Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tomato of the week-Red Garden Peach... and what is in a name?

Red Garden Peach-in the middle, surrounded by friends

Years ago, probably around 10 or 15, I ordered some seed for a tomato that sounded very intriguing from a very wonderful US seed company called The Cook's Garden

Red Garden Peach was the tomato and it was my first introduction to a "peach" type tomato. And of all the peaches I've grown, ( we're still talking tomatoes here), it is my favourite.

The Cook's Garden no longer carries this tomato seed.  I actually don't know of any commercial source  at all for it.  Clearly it is a saver...and save it I do.

You can have your Wapsipicon Peach, or Yellow Garden Peach or Peche Blanche.  I just love the Red Garden Peach, and taste is why.

This is a tomato that is highly unlikely to ever show up in grocery store displays.

It is extremely fragile, like, well, a peach.  The skin is a velvety skin, and the tomato is extremely soft.
It may last a day picked, but not likely a whole lot more than that.

It is sweet and ever so juicy when eaten. Just really delicious and really very different...from texture to taste.

In the tomato world you learn to never take anything for granted.

I requested some seed for "Peche Rouge" from Kokopelli in France  thinking that perhaps this would be the same tomato.  I was so delighted to find it was a much larger version of my Red Garden Peach, nearly fist size and equally as delicious.

I find these red peach types much more flavourful than their white and yellow counterparts, which are much milder (read... blander) in taste.

So that is a lesson in tomato names.  In France Red Garden Peach would be called Red Garden Peach, just as Peche Rouge, a totally different tomato, is Peche Rouge in Wellandport.

A name is a name.  You can't translate it, shorten it, or otherwise massacre it.  Someone named it and that is what it is.  It is important as seed is passed along, or plants are sold, to ensure accuracy with the name.

I remember reading a blog a while back. The author  was commenting on the merits of a tomato called "Purple Smudge Orange Flesh". She called it "Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge".  Perhaps she didn't like the moniker being the length it was, even though she had it wrong at the start, so she chose to cut it down to the more simple "Purple Smudge". Now I see seeds being sold on EBay for "Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge.  No such tomato!!" Foul!  Foul! On both counts, foul!

You simply can't do that!  Purple Smudge is a whole different tomato.  It is like me naming my daughter Mollie, and someone else calls her Holly and she ends up being Dolly ...oh my.

If we are going to grow seed to save and pass it along, we have to get the name and story right as best we can.
It's history, food history!  Food with a story worth telling.  So let's tell it right.

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