Tantalizing Tomatoes


I have a confession to make.  I’m an unrepentant addict.  My addiction is tomatoes:  little ones, big ones, ugly ones, pretty ones, red, yellow, green, or pink.  I’m rather indiscriminate, except when it comes to taste.  And I don’t think I’m alone.  Admit it!  Aren’t tomatoes the main reason you garden?  Beginning in very late June, right up through October, I can be found in the garden with tomato juice dripping down my chin. 

 Blog16  heirloom tomatoes

After that the tomatoes we’ve “put up” continue to feed my cravings for many months.  Jar after jar of tomato basil soup, colorful diced tomatoes, and spaghetti sauce line my canning room shelves.  Sealed tubs of dehydrated tomato slices line the counter, and packets of roasted cherry tomatoes fill the freezer.  Jars of spicy tomato jam and peach/tomato/pepper salsa wait patiently to perk up our winter meals.

I regularly grow 25-30 tomato plants a year for our family of three which may seem excessive until you know that we all happily eat tomatoes all day long.  A big bowl of mixed cherry tomatoes shines like jewels on our table throughout the summer and is always empty by evening.  I’m never done trying new tomato recipes for dinner.  New tomatoes always sneak into my seed orders and get planted out in the garden.

cherry tomatoes 1

So how do I choose which tomatoes to plant?  Descriptions in catalogs are hard to judge by.  They can’t all be the “largest, juiciest, best tasting, most popular” tomatoes on the planet.  You need to identify what is most important for you and your garden.  Then you need to try lots of tomatoes!  In the early days of our garden we went to harvest festivals and tomato tastings to try lots of varieties.  I read voraciously in books like Amy Goldman’s Heirloom Tomatoes, and Epic Tomatoes by Craig LeHoullier.  Since then we just keep trying tomatoes that are new to us while hanging on to the ones we know we love. 

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