Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Guest Post: Tomato Days Evangelist by Jo Pavlov

So this is the beginning of my fifth year living in Wellandport and my third year getting my vegetables from Linda.  Spring is a fabulous time of year for me, new beginnings!!  It was such a long, hard, cold winter.  And I ran out of homemade tomato sauce sometime in January which made the past four months almost intolerable.  Alas.

My first year in the Tree and Twig CSA, I had no clue what I was getting myself into.  I didn't recognize half the stuff in my basket, but I was excited to learn.  There were hits (sorrel!) and misses (ground cherries!) but I *always* found homes for the stuff I didn't like or was scared of, as tasty heirloom veggies are easy to find second homes for.  I have friends who drool when they see me coming with a baggie for them.  My Spanish friends LOVE the tomatillos, my Philipino friend says the ground cherries are the delightful flavour of her childhood.  Smoothie Sarah will take any and all kale I give her, but I often save it for myself.  Christine (who fancies herself a parsely afficianado) squeed so loudly, I thought she was joking.  She wasn't.  Said Linda's parsley was the best parsley on the planet.  And Christine lives in the Middle East ten months of the year!

And the tomatoes.  Oh the tomatoes.  If my basket just held tomatoes, I would be so fine with that.  It's all gravy after Linda's tomatoes.

This year I decided to share the love.  I sent out an all call to my colleagues about Linda's Tomato Days this weekend and said she had 96 varieties of heirloom seedlings, and if anyone thought the trek from Hamilton to Wellandport was too daunting (Bah! I do it daily!), I would be so kind as to take orders and deliver to work on Tuesday.

I have found out, of course, that 96 varieties doesn't even scratch the surface of what she offers, but it's the list I gave the colleagues, and it's the buzz of the office.  Pineapple is already sold out, but Linda assures me she can suggest a suitable substitute.  We were giggling in the office over some of the "one to two pounders" some plants produce, versus "VERY prolific" cherry varieties.  How do you pick just a few???

I have orders for 20 plants at the moment, and more to come as people bring me their money by Friday.  I'm hoping they all fit in my car!  And I'm going to have to head down early on Saturday, lest she sell out.

Never mind that there is a big community garage sale at the Wellandport Community Centre, same bat time, same bat channel.  And my yard saling habit is up there with my T&T tomato habit.  So I'm giddy about Saturday!!

Also:  giddy about the upcoming season!  I don't even care that it's going to be a late one.  All good things are worth waiting for.


Red Tomatoes at Tomato Days 2014

It is only 3 days now until my sale, and there is still lots left to do. There is last minute labelling, meeting up with people as they pick up their advance orders, watering the plants in the hoophouses, answering email and phone calls and quite a few little nit picky things. Buy a few groceries for example.
This year I am not panicked because I need to get the garden in though. My clay is soggy and won't be planted anytime soon.
The weather looks good for Saturday, and Saturday is usually a pretty busy day. It is all first come first served and if you have been looking at my lists of what will be here, you'd best come early to get your choice.
All the tomatoes are good though, and if you just want a wonderful tomato and would like to spend a bit more time with me chatting about your selections, Sunday or Monday are better choices for you.
Please remember I am a super-low tech person. I don't take credit cards or debit cards, and also note that the nearest cash machines are in Fenwick or Smithville as our local Wellandport variety store with the cash machine (and gas) is no more.
When I opened up my newspaper as I always do after supper when I am sipping my tea, a big garden centre flyer dropped out.
It amazes me what transplants are being sold now. Not amazes me as in"wow isn't that great", but amazes me as in "wow-what a rip-off".
Some things you won't find me selling here on the weekend are bean, pea, carrot or spinach plants. The fact is that these vegetables do not transplant well, and by the time you put them in the ground and they finally recover from the transplant shock, you might as well have just planted the seed. For about one tenth the cost.
Buyer beware.

Here is the listing of the red tomatoes you will find here on "Tomato Days".
Warning: this is a long list!

