The Heirloom Tomatoes are Ripe!

 Vintage Wine Heirloom Tomato

mister gardener’s organic heirloom tomatoes are juicy and ripe and literally falling off the plants right now. The term heirloom is loosely defined as tomato varieties that have passed through several generations in an open-pollinated or non-hybrid method of fertilization.  It’s a popular choice for backyard gardens and those who promote locally grown foods.  mister gardener’s tomatoes come with colorful names like Boxcar Willie, Aunt Ginny’s Purple, Honey, Julia Child, Amana Orange, Amish Gold, and Cherokee Purple, a popular dark-colored tomato said to be grown by Cherokee Indians well over a hundred years ago.

The shapes, colors and sizes of mister gardener’s heirlooms vary widely and I must admit they are fun to see in the garden. Not exactly beautiful or appetizing looking, but they are touted as tastier than commercial tomatoes, no matter how you slice them. These unusual tomatoes are common to see at local Farmer’s Markets and, yes, I have picked up a few from time to time. How can you resist?

Cherokee Purple

Oh dear, I may be going to get myself in big trouble for saying this.  Just give me ANY ripe July tomato warmed by the summer sun!  If the weather and soil has provided the proper conditions, whether a hybrid or an heirloom, they are equally delicious, juicy and sweet with a hint of tartness…. my favorite combination of tastes.

The down side of heirlooms is the tendency of tomatoes to split and their lack of resistance to fungal infections.  Plants in the wild must evolve to survive but heirloom tomatoes are isolated by growers for their size and shape and taste, not disease resistance. Four of mister gardener’s lovely heirlooms have perished due to fungus, however 1/4 of his garden is devoted to these plants in specially built cages to support their indeterminate sizes…. some over 6 ft. tall… so we will have enough to fill the kitchen with mister gardener’s wonderful and colorful salads all summer long!

How divine!

Ann Hohenberger