Every gardener has a favorite vegetable or fruit. I really shouldn’t chose one, as there are about 10 that I consider must be in my garden. But I have to admit I really look forward to the first tomato and do anything to make sure my crop is successful.
Over the years I have grown to like the heirloom varieties of tomatoes best. I think they are heartier producers and have the most amazing fresh tomato taste. An heirloom variety is an old fashioned seed variety grown for taste, not production traits. They tend to vary in size and color which in my opinion adds to the fun of growing them.
Unfortunately this love of heirlooms has lead to many different favorites and my garden is packed full of red, yellow, green/white, purple, cherry and pear tomato varieties.
Another reason I grow heirloom tomatoes is that some varieties are near extinction and I grow them to help preserve their history and heritage.
So each year I grow seven or eight varieties of tomatoes and span my best choices over three years. I just can’t grow all the varieties each year. At this time I am trying to encourage my neighbors to grow some of these different varieties and we can share the crop and I can cut down on my tomato plants.
For paste tomatoes I grow Amish Paste and San Maranzo. The yellow Banana Toes is also a paste tomato. It’s a must in my garden
Yellow tomatoes are lower in acid, which is better for people affected by high acid food. My favorites are Yellow Banana, Yellow Stuffer and the small Yellow Pear.
Some of my favorite red tomatoes are Pineapple, Box Car Willie, Caspian Pink, Delicious, Mortgage Lifter and Rutgers. The Rutger tomato was named after the family and is where Rutgers seed catalog was started. What I find interesting about these heirloom tomatoes is that they all have a history and story that go with them and most of the stories are fascinating.
Brandywine is one of my favorite tomatoes because of the rich flavor. They come in several different colors including a deep purple. They add color and art to the garden.
I grow several red orange varieties including Hillbilly, Mr. Stripey and Old German.
There are many green/white varieties but I have only grown the green grape and Green Zebra. Green Zebra has a rich full flavor and is a favorite of mine.
The Cherokee Purple is dark purple to almost a black. It has a wonderful flavor and aroma.
Last but not least are the cherry tomatoes. I have green, red and yellow in the garden. I usually bring at least one plant into the house for fresh small tomatoes throughout the winter months.
In the summer when all the tomatoes are in full production I enjoy collecting one or two of each variety and slicing on a plate. The color and flavor of these heirloom tomatoes is amazing!
I also use no chemicals in my garden so can pick a tomato out of the garden that has been warmed by the sun and enjoy it on the spot.
For more information on all the heirloom tomatoes available check out http://www.tomatobob.com
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