Friday, July 21, 2017

Designer Tomatoes (Just a Trend or a Real Resurgence)

The current "hot and cool" (meaning interesting and trendy) vegetables to grow right now are tomatoes.  They are all the rage at farmer's markets, their gnarled lobes and wild colors are eye-catching and curious.  I am only recently discovering these new-to-me but often "old" varieties that have been cultivated for sometimes over a hundred years.  I worry that many of these amazing cultivars don't have much disease resistance but the fear is overcome by the sheer anticipation deliciousness.  Here is a short list of the tomatoes I am growing this year.  Look for harvest updates and taste testing later in the season.

Black Sea Man-  75 days from transplant. A Russian variety from Russian seedswoman Marina Danilenko. Small plants produce medium-sized brownish-pink fruits with olive green shading. Potato leaf foliage. Inside of tomato is deep, reddish green and loaded with excellent, full-bodied, complex, intense, creamy tomato flavors. This is an outstanding tomato for sandwiches and salads. Black Sea Man heirloom tomato does well growing in mid-sized containers. 

Auntie Great Green German- 80-95 days from transplant. Big, sweet beefsteaks, bursting with a fragrant, complex, spicy-sweetness with a touch of tang, much tastier than many red tomatoes.  A gorgeous green-when-ripe color, this much sought after variety is a real treat to have in your garden and is said to be the very best tasting green. Reaching an average of 1 lb, Aunt Ruby's German Green grows in clusters of 2 or 3.  This family heirloom from Germany is beautiful. Family heirloom from Ruby Arnold of Greeneville, Tennessee. Introduced to SSE in 1993 by Bill Minkey of Darien, Wisconsin.  Indeterminate.

Purple Cherokee-See this link in a past blog post about Cherokee Purple.

Ananas Noir-Also called Black Pineapple.  85 days. A most exciting tomato, it is wonderful in every way. This unusual variety was developed by Pascal Moreau, a horticulturist from Belgium. The skin has streaks of pink, purple, red, gold and green flesh. Everyone loves their flavor. The lip smacking flavor starts out sweet and ends with the perfect amount of tang. What's more, the sprawling indeterminate plant yields a tremendous amount of 1 1/2 pound fruits.

Chocolate Sprinkles-Hybrid. 70 days. This cherry tomato has it all: good looks, great flavor, heavy yields, and disease resistance. Bite-sized, cherry-type fruits are beautifully colored — red striped with dark green — that explode with rich, robust flavor.  These elongated, bite-sized tomatoes have striking, forest green streaks over deep coppery-red and a delightfully sweet taste.  This highly productive plant forms its fruit in clusters, and starts bearing early in the season. Support Chocolate Sprinkles Tomato with stakes or sturdy cage at planting time. Indeterminate plants produce abundant, thick trusses of the scrumptious, crack-resistant fruit. HR: F, N, TMV.