This will be a very exciting season. We just started plants from the best tasting heirlooms from last season and will be adding more varieties as well. We grew a preponderance of the blacks which tasted incredible to me, this year we will add more cherry, reds, pinks, yellows and greens for a variety of flavors. My favorites from last season were: Cherokee purple, Green Zebra, Brandywine, Japanese Trifele, Paul Robeson, Garden Peach and Black Cherry, actually I liked almost all of them but these were best.
We have started twelve heirloom varieties of tomatoes so far, with another twenty two in the works. We will try to cover the sweetness and intensity spectrum so everyone will find their perfect tomato. These are heirloom varieties, open pollinated, non-gmo, mostly organic seeds, saved by garden and tomato lovers for generations, handed down from Father to son, Mother to daughter, to preserve the tastes and textures of their family fabric. So many of them have wonderful stories attached to their survival to present day.
Every year my father would carefully save his precious seeds, labeling them in envelopes in his perfect European hand. He was a very meticulous and detail oriented man. He started his seeds in yogurt containers with four cut-outs, performed with a scalpel for drainage, then placed in the kitchen window. From the window they went to the small cold frame he’d built, then into the garden, where the best, earliest, sweetest and latest were all identified with a piece of string for seed saving and the next years planting. While he didn’t grow many varieties, the reds were delicious, his yellows not mealy, the little red cherry’s delighting the children and grandchildren, his favorite was “sweet 100”. He was a Burpee customer and preferred hybrids. I myself have a preference for the older heirlooms and have grown more varieties than my father dreamed of, however not as skillfully as he.
I love the idea of preserving these special fruits for our future generations so they can experience the joy and blissful mess of biting into a rich juicy tomato and letting the juices spill where they may.