An incredible edible bounty from our small city lot! A detailed cyber-Tasting of specific varietals follows…
I thought that this was the very last gathering of tomatoes for the season, but it was not. I took in all of my tomatoes September 16. It was really cold that day, and I didn’t want to take any chances. I had so many green tomatoes that I had to do something with them! I made Green Tomato Ketchup and Green Tomato Chow Chow, but neglected to take a photo of the abundance of green tomatoes. And I do mean abundance. However, the tomatoes below were harvested that day, too. And, a week later, the tomatoes above. I couldn’t resist leaving a few on the vine in case my weather prediction had been wrong. It was, and I continued to harvest the bounty of tomato bounties!
Below is the last bit that I plucked from the vines before pulling them all out and taking down the garden yesterday. I have learned that as the green ones sit on the counter in a bowl with ripened ones that they ripen beautifully. The flavour is dramatically different, however. They are not “sunkissed” and do have a more bitter and much less sweet flavour when ripened in the bowl.
Unless you “dry” roast them. And that is just what I do when I have this many gorgeous little bobbles of Nature. They maintain their shape integrity, to a degree, and the flavour is intensified to sweet savoury harvest lust.
(I have two wall ovens, so do six trays at a time at 170Â°F in a convection oven, rotating every 4 to 6 hours, for 24 to 48 hours depending upon the mass in the oven and in each dish; I add fleur de sel, a skiff of lovely fruity extra virgin olive oil, and a generous amount of beautiful garlic. When done, I put them into a jar, seal in a water bath, or not, and freeze until I can stand it no more.)
Here is what they look like when they are done. Here are more thorough instructions on how to make them, but try to fill the jar to within a 1/2 inch from the top if you have enough tomatoes! This year I dried the Amish Paste tomatoes with only a little salt on a cookie sheet and they are beautiful and chewy and lush. I packed them in a jar vertically with a tiny bit of olive oil to keep them over time. Can’t wait until that very special meal.
Red Cherry Tomato from Holes: Excellent little tomato!
This is the first time I have no idea what kind of cherry tomato these are, really. I bought them at Holes and they were just labelled “cherry tomato”. They were really good, and abundant. Very abundant for one bush and from early mid season to late in the season still going strong.
There were a few that were a little early, but for the most part, when they were ready, there was a lot of them ready all at once. No complaints from me! Tomatoes are my favourite food!
Sun Spun: My Number one Pick of the Litter!
The orange cherry tomato below is the Sun Spun. It is my favourite of all tomatoes. I have purchased it every year from Holes and this year, they had none. I found one somewhere and it was so profound, I have no idea where. I do know they only had one, and I was devastated at the time. This one bush was so prolific that I couldn’t keep up to how many it was producing. It was the tomato tree that kept on giving and giving. The fruit is sweet and bursts of bright vibrant tomato flavour. You sit up and take notice of this little fellow if you are lucky enough to find one. This is the first year I have seen them for sale at the market. Gull Valley sold them. I have been growing them for at least ten years.
Early Girl from Holes:Â Not recommended; flavourless
About the only thing she has going for her is she was the first tomato in the garden to ripen. But, so not worth it. What a disappointment. I would rather wait.(Below, to the front right in the basket).
Stupice from Inspired Market Gardens: an average “okay” garden tomato
Last year, these were very prolific and this year, not so at all. They were in a less sunny spot. They are good and usually mid-sized, though mine were mostly small this year (pictured below were the bigger ones). I probably will not buy these again as I know what my favourites are.
Below you will see Early Girl on the left and the Heirloom Oregon Spring on the right in the basket.
Heirloom Rocket from Inspired Market Gardens: a very good small tomato
To the right, in the basket below, these little tomatoes had a lovely “tomatoey” flavour and were really tasty. The bush was not very productive, though and I will not grow them again.
(Red Cherry,Heirloom Oregon Spring, Heirloom Rocket, Sun Spun and Early Girl below)
One of the first bigger harvests of the season, below. Interestingly, the yellow bounty is greater than the red at this point.
Heirloom Taxi from Inspired Market Gardens: a good average mid-sized yellow tomato
I often find yellow tomatoes a bit acidic. These were not. They were good. A nice compliment to the red on a platter, but not nearly as “tomatoey” as I would like. Good, though. I might buy these again.
Above is the Heirloom Yellow Taxi with the Red Rocket and the Heirloom Oregon Spring.
Oregon Spring Heirloom Tomato from Inspired Market Gardens: just OK
The Oregon Spring has a crispy texture, not soft and meaty like the Brandywine. It is a light acidic tomato that is refeshing in flavour. I will not buy it again.
Below is a plate of Heirloom Yellow Taxi, a Red Rocket and some Oregon Spring Heirloom tomatoes; they appear unripe, but they were very ripe, indeed.
Golden Rave Heirloom Tomato from Inspired Market Gardens: an unexpected treasure!
These mid to small sized oval green yellow tomatoes were really a lovely flavour, shape, texture and colour! I loved the lime green hue and the bush was incredibly prolific. They were easy to grown, beautiful to watch ripen and lovely as a compliment to the other varieties in a salad or on a plate. I will definitely keep these on my list. They were not acidic, but light, still “tomatoey” firm fleshed and refreshing.
