When choosing what to grow, I have a few priorities. The first is that it is open-pollinated, with a preference for heirloom or historical varieties. The second is where did that heirloom originate – how will it grow in my area? If I can find an heirloom from Missouri or Kansas, I am more likely to try it out than something from Florida. I am, of course, interested in taste at all levels.
I hate tomatoes. I have for as long as I can remember, but my mom and her sisters love them. They grew up on a tomato farm, which the older ones remember with minimal fondness. But still, they love tomatoes. A good tomato will get them on the phone to let each other know where they may happen on a tomato that tastes like a tomato.
I grow tomatoes every year in pursuit of that tomato from their childhood. I haven’t hit on it yet – I have grown good tomatoes, but not the tomato. Realistically that tomato does not exist, but I will forever be in pursuit.
Tomato varieties I have in my inventory: Principe Borghese, Amish Paste, Costoluto Genovese, Isis Candy Cherry, Brown Berry, Cherokee Purple, Riesentraube, and Rose Hill Pink Plum.
The Brown Berry was a free seed packet I got and haven’t grown, and the Rose Hill Pink Plum is from the Seed Savers Exchange members program they did this year, where they gave seeds to members. I am looking forward to growing it to see if it is the tomato. I am also planning on growing the Riesentraube for cherry tomatoes and the Amish Paste or Costoluto Genovese. If I have space, I would like to try the Principe Borghese.
The Risentraube I have grown before and it has gotten the approval for taste. If I had more room, I would try to grow another cherry tomato for comparison. That’s the thing about always being in pursuit – even if I find a good variety, I’m always wanting to try something more.
The Amish Paste I have grown before, though I did not stay on top of harvesting, but it was prolific towards the end of the season and one of the goals for this years garden is to make our own pasta sauce. It will likely get the edge just because of prior years experience – but the Costoluto Genovese is so gorgeous.
Hopefully I will harvest tons of tomatoes. I will undoubtedly take one bite of a cherry tomato – confirm my continuing hatred for tomatoes – and throw the rest of the cherry tomatoes to the chickens. And then I will scour seed catalogs for another variety to try in 2019.