Ramble On

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Tomato Salad Days

It's tomato season.  Mary put three plants in during the spring, so we're seeing the results from one conventional and one heirloom variety - while the third looks healthy, it's not giving fruit.  Still, the little sample here is only half of the weekly yield.

We'll eat them in salads mostly, but she also puts them together with mozzarella and balsamic vinegar for an appetizer.  That dish will complete any summertime meal.

She's also sharing them with the Alexandria neighbors, especially old Herb, who used to keep a huge truck patch and was something of the inspiration for all of this, I think.

But seeing so many tomatoes also reminded me of the "agribusiness internship" I did at Public House Produce back in August 2011.  I wrote about David's success with tomatoes there in a post called "The Tomato King" (link here: http://hawksbillcabin.blogspot.com/2011/08/tomato-king.html).

This time of year is more a tomato riot over there.  I asked him about this year's crop, and he shared some details with me.

His crop is comprised of 3,000 plants in 15 varieties.  The yields vary - they are slightly lower for the traditional/heirloom plants (they make up for it in their rich flavor and delightful colors)...but it you consider that on average there are 25 pounds per plants, well - that's an incredible 75,000 pounds of tomatoes.  They'll be distributed out to shareholders in the CSA, at the Luray-Page Farmers Market, at the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction in Dayton, and some even make their way to the DC area (practically to our doorstep - I understand they are served at Arlington's Tallulah, only 2 miles from the Alexandria house!).

So back to the truck patch - Mary's two producing plants can be expected to give us around 50 pounds of tomatoes, and that's plenty for the season.  At some point we probably need to think about canning them though - I can imagine they'd be a burst of sunshine in depths of next winter.

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