Juliet Heirloom Tomato from Inspired Market Gardens: a Masterpiece in shape, size, colour and flavour – My Number Two Pick of this Season
These tomatoes were sweet, and deep and rich and loud. One doesn’t expect such a small package to have such a presence. I love these and so did Vanja. The shape was so cute and the size bigger than a cherry, but the oval was the charm. They were so delicious and very prolific. The clusters ripened all at once, easy to grow and a thrill to behold.
Lemon Drop Cherry Tomato from Inspired Market Gardens: a good little cherry tomato colour option
This is not as tasty as the red or the Sun Spun, but it is good and pretty in a bowl to add a nice colour contrast. I will definitely buy one (and only one) next year. There were a lot of tomatoes on it and some did grow quite big, almost cocktail size, depending upon the combination of hot sun and rain.
Red Brandywine Heirloom Tomato from Inspired Market Gardens: This is a mighty tasty tomato!
This tomato is huge. By huge, I mean humongous! Really big They are a meaty tomato full of flavour and lovely on a sandwich or just sliced with salt and cheese or even as a base for a salad. This tomato is definitely a keeper for a zone three tomato garden.
This is the Oregon Spring beside the Heirloom Rocket, below.
Red Cherry, Heirloom Rocket, and Sasha’s Pride Heirloom Tomato
Purple Cherokee from from Inspired Market Gardens: this is a close tie for My Number one Pick of the Litter!
I love this tomato! I love its colour and shape and meatier, fleshy texture and the depth of flavour is really unexpected. I will grow a few of these next year. Love them! Love them!
Sasha’s Pride Heirloom Tomato from Inspired Market Gardens: a good tomato
Sasha’s Pride is a pretty tomato and similar to the Brandywine in texture and flavour, but smaller in size. I like it.
Red Zebra Tomato from Inspired Market Gardens: another harvest jewel!
This tomato is delicious! Bright, lively, sparkly and absolutely gorgeous to look at. Cocktail size. It needs a lot of sun and was not very productive where I planted it. I will move it next year. I loved this little varietal and am definitely hoping for more next year!
Red Zebra, Amish Paste, Yellow Taxi and Golden Rave below.
Amish Paste from Inspired Market Gardens: a good cooking tomato
These tomatoes took a very long time to grow and ripen, and then, suddenly, they were abundant. They are a very flavourful paste tomato. Not as flavourful as the variety I bought at the Italian Store from BC. I will try others next year. This is my second year for these. They are good. Not great. They did produce a reasonable amount but there were at least as many green ones at the end of the season as ripe ones through the season. That is not a good thing.
Amish Paste, Purple Cherokee, and Brandywine, below.
Black Cherry Tomato from Inspired Market Gardens: pretty, but not very tasty
Apparently good for the grill? The skin is thick and the flavour is wet. These make a nice addition to a coloured bowl of tomatoes, but who do you want to eat it? Nobody. It is just not good. Enough said. No more of these.
White Currant Grape Tomato from Inspired Market Gardens: a tart acidic little bite that kind of bites you back unless really ripe, then quite a bit sweeter
Last year I had a variety that was smaller and sweeter and a brighter yellow. These are almost a pale green white until they start to ripen. Interesting, and not again. It didn’t produce very many and the bush sprawled all over, or tried to. The bottom photo is to give you a frame of reference as to how small these really are. They are tiny.
Yellow Pear from Inspired Market Gardens: a really tasty tomato for a miniature yellow tomato
I am ready, almost, to give up on these. Last year, I got none. Below is my entire harvest for three plants. I will try one more time and place them in the sunniest spot. I love their shape too much to not give it one more go, and they are a good little tomato. Very tasty. They need a lot of sun. I had so many sitting on the bushes just waiting to get some sun. So, one more year.
Black Zebra Tomato from Inspired Market Gardens: a good tomato but ripens too late in the season for a zone three garden
I will not be purchasing this again; I got about five and a few others that ripened after I brought them in the house. They are a deeply flavourful, somewhat fleshy tomato that I would love to be able to grow here, but I will not be trying these again. Not enough fruit for the space of earth they inhabited.
White Queen Beefstake from Inspired Market Gardens: not good for a zone three garden unless you have a special micro climate
Everyone of these ripened after being brought into the house. They were mushy and somewhat acidic in flavour and thought they look really pretty and tasty, I will not add these to my shopping list for next year: too little, too late.
The following bushes produced absolutely no ripe tomatoes all season long; some not even any green fruit! I will not be purchasing any of these again. They were all from Inspired Market Gardens.
- Champagne Cherry Yell-white Early – nothing
- Green Zebra Round-Small Dk Gn Stripes Late – green hard fruit, not many
- Plum Tigris Plum Red/Yel Stripes Mid-Season – nothing
- Mr. Stripey Large Yell w pinkstp Mid-Season ““ nothing
And, ta-da! See my tomato anomaly? This little fellow has his nose in the air at those bushes that sucked up the water, vitamins and minerals, took a good space in my little city lot and produced nothing. He made me laugh!
Last year, our favourite tomato was Zeigler’s. Gwen didn’t grow them this year at Inspired Market Gardens. I hope she does next year! They were a big, tasty red ball of flavour.
So, that is my very unscientific review of the tomatoes I grew and enjoyed this year. I know I will be referring back to this list sooner that we all think! Hopefully, next year, I will have all bushes produce and lots of sun in July!