Tomorrow we’ll be loading up a bunch of tomato starts to bring to the Ukiah Farmers Market (so exciting, right?)…
Our tomatoes are all heirloom and specialty varieties that will grow well here in Northern California and look beautiful both on your dinner plate and in your garden. The seeds that we use aren’t certified organic (many of these varieties aren’t available as organic seed) but we grow them completely organically from day 1. We’ve grown almost all of these varieties here on the farm, so if you have any questions about them, feel free to ask.
This is the list of varieties we will be bringing tomorrow; the selection will change over the next few weeks. (The descriptions are taken exactly from the Baker Creek seed catalogue, none of them are my own writing- I thought it would be helpful for all of the market customers to see the full description written by the folks that are working hard to keep all of these great varieties around for generations to come). Hope to see you at the market tomorrow!Ananas Noire: (Black Pineappple) A most exciting new tomato, it is wonderful in every way. This unusual variety was developed by Pascal Moreau, a horticulturist from Belgium. The multi-colored, smooth fruit (green, yellow and purple mix) weight about 1.5 lbs. The flesh is bright green with deep red streaks. Everyone loves their superb flavor that is outstanding, being both sweet and smoky with a hint of citrus. The yield is one of the heaviest we have ever seen!
Big Zebra: “New! A stunning tomato that looks much like a giant version of our popular “Green Zebra,” this 8-10 oz. beauty has a vibrant green and deep gold striped skin, with delicious red-streaked, green flesh. A superb home and market tomato, a must for all who love the beautiful and unique. One of the most amazing tomatoes we have grown; so groovy and retro looking! 80-90 days.
Carbon: 90 days Winner of the 2005 ‘heirloom garden show’ best tasting tomato award. These have won taste awards coast to coast in the last few years, so we were proud to locate a small supply of seed. The fruit are smooth, large and beautiful, being one of the darkest and prettiest of the purple types that we have seen. They seem to have an extra dose of the complex flavor that makes dark tomatoes famous.
Cherokee Purple: 80 days An old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety; beautiful deep dusky purple-pink color, superb sweet flavor, and very large sized fruit. Try this one for real old-time tomato flavor
Copia: 80-90 days One of our most unique and beautiful large, striped tomatoes, these have lovely fine striped of glowing gold and neon red. Inside the flavorful flesh is a mix of red and yellow that is swirled together in various combinations. This new variety was developed by Jeff Dawson and named in honor of Copia, the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts, of Napa, CA
Cuor di Bue: 70 days This oxheart type Italian heirloom has been a favorite in Italy for many years. Beautiful 12 oz fruit have a delicious sweet taste; similar to the shape of a heart; great for fresh eating or cooking. Large vigorous vines. Hard to find.
Dr. Wyches Yellow: 80 days This heirloom was introduced to Seed Savers Exchange by the late Dr. John Wyche, who at one time owned the Cole Brothers Circus and used the manure of elephants to fertilize his heritage gardens. The 1 lb. fruit is solid and smooth; their color is a glowing tangerine-orange that always stands out in the kitchen or off the vine.
Fox Cherry: Delicious large, red heirloom cherry tomatoes that seem to be one of the best-tasting large cherries around. The vining plants are very reliable; even in years when the wilt kills about everything else, these seem to do great. The fruit weigh about 1 oz. each and are perfect for salads.
Great White: 80-85 days Large, 1-lb giant, creamy white fruit, this tomato is superbly wonderful. The flesh is so good and deliciously fruity, it reminds me of a mixture of fresh-cut pineapple, melon and guava. One of our favorite fresh-eating tomatoes! Fruit are smoother than most large beefsteak types, and yields can be very high. Introduced by Gleckler’s Seedsmen.
Hillbilly or Flame: 80-85 Days A huge, bi-color heirloom: brilliant yellow color with red marbling. Very large with a rich, sweet flavor. Beautiful when sliced. An heirloom believed to be from West Virginia.
Lollipop: 70 days Delicious, light yellow translucent cherries. The flavor of these is really good– both sweet and fruity. Plants set good yields. A real winner!
Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge: 80-90 days Stunning tomato is a vibrant, tangerine orange with shocking true purple splashed in various amounts over its upper half. This is one of the few domestic tomatoes that have true purple pigment, although research is being done with wild purple tomatoes. These have a mild taste that make them good for snacking. Fruit weighing 4-10 ounces were produced in abundance and tended to turn more purple as the season progressed. Some fruit may not be very purple, coloration varies.
Paul Robeson: 90 days This famous tomato has almost a cult following among seed collectors and tomato connoisseurs. They simply cannot get enough of this variety’s amazing flavor that is so distinctive, sweet and smokey. 7-10 oz. fruit are a black-brick color. Named in honor of the famous opera singer star of “King Solomon’s Mines,” 1937. This Russian heirloom was lovingly named in his honor.
Placero: A flavorful, small tomato from our friend Herb Culver. He colected this tomato in Cuba from a man named Orlando at Mission Mundial. This tomato also is said to have a very high beta-carotene content. Tasty, red fruit grow on very productive plants.
Pink Brandywine: The most popular heirloom vegetable! A favorite of many gardeners; large fruit with superb flavor. A great potato-leafed variety from 1885! Beautiful pink fruit up to 1 1/2 lbs. each!
Plum Lemon: 80 days Bright canary-yellow 3” fruit looks just like a fresh lemon. … This variety was collected by Kent Whealy, of Seed Savers Exchange, from an elderly seedsman at the Bird Market in Moscow. Delicious, sweet taste.
Purple Calabash: 85 days. May be the most purple of all the “purple” tomatoes; a deep purple/burgundy and very colorful! The shape is also exciting, with the 3” fruit being very flat, ribbed and ruffled. Flavor is intense, sweet and tart, with a lime or citrus taste. A most uniquely flavored tomato! The plants give huge yields. This tomato resembles tomatoes pictured in 16th century herbal diaries.
Riesentraube: 76-85 days This old German heirloom was offered in Philadephia by the mid-1800s. The sweet red 1 oz. fruit grow in large clusters, and the name means “Giant Bunch of Grapes” in German. It is probably the most popular small tomato with seed collectors, as many enjoy the rich, full tomato flavor that is missing in today’s cherry types. Large plants produce massive yields.
Violet Jasper: When these little Oriental jewels ripen, your eyes will be stunned with color. They have pretty violet-purple fruit with iridescent green streaks! Fruit weigh 1-3 oz., are smooth and have good tasting, dark purplish-red flesh. This variety will also amaze you with its yield: It’s not only high, but incredibly high, being one of the most productive tomatoes we have grown.
Yellow Brandywine: 90 days Superbly rich and delicious tasting large fruit, the golden variety gives good yields and, in our opinion, the fruit are better tasting than pink brandywine. Large potato-leaf plants are very sturdy and deep green. This heirloom is delicious any way you eat it!
Yellow Pear: 78 days Very sweet, 1 1/2” yellow, pear-shaped fruit have a mild flavor, and are great for fresh eating or making tomato preserves. Very productive plants are easy to grow.
For some tomato growing tips from serious experts, I recommend reading this great article from Love Apple Farm.