You say tomato

Aside from a few sweet handfuls of cherry and grape tomatoes, most of August went by without me taking my first bite from a homegrown, full-size tomato. However, somewhere around the third week of August I noticed the green tomatoes were taking on a pink “blush” and I knew it wouldn’t be long.

Sure enough, on August 22nd, I picked the first ripe “Siberia”:

And it’s heart-shaped. Ain’t that cute?

The next day, I had another ripe one. Both got eaten over the weekend by us – sliced up and drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and fresh basil.

Since then, we’ve been getting one or two per day. Unfortunately, I don’t think I planted as many plants as I needed to in order for us to have enough fruit all at once for salsa or tomato sauce. It’s a good thing my dad plants hundreds of tomatoes every year!

We have been enjoying them quite a bit, even in small quantities. I eat them fresh at work using the preparation method I mentioned above. We made an amazing small batch of fresh salsa with avocado chunks. This past week, I made pasta and topped it off with homemade tomato sauce. And fresh tomatoes are always good with basil in an omelet.

This year, I grew three varieties of full-size tomatoes: Siberia, Prudens Purple, and German Strawberry. All were heirloom varieties, all were started by me under my grow lights. “Siberia” produced the earliest tomatoes, and I have to say that I really enjoyed the taste. Typically, I’ve found that you sacrifice some taste for early production, but I don’t think that’s true with this variety. I’ll for sure keep it in my rotation. “Prudens Purple” was supposed to be similar to a Brandywine (my favorite heirloom variety) but with smaller fruit and earlier production. It totally lives up to it’s description, and therefore will be another regular in my garden.

The only variety I wasn’t wild about were the “German Strawberry” tomatoes. To me, they were somewhat bland and they seemed really susceptible to blossom end rot. The ones that I got off the plant were only slightly larger than a cherry tomato but without the sweetness. It was more of a “red” tomato versus the other two varieties that were more on the “pink” side, and I think that maybe has a lot to do with the flavors that I like. Maybe next year I’ll try doing all pink varieties to see if I get any bland ones.


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