All summer long we've had our own Tomato Olympics going on here on our little tomato plantation. This goes on almost every day, my husband will pick a few from each bush, I slice them up, we then dig in. We factor in meatiness, sweetness, tartness and tasty gel. I love tart gel in a tomato.
|Black Krim, the red Coustralee and the orange Persimmon.|
|The psychedelic Pineapple.|
|The orange Persimmon, dark rose German Johnson, Black Krim and the large Brandywine.|
|This was a purple tomato my girlfriend grew, eggplant purple colored with dark orange flesh.|
|They were good and tasty, but only grown for their novelty color I'm afraid. More antioxidants than the average tomato.|
|The beautiful Pineapple again.|
|Black Krim and the Pineapple again, I guess I liked taking pictures of these,|
|Kellog's Breakfast, perhaps named because it's so sweet.|
We even had a VIP tomato tasting with my brother being in town. There was mother, the daughter of a commercial tomato grower, so naturally highly qualified, my brother and me, the grandchildren, and my husband who is the chief tomato grower.
Mother, brother and I were raised with all things tomatoes. We heard tomato talk our whole lives, always the concern about the weather and prices and worms. A good tomato year was a cause for celebration. We were weekly visitors to my grandfather's tiny home in a small farming town a half hour from our suburban Southern California home. My fondest childhood memories are of those bouncing along dirt roads in my granddad's turquoise Ford pickup to visit his fields in Camarillo, Oxnard, Santa Paula, Moorpark and Ojai, then stopping for Mexican food at The Owl Cafe. When we got dirty, we picked a tomato and squished it to wash our hands and face. This method works! It's funny now, even though I've grown tomatoes myself for almost 40 years, the scent memory is so strong that when I rustle through the tomato leaves (which is several times a day) I am transported back to those sun-burnt fields. I'd almost do anything to relive one of those happy days with my sweet granddad.
|I bought these "chiffonade" scissors when I was in France last year, only to find it in Crate and Barrel when I got home!|
The contenders were Giant Belgian, Coustralee, Brandywine, Black Krim, Kellogg's Breakfast, Persimmon, Pineapple and German Johnson. ALL of them had excellent flavor balance, some more tart like the Black Krim and some more sweet. The sweetest for us was the orange Kellog's Breakfast. All were meaty, NONE were mealy, and all our plants were disease free (we are organic). The most prolific plants were the Brandywine and the Black Krim. They were all winners, with maybe a slight edge to Black Krim for it's tart gel and the rosy German Johnson for it's all around excellent tomato flavor and texture. The Coustralee was a new one for us and also a perfect tomato. People, these are gourmet tomatoes, nothing like anything you can get in the store or even farmer's market.
So the results are in. We will grow all of these again. We will also grow a few Better Boys and Early Girls, disease resistant hybrids, as a tomato insurance in case our heirlooms fail us. Yes, that has happened before. We didn't grow the French hybrid Dona this year, a slip up that we didn't realize until too late. We won't let that happen again. We usually grow Mortgage Lifter, but didn't this year, don't know why. Tomato season is slowing up, but far from over. The top photograph was from a picking today, the first day of September. Not bad, huh?
I'd love to know your favorite backyard tomato, please share!