Anna's Multiflora
Alice's Egypt
Anmore Teardrop Cherry
Angora Super sweet
Amish Paste
Bedwin Cherry
Bonnie Best
Bloody Butcher
Basket V
Bush Beefsteak
Brandywine Landis Strain
Britain's Breakfast
Burbank Slicing
Big Beef
Burracker's Favourite
Berkshire Polish Beefsteak
Break O Day
Believe it or not
Chalk's Early Jewel
Canadian Heart
Chinese Paste
Chateau Rose
Czech's Bush
Costoluto Genovese
Cosmonaut Volkov
Chadwick Cherry
Crimson Sprinter
Christmas Grapes
Brandywine Red
Box Car Willie
Costoluto Fiorentino
Crynkovic Yugoslavian
Early Annie (early)
Early Wonder (early)
Fence Row Cherry
Frazier's Gem
Fat Cherry
Florida basket (determinate)
Franchi Red Pear
Grandma Mary's Paste
Gardener's Delight
German Red Strawberry
Goji Faranj
Grightmire's Pride
Giant Belgium
Hungarian Italian Paste
Hungarian Heart
Hawaiian Cherry
Jersey Devil
Hayslip (determinate)
John Baer
Jujube Cherry
Jersey Giant
Joe Pesch
Kimberley (early)
Large Red Cherry
Lizanno Cherry
Lumpy Red
Magnum Beefsteak
Martino's Roma
Mexico Midget
Halliday's Mortgage lifter
Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter
Miel De Mexique
Mexico Giant
New Round Paste
Peacevine Cherry
Red Pear
Latah (early)
Mountain Princess (early)
Pittman Valley Plum
Long Tom
Red Cherry
Roma-Virginia Select
Re Pisa Date
Starfire improved
Raspberry Miracle
Russian 117
Royal Hillbilly
Redfield Beauty
Super Choice
Sophie's Choice
Red Pearl
San Marzano Bush
Sub Arctic plenty (early)
STUPICE (super early)...and I have lots!
Stump of the World
Tappy's Heritage
Terenzo- determinate
Velvet Red
Wickline Cherry
Watermelon Beefsteak
Ottawa 39
Keralik Cherry
Wheatley Frost Resistant
Way Ahead (early)
Zarnista (early)
Mystery Keeper
Reverent Morrow's Longkeeper
Greenskin Longkeeper

In addition I have the red tomatoes on the pre-order list and none are sold out.
Hope to see you on the weekend...but remember if you can't make it, I have lots of plants and will have some for weeks to come.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Orange and Yellow Tomatoes at Tomato Days 2014

The plants look great this year. They are stocky and sturdy and ready to go in the ground when the ground is ready to go in.
My soil is still water-logged and if we get the bit of rain that is called for over the next few days, it will be a bit of time before I'll be planting much of anything.
It's a late spring for planting to be sure. I am definitely a good month behind in planting outdoors, because of the cold initially, and now the wet. It will happen though, it always does.
It's been so nice over the past few days to see people coming to pick up their advance orders. I truly appreciate seeing  the same people year after year and  enjoy having a bit of a chat. Thanks to those of you who travel a distance and make a day of it. I truly appreciate your business, but it is more than that too. I've enjoyed meeting you and getting to know a bit about you. I'm surrounded by a wonderful and supportive community. Thank-you.
Here's the listing of the yellow-orange tomatoes that you'll find at my sale on the weekend. Most of the pre-order varieties remain as well.
Orange tomatoes are fabulous, sweet and fruity. If you are looking for less acid bite in your tomato, yellows are the ticket. I've got a few varieties of each. Perhaps more.

