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Generally Recognized As True: Brandywine tomatoes ripening by the day

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Brandywine tomatoes ripening by the day

My Brandywine tomatoes have started to ripen, which is a good thing because I think they're my favourite of the ones I've tried.

I don't really buy into that idea that locally- or self-grown vegetables always taste better than supermarket ones. My own lettuce does not taste much better than a supermarket one, nor do my green beans. The hybrid tomatoes I grow are about on-par with the quality sweet salad tomatoes you get in clamshells (i.e. Campari). Peas? Not much difference. Pumpkins? Not really.

But the heirloom tomatoes like Brandywine are a different story. They are quite fragile so you don't see them in the supermarkets very much. I did see them at an organic supermarket in Oakville for $5-6/lb, which is obviously pricey and especially so given the weight of them. They are often a bit scabby and have insect holes and folds here and there, but nothing that really gets in the way. The skin is fragile, so it tends to split as the tomato is growing and then heal, causing the scab.

The hybrid tomatoes have much tougher skins and are rarely insect-eaten. They look perfect. They taste fine but aren't all that special.

Anyway, here are the Brandywine tomatoes I picked this morning:


And here is the jungle they came from:


2 comments:

Bogdan said...

Very nice looking tomatoes. Looks like you have 10 tomato plants in a 4' by 12' feet raising bad. That looks really nice. People around here like to grow garlic, zucchini, all kind of cabbages and onions. I like having pumpkins as they don't need much attention and take a lots of space.

Heirloom like those for $6/lb? If I remember correctly two weeks ago I got them for 4$ a pound from a farm near St. Catharines, and I thought they were expensive.

mattbg said...

Thanks Bogdan. I did pumpkins last year but not this year because I was a bit late getting organized and they need a long growing season.

I planted a number of squash but I seem to have all male flowers so far which is kind of useless. Not sure if it's the hot summer and they're underwatered...

For the pictured bed, there are 8 plants in an 8'x4' bed -- a mix of heirloom and hybrid from seed. I have two other beds of the same size. One also has tomatoes and didn't do so well (it is a new bed and new soil -- the bed in the picture has had years of organic matter like stubble, leaves, and wood ash added to it). The other well-nourished bed is overflowing with green bean plants.

I think the tomatoes were a bit over $5/lb. It was an organic supermarket in Oakville, so competition for them is scarce. There might be more competition or higher volumes sold at the market?