|Sun Gold cherry tomatoes ripening on the vine|
I planted five varieties of tomatoes this year - Sun Gold, Riesentraube, Black Cherry, White Rabbit and an UBT (Unidentified Black Tomato -- well, not unidentified by the seller, but I didn't write down the name when I bought it at the farmers market and promptly forgot it by the time I was ready to label it).
Of these five, the White Rabbit (purchased online via mail order) died practically immediately. Its stem was broken in transit and it never recovered. The seller, whom I contacted immediately upon receipt of the plant, never even bothered to respond. This experience has soured me on buying tomato plants via mail order, despite all the amazing-sounding varieties available. I'll be sticking to farmers markets or nurseries from now on.
Anyway, Riesentraube (which translates to "Giant Grape") is humming along and growing nicely, though all its tomatoes are still green. I'll post Riesentraube photos at a future date. (I'm encouraged by the success that Margaret Roach has had with Riesentraube, as chronicled on her A Way to Garden blog.)
Black Cherry, purchased at the farmers market, has sulked and refused to grow since being planted. I suspect it may not be happy in its raised bed.
That leaves Sun Gold and the UBT.
The UBT produced a number of smaller-sized-than-regular-tomatoes-but-bigger-than-cherries and then has basically stopped growing at maybe 12 or 15 inches tall.
|UBT (Unidentified Black Tomato), looks ripe but isn't really|
So I turned to that Voice of Experience (my momma) and asked her what she thought. Her sensible advice? Pick one and see if it was ripe.
So I picked one UBT and one Sun Gold tomato for a tiny tomato amuse bouche:
|UBT and Sun Gold, just picked and freshly rinsed|
I then sliced them open, so that my wife and I could share equally in this tiny harvest:
|Sliced Sun Gold and UBT. Notice that the Sun Gold looks pleasingly ripe. Not so with the UBT.|
Uh oh. That UBT didn't look ripe at all on the inside.
And in fact the taste was distinctly green tomatoish. (The crunchiness of the green tomato with the black skin and a slight sourness actually also brought to mind the experience of eating a plum.)
The Sun Gold of course was delicious. These photos are slightly old, but despite our record temperatures in Middle Tennessee and the ongoing drought, the Sun Gold has continued to produce new tomatoes with a bit of supplemental water given twice weekly. I'm impressed and certainly plan to plant more Sun Golds in the future. I can see now why they are a favorite of home tomato growers.
Has your tomato harvest begun?
Which varieties are performing best for you this year?
If you have photos of your thriving tomato plants online, please post photo links!