Aunt Ruby's Yellow Cherry
Amish Yellow Giant
Amana Orange
Amy's Apricot
Amber Colored
Aunt Gertie's Gold
Aladdin's Lamp
Broad Ripple Yellow Currant
Banana Cream
Banana Legs
Big Yellow Simpson
Big Orange
Big Yellow
Chuck's Yellow
Caro Rich
Ciuj Yellow Cherry
Candy's Old Yellow
Cerise Orange
Cuban Yellow Grape
Djena Lee's Golden Girl
Delice D'or
Dr Caroline
Dakota Gold
Dawson Russian Oxheart
Dr Wyche's Yellow
Dixie Golden Giant
Dr Carolyn's
Dagma's Perfection
Earl of Edgecomb
Egg Yolk Cherry
Faribos Gold Heart
Yellow Garden Peach
Fargo Yellow Pear
Galina's Yellow Cherry
Gold Roma
Golden Egg
Golden Gates
Golden Ponderosa
Golden Queen
Golden Grape
Gold Currant
Gold Nugget Cherry
Gold Bison Cherry
Golden Konigin
Golden Jubilee
Golden Dwarf Champion
Gold Ball
German Orange Strawberry
Gourmet Yellow Stuffer
Stokes Golden Queen
Glory of Moldova
Hazel Gold
Huge Lemon Oxheart
Italian Gold
Iles Yellow Latvian
Ida Gold
Indian Moon
Jaune Negib
Jumbo Jim Orange
Jaune Plissée
Jaune Flamme
Maylor Roths Orange Brandywine
Kellogg's Breakfast Potato Leaf
Mollie's Awesome Yellow Pear
Orange Strawberry
Pink Lemon
Plum Lemon
Pike County Yellow
Regina's Yellow
Tess' Land Race Currant
Verna Orange
Wapsipinicon Peach
Mennonite Orange
Mountain Gold
Nebraska Wedding
Mini Orange
Nicolayev Yellow Cherry
Native sun
Orange Beefsteak
Orange Banana
Orange Icicle
Olga Yellow Round Chicken
Orange Heirloom
Orange Minsk
Orange Blossom
Sungold Select II
Yellow Centiflor
Yellow Ruffled
Yellow Furry Hog
Yellow Bell
Yellow Ping Pong
Lillian's Yellow
Yellow Perfection
Yellow Garden Peach
Yellow Pear
Yellow Riesentraube
Rosalee's Early Orange
Sun Sugar F1
Sun Gold
Sun Belle
Roman Candle
Plum Lemon
Yellow Brimmer
Yellow Gooseberry
Yellow Brandywine

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Green, Pink and Purple tomatoes at Tomato Days

What a day.
Sadly right off the bat I had to bury one of my old hens. I knew she hadn't been doing well lately and had tried nursing her back to health, but it was not meant to be. She died last night and I dug her a deep grave to bury her this morning. This is hard for me and not something I am good at  at all, but it had to be done. So rest in peace dear soul. I found myself looking for you today, but you were gone.
I began working in the front hoophouse, moving ordered plants around, and heard a bit of noise. Trust me, at my home this isn't particularly unusual, there are lots of us and we can be noisy.
But when I walked out of the hoophouse, something caught my eye on the front lawn.
Lo and behold. It was my tres handsome piggy Joey munching on a few things in my flower garden.
He's such a nice boy and when I called him, enticing him with a bit of grain, he trotted back to his little barn and fenced in area. He's very accommodating.

Tomato seedling season is in full swing for me. I'm busy getting all the advance orders pulled together and it's turning out to be a monumental task. There were so, so many this year, for which I am very grateful.
Definitely the most popular tomato this year is Pineapple, followed by Stupice, Big Rainbow and a few of the new ones like Blue Berries, Blue beauty and Purple Bumblebee.
You'll have a chance to grab some of these when you hit my sale on May 17th, 18 and 19th. I also keep selling as long as I can, so if the long weekend doesn't work for you...come out after it.
I usually have plants right up until mid-June and the way this season is looking, that will still be plenty of time to get your plants in.
This year make it your mission to try a green tomato. Please, please please-they are so good. I've encouraged my regulars to give some of the green cherries a try in the past, and they have become favourites. Green Doctor's, Envy and Thompson Classic Seedless are tremendous.

Here are the greens I am growing this year, followed by the pinks and purples. These are in addition to the ones on the pre-order list on my website.

