29 July 2010

Garden deliciousness

This really is the best time of year.  We have all kinds of fresh stuff available at the farmer's market, but we also have lots of tasty stuff available at home in the garden.  Given that we're renters, we focus on growing two things - herbs and tomatoes.  Herbs because we like to cook with fresh herbs every day, and the ones in the grocery store are often in rough shape when you see them, and certainly don't keep well in the fridge.

The other thing we grow is tomatoes.  (shown below, Green Zebra, Lemon Boy and Red Cherry tomatoes all harvested recently from the Dude garden).


The difference between garden tomato varieties and grocery store tomato varieties is much larger than with any other bit of grocery produce.  Grocery store tomates are tough and they're bitter in comparison to some of the varieties you can grow in your garden.  And there's a reason for that.  While some might attribute love or careful growing, it's not that at all.

Tomatoes are fragile.  If we're not careful, we can bruise a tomato, just carrying it the 20 feet from our garden to the kitchen counter.  The varieties that are grown by farmers have to be able to be handled in large numbers, and shipped long distances.  They get packed by the ton.  They have to survive that process without damage.  So plant breeders select for varieties that will be sturdy.  There are tradeoffs to be made, and in the end, a tomato that doesn't make it to market loses the farmer money.  So they have to be tough.

As a gardener, you can grow varieties that are fragile.  And you have fewer tradeoffs.  You can grow the varieties that are delicious.  Like my two favourites, Green Zebra.

Green zebra

And Black Krim.

Black Krim tomato

Black Krim and Green Zebra are juicy and delicious.  They have no bitter flavour (indeed, these could almost be served as a dessert they're so sweet).  We often serve raw slices with a bit of sprinkled kosher salt on them.

Remember, if you can grow it in your home, get the varieties that have been bred to be delicious.  It's the same amount of work (mostly - some varieties are a little fussier in the garden), and the reward is soooo much more.  You'll want the awesome power of tomato genetics on your side.  You'll be glad you did.

No comments:

Post a Comment