The Cox garden tomato harvest. Photo by Leslie Cox.

The Cox garden tomato harvest. Photo by Leslie Cox.

Duchess of Dirt: Tomato taste test results are in

Leslie Cox

Special to The Record

Bless my husband. The man can cook! Not too often but often enough and when he does… oh boy!

John got busy and spent one morning making his specialty: bushman’s spaghetti sauce. The smell of it drove me nuts all the way to dinnertime. Yum!

But one of the best parts about his sauce; it put a good dent in the tomato numbers. Another is the flavour. Nothing beats a spaghetti sauce made from fresh, homegrown tomatoes – although one made from our frozen fruits is a good second best.

Okay, let’s get on with the taste test results. First up, ‘Early Girl.’ Always John’s favourite and for good reason. It has a good acidic bite to it which John likes and a sweet overtone.

For my palate, ‘Early Girl’ is a little too acidic, but still good in a toasted tomato sandwich or a green salad.

‘Patio’ was a bit of a disappointment for me in the taste department. I would best describe it as “of average taste.” I did like the plant size of about 30 inches and being able to grow it in pots on my driveway, which gets decent sun hours in my mostly shade garden. Yield was rather disappointing. If growing in small places, like a patio or balcony, you want high yields. A weekly application of fertilizer might have helped, although I used Sea Soil in my potting mix.

But the cherry tomato ‘Super Sweet’ was a pleasant surprise. First time growing in our greenhouse, and John admitted he has been plucking a couple every time he enters the greenhouse.

‘Sweet Million’ has always been John’s favourite cherry up to this year, but he really likes the extra bite of sweetness from ‘Super Sweet.’ We may switch as the harvest numbers are in favour of the latter: 100 fruits per four ‘Sweet Million’ plants and 134 per two ‘Super Sweet.’

‘Tumbler’ is another cherry favourite. Productive and good flavour. Clean, sweet, juicy. Warning: best to pop the whole fruit in your mouth before you bite down. Major drawback is its hybrid breeding, i.e., cannot save seeds.

‘Snow White’ cherry will always be my favourite for its lower acid content. But even my high acid-loving hubby likes it. It is another juicy one best popped into your mouth whole in order to enjoy the burst of liquid and sweet flavour.

‘Tiny Tim’…well, they are tiny. But oh, are they ever prolific! To date: 146 tomatoes from five plants that are only 12 inches tall. Very tasty. Not too tart.

‘Stupice’ has produced rather smaller fruits than I suspected but still good flavour. Would describe it as earthy and deep. Almost leaning towards a roma-type. But I like it. My palate is susceptible to high acid and I find this tomato soothing, if that makes any sense.

That leaves ‘Harry’s Roma’ and ‘San Marzano,’ both roma-types. ‘Harry’s Roma’ is your typical roma – meaty and less juicy. Delicious, especially in John’s spaghetti sauce.

The jury is still out on the ‘San Marzano’ taste test as they have not ripened to picking stage. I will let you know. But they are definitely not the twin to ‘Harry’s’ so his proper identification remains a mystery.

Speaking of mysteries…

We were enjoying an evening on the porch when a commotion erupted in a hosta beside John. A Pacific tree frog had jumped from the railing onto the hosta leaf. It sat calmly as we continued our conversation but immediately claimed the arm of John’s chair as soon as he stood up. From there it jumped to the other arm and then a bigger hop across to my chair. Eventually, it made its way across the porch and into the hostas on the other side. Our mysterious crooner had returned to serenade us in the dead of night.

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Thursday in the Record throughout the spring and summer months.

 

A Pacific tree frog made an appearance in the Cox yard to serenade Leslie and John. Photo by Leslie Cox

A Pacific tree frog made an appearance in the Cox yard to serenade Leslie and John. Photo by Leslie Cox

Ninety-three-year-old Bud Mooney called Leslie Cox a couple of weeks ago to discuss tomatoes. Leslie and John paid Bud a visit last week, where he showed them his greenhouse. Photo by Leslie Cox

Ninety-three-year-old Bud Mooney called Leslie Cox a couple of weeks ago to discuss tomatoes. Leslie and John paid Bud a visit last week, where he showed them his greenhouse. Photo by Leslie Cox

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