Picked a big popcorn bowl full of ripe tomatoes from our two dozen plants, first real bounty of the summer, and only a month behind the usual ETA.
Pleasant surprise of the season, so far, is the Black Pear, replacement for the Black Prince plant I couldn’t find even through the Dave’s Garden website. It’s one of the ugliest useful plants I’ve ever seen — looks like somebody was trying to breed organic Truck Nutz, creepy potato-leafed vines crowded with clusters of twin & triplet fist-sized, sac-shaped fruit ripening to an angry, transluscent maroon-purple with lime green highlights. But the flesh is succulent and delicious, not too tart, not too sweet, with rich flavor undertones. They’re so delicious fresh, on burgers or rye bread, that I haven’t tried slow-roasting yet, but that may change tomorrow.
Second best for us, so far, has been the Juliet ‘salad tomato’, which I remember from last year as prolific but not extraordinarily tasty. This year, a rainy overcast June and July encouraged lush foliage but kept even my “emergency backup” plants — one Early Girl, a Roma, a Sweet Million cherry tomato — from setting fruit. Only the Juliet and the Sun Gold, an orange (low-acid) cherry type, have been producing since the second week of July, when the Ripeness Rush usually starts around here. And the Sun Golds just have not been up to most year’s standards, but the Juliets are sweet & flavorful. Only problem is that they’re a little thick-skinned for my tastes, but after the last few weeks they have moved up next year’s shopping list from “dependable, not striking” to “must find.”
On the other side of the ledger, my basil plants — one Genovese, on small-leaf globe — have gone to flower, overnight, without ever reaching a decent size. Fortunately, my taste buds aren’t so refined that I can’t make do with supermarket or even frozen basil cubes…
How’s everybody doing at the end of another hot, sticky weekend?