Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Heirloom Tomatoes

We first sought out heirloom tomatoes on a special trip to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hobart one wet winter's morning. We'd heard about their annual tomato plant sale on ABC Local Radio. Having queued at the gates under umbrellas, along with a hundred or more diehard pilgrims, we finally snaffled a few varieties from Tiny Tom's to Black Russians. Now, we have heirloom tomatoes available locally from grower Trevor and his young family who moved to Springfield recently to establish a permaculture farm. In the past year they've planted half an acre of more than a hundred varieties of heirloom tomatoes. This is Trevor’s first crop – you’ll see they’re all shapes and sizes and some of them aren’t perfect. Hilbarn box customers can try them this week. Let us know what you think. Trevor is keen for feedback. He’s experimenting and taste-testing, aiming to reduce the number of varieties they grow to 30. And if you're looking for inspiration with tomatoes, here's a link we found from George Washington Carver's fascinating 1936 Bulletin How to Grow the Tomato and 115 Ways to Prepare it for the Table. Carver, described by Time magazine as a “Black Leonardo”, was an inventor and early advocate of sustainable farming in early 20th Century America. We think he also has a tomato named after him: the George Washington. We picked one up at the Royal Botanical Gardens thinking it must have been the American President. But with Carver on the end, it makes much more sense!
 http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/publications/guides/carver_tomato.html

3 comments:

Al Bain said...

delicious.

teddesampa said...

great article on our 'early progress' with heirloom tomatoes Hil and Barn ... thanks

thanks also Al for the positive feedback ....

ChloeW said...

Wish we could get a box - but Hilversum in Holland is a bit too far away! I was looking at F1 varieties and they have, on average, 40% more sugar content than tomatoes at the end of the ear in 1949. The same for all sorts of carrots, beans, peppers etc. Can't be good - we have taste buds mainlining on sugar... - especially as refined sugar is the main thing we eat that feeds cancer cells. So bring on the heirlooms!