Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tomato Tuesday-Cherished Cherries and Precious Pears

Have a tomato and be happy!

Some of my very favourite heirloom tomatoes happen to be the small varieties. Nothing more wonderful than working in the garden and snacking on some sweet treats as you work.

There were a few last year that most people didn't get a chance to try...I ate the majority of them .  I can get pretty hungry out in the garden with all the physical work.

Perhaps my favourite cherry last year was Elfin, which you will find on my  tomato transplant listing , along with other perennial favourites such as Green Doctors, Brown Berry, Cuban Yellow Grape , Dr Carolyn's,Isis Candy Cherry and Snow White .

Red cherry types are not usually my favourite, but Elfin was exceptional.  It is a small grape shaped fruit, and was as sweet as candy.  The way I grew it could have resulted in a skin that was a bit thicker, but i also know the way I grew it made the taste maybe just a bit better.

All the tomatoes in my hoop houses last year were watered until they were established and I could see growth.  But then the water stopped.  I had read about this technique with tomatoes called "dry farming", and I guess it is quite popular in California. Obviously in Southern Ontario we get a bit more rain seasonally than California, so to mimic their results I did it in a rain free environment; my hoop house.

The flavour of the stressed plants under plastic was exceptional, far superior to the fruit outdoors which only received water courtesy of the weather.  Although they were good too-clay does improve the taste of tomatoes in my humble opinion.

But Elfin under these conditions was fabulous. And amazingly, the deprived plants didn't die, but carried on.

Withholding water is something to consider trying this year.

Back to the tomatoes however.  If you manage to make it out to my sale on May 21 and 22 there are more wonderful small fruiting tomato plants to check out.  Or if you're not in the area, these varieties may be worth finding.

Striped Black Cherry- A nice sweet and very attractive fruit, black/ brown with green striping. I always find the skin is a bit thick, but nonetheless a great bite.

Piedmont Pear- I love this tomato. A small pear shaped fruit, pale yellow and a red mottling.  So sweet and attractive.

Aunt Ruby's German Green Cherry- A nice small green when ripe cherry with a distinctive taste. Yum.

Thompson Classic Seedless Grape- Seeds for this exceptional tomato were given to me by Tom Wagner, it's creator, when I met him at an SSE convention in Iowa several years ago. A bit bigger than a cherry, it is a smallish plant, green in colour with a bit of a yellow sheen when ripe, and unbelievable flavour.

Capuchino-Lovely sweet brown cherry...as is.....
Chocolate Cherry- and...
Sandy's Chocolate Cherry.

Cinnamon Pear-Small brown pear shaped fruit, deliciously sweet. I also have Ivory Pear, a few different strains of yellow pear, and a few different strains of red pear.

Dr Carolyn's Pink- Lovely pink cherry, mild flavoured and sweet.

Cerise Orange-a tangy and distinctive orange cherry

I'm starting to run out of descriptive adjectives now.  Can I just say they are all exceptional or I wouldn't grow them?

People love Cuban Yellow Grape. You get tons of small sweet little yellow grape tomatoes.  Then we have the currants....yellow (Gold Rush), white and red (Sweet Pea).  My favourite is white...it has a very distinctive taste, and of course is....what else? Sweet !

Also look for Golden Grape, Fablonelstyni (a flattish, cute as a button tiny beefsteak), Mirabelle (prolific small yellow grape), Yellow Ping Pong, Amy's Sugar gem (red), Ceylon (cute, small ruffled fruit), Korney's Jelly Bean, Red Pearl, Red Supreme, Red Robin and yes, there's more.

Don't know what to try?  They're small... try them all!


Kris Mo said...

Mmm... I distinctly remember Elfin from your Tomato Tour. Divine!! A teeny, sweet summer treat that lands itself squarely on my 'must buy' list for sure. Don't sell out before I get there! ;)

Aagaard Farms said...

Great round-up of goodies! I'm interested in the dry ground tomato growing. We can be, officially, in drought in the summer in Manitoba!

Linda said...

Thanks for reading! Definitely I will save you an Elfin, Kris!

..and yes Aagaard, the dry growing technique sounds like it would work really well for you. You'll be amazed at the intense flavour and the will of those plants to live and produce. I think many people mess up tomatoes because they baby them, which is not at all what they need!

Buttons said...

I love your posts I always learn something new. I love the tiny tomatoes I have some kind (not sure what kind) started in my basement.Thank you B

Linda said...

Thanks, Buttons. You getting pretty busy now?

Iz said...

I love all of your varieties that I have tried, but I think that of the smaller ones, the Cuban Yellow Grapes were a hit with our family. The larger ones too are so rich and flavourful...how can one choose?

Linda said...

I'll pick some beauties for you, Iz!

mermaid wedding dresses said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.