The range of colors that we bring in from our tomato bed wins me over every summer. Some varieties we grow every year, and maybe it is just thanks to Minnesota’s long winter, but I experience those first ripe tomatoes like I’m seeing them for the first time. The vibrant pink, the deep red, the soft yellow, the shiny purple, the glowing orange, all the many shapes and sizes! It makes me giddy. Since I’ve been mentioning those tomatoes not too infrequently here, I thought I’d share some of the varieties our family holds dear.
There are lots of #1 reasons to grow your own food, and homegrown tomatoes are up there! With today’s modern processing and shipping of produce, you simply can’t get anywhere close to that homegrown taste from the grocery store. Local farms are a second best, but even they can’t hand you one warm from the sun.
Each year we grow about 15 varieties of tomatoes, and I think that number will only grow. It is too difficult to decide which ones to cut out, and I just don’t need to, really. We grow about 45 tomato plants from seed. Roughly half of those are paste tomatoes for making tomatoey goodness to last us all the year, including that roasted salsa I made the other day. Somewhere around six of those are different varieties of snacking tomatoes to keep hunger at bay while outside. A few are good tomatoes for dehydrating – just the right size for a garden pizza in the dead of winter! The rest are a delightful array of juicy slicers for summer salads like the one in this post. We keep it colorful and the variety of sizes keeps it fun!
Would you like some turkey with your tomato sandwich?!
Needless to say, about this time of year, juicy slicers accompany most meals, and make up many snacks. Just a little salt and you’re golden.
We keep our tomato seed envelope stocked by saving our own seed of the varieties we love, then ordering a new variety each year to experiment. I hope you’ll do some experimenting of you’re own! Here is a snapshot of the many varieties we love to grow, and their names.* I encourage you to look these up and order from some of those high quality seed companies out there such as Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and High Mowing Organic Seeds. August isn’t too early to start thinking about next year’s garden 😉
*Not pictured in the basket, but you can see Jaune Flamme in R’s hand up above.
Please share your favorite tomato variety in the comments. I’d so love to hear!