Seedy Weekend

It has been a relaxed but busy weekend.  On Saturday, M & I cruised to Clinton, MN and took in a bit of the Arctic Open–a golf tournament on the ice of Lake Eli.

Not being much of a golfer myself (I defer to what Mark Twain said on the subject), we just hung out on the kids’ putt-putt course and shot a few holes in the gorgeous weather.  My mailman, who was running the registration booth, said it was ten below on Arctic Open day last year, but this year was glorious!

I also made my seed orders–pretty much a complete re-order of everything I might consider growing.  Most of the seed I have is not that old–only a few items earlier than 2010–but the humidity last summer was such that I would rather be safe.

That older seed is probably OK, but it needs using up this year, so I will keep a few things I couldn’t find in catalogs (or favorites I’ve worked on improving) and pass a good amount around at the as-yet-to-be-planned spring seed swap.

We discussed the possibility of this event at our last local food group meeting, and it seemed like it could work.  Let me know in the comments if you’d like to attend/swap seed at a community get-together. We did this for a couple of years in conjunction with community garden planning in Vermillion, SD, and it was a blast (especially the second year, when folks showed up from as far as 45 mins. away!).

The question is always, “how many varieties of tomato am I going to plant this year?”  I swear I tried to keep my new variety orders to a minimum, but I’ve still got 2-3 new or returning-from-long-ago types like Rose and Amish Paste.  I do have quite a stock of tomato varieties as it is, and I probably won’t grow all the ones I have.

I think.

Here they are–both in-house and on order:

Prudens Purple
Sun Gold Cherry (F1)
Cherry Roma
Cuore di Bue
Ananas Noire
Chocolate Cherry
Coyote Cherry
Green Zebra
Old Pink Plum
Kellogg’s Breakfast
Millett’s Dakota
Amish Paste
Japanese Trifele Black
San Marzano
Polish Linguisa
Principe Borghese
Yellow Perfection

Just looking over this list of twenty-one varieties–each with their own flavor, texture, uses, and all-around wonderfulness, and the problem is going to be determining which one(s?) I won’t grow this year.  It’s so hard to make that cut.


Doesn’t every kind of tomato deserve a shot at fulfilling its special destiny?  Yeah, “making the cut” will probably mean growing just one plant of the kinds that aren’t nearest and dearest to my heart instead of, say, five or eight or ten.

And although the image above is a big basket of slicers, my main desire from tomatoes is canned sauce for the winter months.

I’ve only got a few pint jars left from last year (along with some quarts of ratatouille), and that feeling of imminent lack drives me to devote almost half my variety selections to ones that make good sauce.  But really, I’m pretty indiscriminate about what tomatoes I throw in sauce–so long as the bulk of fruits are low in juice and I add the requisite lemon juice to correct for acidity, it’s all good.

I cracked open one of those precious few pints of sauce for a personal pizza tonight as a way to use up leftover grassfed taco-spiced beef and grated cheese from lunch.  It’s not as good as last night’s fantastic locally-grown buffet at the CURE Annual Meeting shindig, but it’s pretty decent for home-fixin’s.

I’ll be eating delicious locally-produced food again on Tuesday morning, when I attend Land Stewardship Project’s 6th Annual Family Farm Breakfast in St. Paul.

I guess it might sound like all I think about is eating, but it’s totally not true!  In addition to thinking about eating great locally-produced food, I also think quite a lot about growing more of it–to eat.  😉


2 responses

  1. I know this comment is coming a bit late, but your descriptions of your tomatoes has my mouth watering something fierce! My husband and I have been starting to plan and dream about our little garden this year, and looking forward to a little sweet summer bounty of our own.

    Since we’re still fairly new at the whole gardening thing, do you have any particular favorite sauce tomatoes that you’d recommend? Especially if you have any that are more the bush variety, that would grow in our smaller spaces. 🙂 Any advice would be much appreciated!

    • Sherri–
      All of the tomatoes I grow are indeterminate, so I can’t say much about bush tomatoes. Principe Borghese (which is a small drying tomato also good for sauce-making) is a smaller-scale indeterminate. I grow San Marzanos, too, and there are bush alternative S.M.’s you could try. Other sauce tomatoes I grow: Polish Linguisa, Cuore di Bue, Japanese Trifele Black, Stupice. I’m not above throwing every tomato in the garden into sauce when I’m making it–usually I have a large percentage of paste-types anyhow. This year I am trying Gilbertie from High Mowing–which looks somewhat like a Polish Linguisa.

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