was working at DiPaolo's restaurant in Oxford, OH (which is not to be confused with the current DiPaolo's restaurant in Oxford, OH which has nothing to do with the DiPaolo family or the incredible cooking they used to do there on North Beech St). George DiPaolo Jr. ordered black tomatoes one day and we in the kitchen were fascinated by this strange fruit. Sometime in the 1990's I grew Black Krim in one of our early market gardens and was not too impressed (and I discounted the fact I didn't really know what I was doing back than and the land where they were planted was in great need of soil improvement). Burt the Krim's we grew last year were beautiful and tasty so they are now in the tomato rotation.
GL-18-a wonderful red mater that is the rarest of all out tomatoes. You can sometimes find these seeds via the Seed savers Exchange annual yearbook but known as Glick's Pride. We saved this variety from extinction back in 1994 or 95. A colleague, Wendy Carpenter, at the Richmond farmers market had found seeds for these while visiting her dying grandfather-in-law who had been a tomato breeder in the 1940's. She planted the thousand or so seeds and got 3 plants and from one of those plants I got two tomatoes and saved the seeds and have been growing them out each ever since. This season they are the main red tomato as all the hybrids we used to grow as our main red crop are now owned by Monsanto and we will not buy their products. I will miss Big Beef but GL-18 is an excellent replacement.
Amish Paste-Grew this for the first time last year and loved them. They make incredible tomato sauce and are prolific as hell. these replace Opalka which got crossed pollinated with other tomatoes so we lost the strain. I love Opalka but they are not great producers and in market farming you need to pay attention to yields and always opt for the heavy yielders.
Red Grape-one of our cherry tomatoes. It's red and shaped like a grape. Nice tasting
Cherrywine-a cherry type we are developing. We had a pink brandywine cross with a sunsugar and got these wonderful pink cherry tomatoes with great taste. Boulder Belt is the only place you will find these as we have not gotten this stable enough to start distributing seeds. It takes about 5 to 10 years to get a tomato strain to stabilize into an open pollinated variety.
BB Striped-another breeding experiment. We got these wonderful striped (red and yellow) tomatoes when a pink brandywine (the slut of the garden) crossed with an opalka and we got these rather misshapen striped tomatoes. For the past 6 years we have been selecting for taste and color and this year we should have a stable open pollinated variety. These look a lot like the German Johnson striped (which we grew last year but dropped because our BB striped is a better tomato).
Costoluto Florentine-A wonderful red tomato from Italy. We grew these for the first time last year and at first I wrote them off as bad tasting, diseased plants not worth bothering with. But a month later these determinant plants were producing these beautiful red fluted fruits with a taste that is second to none. So I kept seed
Yellow Taxi-this is the oldest of the tomatoes we save seed from each year. After discovering the world of heirloom tomatoes via the pink brandywine we ordered yellow taxi seed, probably from seed savers exchange. This is a wonderful determinant lemon yellow tomato. When we started with this it would mature in about 65 days which is quite early for a tomato but through 14 years of selection I have gotten our strain to mature in 52 days, about the earliest tomato there is. We use these for early hoop house production as for this is what we have been breeding them.
Sunsugar-one of the few hybrids we grow. this is the best tasting cherry tomato we grow by far. these orange beauties are early , prolific and tasty as well as our best selling cherry mater. once people taste them, they tend to get addicted.
Early Girl-We felt we needed a red hybrid to replace Big Beef so we are trying early Girl, one of the oldest of the hybrid tomato varieties. I have not grown an early girl tomato in probably 20 years. We will see if we like them.
Early Big Red-I have no idea what these will be like. We ordered something from Schumway's and they sent us this "experimental Variety" to try so I started some seeds from the packet. Sounds like they are red, big and early. they just might be our hybrid replacement for Big Beef
Opalka-Eugene found a volunteer Opalka plant last year that was true to type and saved seed. Maybe these will be pure and we can start growing them again. Though with the Amish paste being as good tasting and far more prolific I don't know why we would continue to grow this variety other than for old times sake.
Sunray-we got these from our friend Wyatt. these are a beautiful yellow orange fruit, egg shaped with great flavor and an heirloom, though I do not know the history of them.
Yellow Pear-A pear shaped cherry tomato that is yellow. these are perhaps better to look at than to eat, though they are one of our most popular sellers.
Green Grape-This is reported to be one of the oldest heirloom tomatoes around. these produce a green round fruit a bit smaller than a golf ball with a really nice taste. We have not grown these in several years but i found some seed from 2002 and decided to see if the seed was still viable. I started about 150 seeds and got 10 plants which should be more than enough as they are prolific and due to their color not our best seller (though once people eat one they are usually hooked)
Matina-an early red tomato we got to try as a hoop house tomato. I know nothing about them other than they have a strange shaped leaf and will be big plants and they are an heirloom.

So that is the list of the 20 kinds of tomatoes we will be growing this year


valereee said...

Oooh, I'm planning to make tomato paste this year, so I'm going to be looking for lots of paste tomatoes.

Cool on the GL-18. I'll have to try that one when I get a chance to get to the Oxford FM this year.

OhioMom said...

Oh I am drooling here, I have to find a way to make it down your way this year.