Juicy heirloom tomato
Tomatoes have been one of the most consistent crops for us, minus slugs. Any problems we have are usually caused by us: waiting to long to stake, watering incorrectly, not clearing out debris. There are pretty simple fixes, but trying to stake an overgrown tomato is like trying to wrangle a brittle octopus into 8-legged footie pajamas. Tomatoes have typical ailments: blossom end rot (inconsistent watering), blight (not rotating crops after several years or not cleaning up leftover garden debris), bloom drop (too high temps), lack of blooms (soil nutrients unbalanced). We always plant more than we need but there are too many awesome varieties to have only planted a couple plants.
Cherries and grape tomatoes are sweet and fun for little kids – their overabundance leads to lots of harvest. They are great simply off-plant, shish-kebabbed, split in salads or roasted with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Roma or paste are solid, palm-sized, and less watery. They are great cooking tomatoes for canning sauces or salsas, they also make a quick mild base to fresh pico de gallo.
Slicers are the round, typical tomato that comes to mind. They are generally mild-flavored. The are also good for sauce though the higher moisture content means a longer cook time. They are the quintessential burger topper and many overly-bland varieties make it to the grocer shelves. We usually have one or two plants to make canned sauces.
Beefsteak, heirloom, etc. are generally the ultimate sandwich tomatoes. In a caprese salad they can be dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper and layered between fresh mozzarella and basil, just this side of heaven. Heavy, meaty, sweet and tangy. These are the stars of flavor in the tomato world. Because of their heft and water content they are less apt to show up in stores and are a delicacy to find at farmers’ markets. They come in myriad of colors and shapes. Some lumpy and pushing a couple pounds, others are pearly-rose, black, yellow or even green when ripe. These need heavy staking.
Quick-sauteed tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper over shell pasta with parmesan