2016 tomato recap

I have been meaning to get this post out pretty much since last October - and if we are being really honest maybe even August. Peak tomato season. But, here we are in February and I'm beginning to think about the garden for this year.

When I would talk to people about my garden last year, it probably sounded like I was talking about children. I couldn't really pick favorites. Everything was special in its own way. In the interest of helping other people pick tomatoes, I'm going to describe what I grew and then rate it for a few qualities. Sound good? Ok. As a summary, I grew most of the fruit from seed and bought two varieties from a local organic farm (Holly Hill Farm). The seeds were just from Burpee - so nothing crazy!

Black Truffle // Overall = A+
Unique = A / Production = A
Small-medium shape. Perfect size for seasonal sliced tomato salads. Grew from Burpee seed [link].

Tye Dye // Overall = A
Unique = A / Production = A
Medium shape. The only thing that really held back my love of this one was that it is just a bigger fruit. Incredibly productive. I had so much left on the vine at the end of the year in November. Grew from Burpee seed [link].

Red Zebra // Overall = B+
Unique = B- / Production = A
Small-ish shape, good for everything. If you want to just have a basic tomato, that is a good size ... this can be your winner. Nothing incredible special to say. It's the "good to have on hand" tomato variety. The Burpee images had a beautiful zebra print that I didn't get in my plants - probably due to some cross pollination. Grew from Burpee seed [link].

Super Sweet 100 Cherry // Overall = A
Unique = B / Production = A+
There was nothing incredibly unique about this variety except perhaps how the vines grew. They were perfect for just cutting and tossing on the grill. Grew from Burpee seed [link].

Garden Peach // Overall = B
Unique = A+ / Production = A
Small shape, great for slicing, mellow flavor, peach-like skin. So this tomato is one where the grades just do not average out well. I picked up this variety at Holly Hill Farm before planting this year to give it a shot - and it was absolutely worth it. It puts out a bunch of fruit and was definitely a good conversation starter. I would completely recommend other people grow this variety, but only 1 plant and maybe not every year. [Burpee seed link]

Cherokee Purple // Overall = B
Unique = B+ / Production = C
Very large fruit with that traditional heirloom shape. Some of the fruits were so big they took up the palm of my hand. Much more productive during the earlier part of the tomato season but faded off earlier than the other varieties. Was not nearly as productive as the other varieties as well. Still recommend planting this one because it's a total showstopper. [Burpee seed link]
I specifically tried to pick tomatoes that would look different than what you could get at the grocery store - or a local farmstand. The result was some really beautiful (I'm biased) meals. I got pretty creative with what to do with all the tomatoes. There was a lot of sauce, some roasted with fish, roasted with gnocchi, jam, and a million caprese style salads. As of now the plan is to try almost 75% new varieties this year, so we'll see what happens.
 
[top] produce haul in late fall.
[Group of 4] tie dye, black truffle, cherry, garden peach
[Varieties section] 1 - cherry, 2 - garden peach, 3 - purple cherokee, 4 - red zebra, 5 - tie dye, 6 - black truffle, 7 - group shot showing different shapes 
[Recipes section] 1 - tie dye, 2- roasted with gnocchi, 3 - red zebra, 4 - black truffle, 5 - tomato jam, 6 - roasted tomato sauce, 7 - tie dye and black tuffle with carrot chimichuri, 8 - black truffle and red zebra, 9 - roasted cod with tomatoes

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