Re: [tomato] End of season evaluation

Margaret Lauterbach (
Sat, 17 Oct 1998 15:23:41 -0600

At 09:14 AM 10/17/98 -0500, you wrote:
>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
>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
>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
>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. 

That's too bad.  In my southwest Idaho garden the red brandywine is the
best of the brandywines.  I'd like to recommend Pruden's Purple to you,
though.  It's dark pink (purple), abundant, thin-skinned and delicious.
You could try the red Mortgage Lifter VFN (seeds from Chuck)  for the red
loving crowd.  I haven't grown Marglobe, but grew German Striped last year
and Aunt Ruby's German Green this year.  I'm just growing varieties to
satisfy my own curiosity, so have no customer input to offer, but I wasn't
very impressed with either of those tomatoes.  For a black tomato, I love
Black Krim (beautiful inside, too).
>the marglobe didn't do anything special either.  The Paul Robeson (seeds
>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 ?
>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
>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
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (owned by Dr. Jeff McCormack) carries some
of the best tomato varieties available, all OP   Send $2 for your first
catalog to SESE, P.O. Box 170, Earlysville, VA 22936.  My only connection
is as a satisfied customer.  This is the fellow Chuck Wyatt referred to
with the Monticello connection.  Your customers will love Riesentraube
cherry tomatoes, Druzba (beautiful red tomatoes), or Verna's Orange.  BTW,
they also have a Golden Ponderosa.  Enjoy the winter.  Margaret