Thursday, August 05, 2004

The Strib Discovers Heirloom Tomatoes

Found a pretty nice article about heirloom tomatoes (a major passion of mine) in the Star Tribune today:
Bursts of Flavor: Heirloom tomatoes offer old-fashioned goodness with each bite.

It focuses on a grower named Ruth Viste from Wisconsin. Along the way it names a number of varieties which are personal favorites of mine. Here was my favorite part of the article:

"There's a blazing pink-orange sunset (Jaune Flamme) and a two-tone mix of rain-slicker yellow and avocado not unlike a 1970s shag carpet (Green Zebra). Then there's a festive kiwi (Aunt Ruby's German Green), a purplish beet red with streaks of forest green (Black Krim) and just about everything in between. In the reds alone there are 18 varieties, each a tone or two different from its neighbor. Eye-catching shapes run the gamut, too, from ping-pong balls, pears and teardrops to banana peppers and softballs.

Flavors are similarly varied, although all revel in the tomato's unbeatable embodiment of summer sunshine. Kellogg's Breakfast, with its he-man flavor and juicy bite, is the foundation for a peerless BLT; heck, you could skip the bacon and lettuce -- and even the Hellmann's -- and you'd still have a first-rate sandwich. Bite-size Orange Sungolds, with their bracing burst of acidity, are like cherry tomato sourball candies. There are orange citrus overtones in the Tangella. Garden Peach, a glowing gold-verging-on-persimmon that appears to be lit from within, sports a nectarine-esque fuzziness, and its creamy flesh and sweetly mellow taste recalls a ripe peach. To those who have never relished the tomatoes savored by prior generations, the experience is a revelation."


Sort of masochistic of me to read that, considering that only 5 varieties have ripened anything for me yet. I'm still waiting for Jaune Flamme, Black Krim, and Aunt Ruby's German Green, which are all mentioned above and are all among my favorites. Also waiting on Green Zebra, which isn't reall a favorite, but is pretty nice all the same. More importantly I'm waiting on Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Neves Azorean Red, Black from Tula, Eva Purple Ball, Zogola, Moskovich, Black Cherry, Manyel, Marianna's Peace, Boxcar Willie, OTV Brandywine, Sweet Quartz, Dr. Lyle, and a few mystery volunteers which popped up on their own. And considering this is August 5th, and there's no guarentee frost won't hit sometime in mid-September, these puppies need to start cranking!!

I have enjoyed our cool summer, but the late tomato crop is reminding me why hot summers can be good things.


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