Wow. What a great tomato season we have had here in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. It has been warm and dry and then dryer and a bit warmer until just recently when we hauled all the last tomatoes in and pulled down the vines. The garden looks a bit naked without them but we have had quite a good crop with plenty to process into salsa, sauce and paste as well as enjoy in many salads and sandwiches. I must have been so busy with the tomatoes that I haven’t been writing so much.
Starting out with seeding on March 22, the tomatoes germinated and grew well in their 36 containers carefully placed around our little garden and greenhouse.
All the returning favorites were fabulous once more: Azoychka, Black Cherry, Black Ethiopian, Boxcar Willie, Costoluto Genovese, Cream Sausage, Hillbilly, Indigo Rose, Paul Robeson, Purple Russian, and San Marzano Redorta. Black Cherry, Black Ethiopian, and Paul Robeson were standouts for flavour while Indigo Rose with its black skin and red flesh has remarkable stamina, producing well into the autumn. Azoychka is a gorgeous yellow tomato with flashes of red inside.
The new varieties that we tried out this year were pretty good, some more than others: Banana Legs, Dinner Plate, Early Annie, Gil’s All Purpose, Long Keeper, Red Robin and Sprite. Banana Legs was a delightfully elongated bright yellow addition to salads and salsa. Dinner Plate may be cause for a new definition of beefsteak tomato and productive as well. Early Annie was just that and appreciated for it. Gil’s All Purpose was also true to its name and a personal favorite as it reminded me of my grandfather of the same name (not the all purpose part but worth thinking about). Long Keeper is really interesting as a tomato that does not seem to need to ripen as quickly and throughly as the average. It may keep us awhile yet as the fruits are happily sitting in a cool room awaiting our culinary pleasures.
If I have to strike some off the list for next year it will be Red Robin and Sprite. Red Robin was cute as a button as a bushy 12 inches tall but the fruit was flavourless. Sprite was our first effort with a grape tomato but it wasn’t productive enough in either a prime position on a south-facing wall or in the greenhouse. Also, I may have over done the plantings of Costoluto Genovese and San Marzano Redorta. They are great sauce and paste varieties that have filled our canning cellar to the brim but there were (and are still) an awful lot of them to process, 20 to 30 pounds at a time. Yummy but sweaty.