Aunt Ruby's German Green
Aunt Ruby's German Green Cherry
Chili Verde
Cherokee Green
Dwarf Beryl Beauty
Granny Smith
Garden Lime
Green Velvet
Gruene Helarios
Grubs Mystery Green
Green Doctor's
Green Pineapple
Green Giant
Green Sausage
Green Bombs
Grandma Oliver's Green
Lime Green Salad
Marz Green
Summertime Green
Verde Rallados


Anna Russian
Aunt Ginny's Purple
Bread and Salt
Big Raspberry
Brandy Sweet Plum
Big Purple Brandywine
Buffalo Heart
Clear Pink Early Cherokee Purple
Crimean Rose
Caspian Pink
Brandywine Sudduth Strain
Clear Pink
Dr Carolyn's Pink
Dingo Eye
Canary Rose
Dark Rose
 Dwarf Champion Improved
 Earl's Faux
Eva Purple Ball
Ella's Pink Plum
Gezhante Buhrurkeel
Eagle's Beak
Evan's Purple Pear
Ferris Wheel
Grightmire's Pride
Gregori's Altai
German Lunchbox
German Johnson
German Pink
Grace lahman's Pink
Japanese plum
Japanese Oxheart
Kentucky Plate
Kalman's Hungarian Pink
Lithuanian Crested Pink
Indian Stripe
Lincoln Adams
Mike's italian Plum
Marianne's Peace
Mrs Houseworth
Ozark Pink
Purple Russian
Pink Ruffled
Pink Monserrat
Purple Cherry
Pearly Pink
Purple Brandy
Pink Ping Pong
Pink Princess Cherry
Purple Dog Creek
Pink Ice
Porter's Dark Cherry
Rose de Berne
Russian Rose
Dwarf Rosella Purple
Purple Pear
Sweet Carneros Pink
Thai Pink Egg
Tsungshigo Chinese
Una Hartsock
Ukranian Purple
Vinson Watts
VB Russian Plum
Wolford Wonder

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Black, Brown and Blue Tomatoes at Tomato Days 2014

Now that the transplanting has all been finished, the very onerous task of writing labels for all the seedlings is underway. It's quite a job, let me tell you.
I have so many varieties of everything, and in most cases small quantities of those things, that any kind of mechanization is out of the question. It's is the old fashioned way of doing things, handwriting tags, that fits the bill.
Let's just say I am getting there.
With more than 10,000 plants in the hoop house needing labels, it is a slow process. It's a peaceful job though and after the flurry of needing to get the transplanting done, this pace seems just about right.
The plants look great, and in about two weeks when you come to buy them, they'll be ready to go and are hardened off and sturdy.
Remember though that a frost is entirely possible after my sale weekend, and I am strongly recommending not getting them in the ground on the long weekend. I checked back through my notes over the years and we've definitely had frosts right up to the 24th. And including. So don't rush the season, especially this year when everything is so late anyways.
There are some great dark coloured tomatoes to choose from this year. You'll notice lots of intriguing blues, which are definitely something a bit different.

Here's what you'll find in the way of blacks, blues and browns when you come:

Black Truffles
Blue Match
Black Star
Black from Tula
Brad's Black Heart
Black Ethiopian
Black Cherry
Black Plum
Black Sea Man
Brazilian BeautyBlack Magic
Black Brown Boar
Brown Berry
Blue Fruit
Black Cuban
Black Russian
Black Magic
Black Early
Black Brandywine
Cafe Bule
Chocolate Cherry
Brownies Cherry
Chocolate Pear
J D's Special C-Tex
Chernyi Krim
Cherokee Chocolate
Carol Chykos Big Paste Black
Dwarf Wild Fred
Dark Italian
Dark Brandy
Amazon Chocolate
Gary o'Shea
Heart's Delite
 Indigo Rose
Mikado Cherry
True Black Brandywine
Noire Charbonneuse
Noire de Crimee
Mr Brown
Paul Robeson
Perth Pride
Robson Angola
Sara Black
Sandy's Chocolate Cherry
Sleeping Lady
Turk's Muts
Tasmanian Chocolate