[tomato] End of season evaluation

Kim Van Scoy (Tomato@GlobalGarden.com)
Sat, 17 Oct 1998 09:14:10 -0500

I thought I would share with you folks how our growing season went.  I live in 
Southern WI and we had a nice long season which officially ended with our first
frost this past week.  The overall season was 3 full weeks longer than last year as
we had such a mild spring.

We grew heirloom tomatoes and other organic vegetables which we sell at a roadside 
stand, at a local farmers market, to local coops in Madison, and to a local restaurant.
This year we grew brandywine, red brandywine, yellow brandywine, marglobe, 
German striped, aunt Ruby's german green, and Paul Robeson tomatoes.  If you 
are wondering - I love the taste of the true brandywines- seems perfection to me 
(having said that just so you'll understand how I evaluate the others).

I found the red brandywine to be quite dissapointing and I don't plan on growing
it in the future.  It was useful this year only because some of our customers only
like red tomatoes (???).  I didn't find the taste to be that special at all.  Likewise 
the marglobe didn't do anything special either.  The Paul Robeson (seeds from 
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange) are just about the tastiest ugliest tomatoes you
ever will find.  They are a real keeper for us.  Our yellow brandywine's ripened quite
a lot later than the others but that was okay cause the season was long. They were
incredible.  The german greens and striped german are beautiful and tasty (although I 
still prefer the taste ot brandywines and Paul Robesons).  

Any of you who are considering growing tomatoes for a local market, don't be put off
by all the horror stories you hear about  heirlooms being difficult.  We found them 
well worth the effort and people were very enthusiastic about them.  Several people
would comment about how the taste of the tomatoes reminded them of the fruit
from their grandmothers garden.  Several have asked us to find varieties that they
grew up with as children (anybody know anything about a Ponderosa tomato ? one
lady asked us to grow that).  People were always amazed by the variety and 
excellent taste.  One thing we did was always have samples available for people
to taste and that worked very well.  It was always fun to give people a taste of a 
german green and have them make a face like it was terribly sour ----- until they got
it in their mouths and were pleasantly surprized.  

We only grow heirloom tomatoes for two reasons:
1) taste 
2) we are concerned about the erosion of plant biodiversity - Chuck suggested the 
book shattering in an earlier post.  It's excellent and should scare the daylights out of

I hope you all had as successful a season as we did (beyond our dreams!). Enjoy the
coming winter.  I'm looking forward to closing the garden (we shut down the roadside
stand today -yippee).  I know by December I'll be dreaming of doing this all over again.

Happy Autumn - Kim