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Staff & Founder Tomato Picks!

It's late February, so we’re giving you time to consider some staff & founder picks, because it’s ALMOST Tomato Time! Be sure to check these out!

Principe Borghese Tomato

Principe Borghese Tomato 

From Reiley, our Inventory and Grower Relationship Manager: We've been growing Principe Borghese Tomatoes for many years and are always amazed by the size of our harvests from these prolific plants. They remind me of the first taste of homegrown tomatoes every summer. We dream all winter and spring of the juicy goodness!

The fruits are salad size, just a little bigger than cherries, and can be eaten in one big, juicy bite. A wonderful snack in the garden and a superb tomato for making sauce. Since they’re so juicy, we just let them cook down quite a bit to make our favorite spaghetti sauce.

We’ve enjoyed making salsas, sauces, and dehydrated tomato slices with these fruits. They are one of the first tomatoes we harvest at the start of July and they produce all season long. In early summer, we begin to scan the green fruits for a hint of color. One fruit is chosen as the most likely to ripen first and we keep our eye on it for about a week. Eventually that fruit proves us right when we give it a squeeze and pluck it from the plant. I can hardly wait for the sweet reward! This variety is a staple in our garden and I hope it becomes a staple in yours, too.

Sandpoint Tomato
From Ana, our Finance Manager: I grew this a few years ago out of a giant pot and LOVED it. Tomatoes can be a tricky thing in Sandpoint unless you get your timing right. We were snacking for weeks and enjoying the abundance. I also just love that it’s a “Sandpoint” tomato. :)

 

Paul Robeson Tomato
From Sam, our Online Order Specialist: I love a tomato with great shoulders! Make sure you plant these with a Trellis and anywhere they can get ample sunlight. These beefy Tomatoes go well with Shallots or as a colorful option in a classic Caprese Salad.

  

 

 

Sip and Seeds

Also, we have a pretty great recording of Casey, SRSC Founder, delivering an epic presentation on you guessed it – TOMATOES!

Hosted by Veer Wines in the Spring of 2023. This recording will immerse you in tomato history and lore! Listen, and gain tomato growing tips from an experienced organic farmer!

Casey's notes on highlighted tomato types, and their uses, are shared here with our variety descriptions.

  

Cherry, Grape Tomatoes

"Little round, pear-shaped, small and generally very sweet. Great for fresh eating and snacking."
Dr. Carolyn
Casey's favorite! Hands down the best tasting cherry we grow!
    Black Cherry
    Indeterminate heirloom that produces ample large (1.5 inches), dusky purple cherries prized for their complex, juicy, smoky-sweet flavor. A farm favorite! Vines are large, so space them accordingly when planting. They take a while to come on, but it's well worth the wait!
      Lemon Drop
      This sweet, citrusy li'l number makes you think you're eating lemon meringue pie!
        "Honorable mention for the Sweet Pea Currant Tomato, very prolific and great for kids."
        These heirloom cherry tomatoes may be tiny but they are packed with flavor. They are known for their considerable yield. HUNDREDS of tiny fruits per each plant! Their growth habits are quite wild and prone to vining. Seed Growers of Thompson Creek Farm recommend growing them in a hanging basket.

            

          Beefsteak (often referred to as Heirloom)

          "A lot of the time when you hear about heirloom tomatoes, people are talking about beefsteaks. (There are all kinds of heirloom tomatoes. A cherry can be an heirloom just like a beefsteak). They get big, with green shoulders. Really meaty, really yummy."

          Cherokee Purple

          Tends to ripen a little earlier. Gardener and tomato lover Craig LeHoullier received seeds for this wonderful heirloom in the mail from one John Green, who claimed the variety had been in his neighbor's Tennessee family for over 100 years and was reportedly given to them from a Cherokee farmer. He grew the tomato, fell in love with its dusky purple flesh and divine, rich flavor, perfect for slicing and sauces, and shared it with several regional seed companies, where it spread rapidly due to its scrumptiousness.
            Persimmons
            These big, yellow-orange fruits have that classic heirloom beefsteak shape, with thin skins and meaty, juicy, citrusy-sweet flesh. An excellent variety for sauces, soups and canning in addition to slicing for impressive bruschetta trays. Russian heirloom.
              Paul Robeson
              Russian heirloom named in honor of the Black singer, actor, social activist, lawyer and athlete Paul RobesonTake 3 minutes to learn more about him!
                Brandywine’s
                Huge, delicate 1 lb fruits with a flavor like no other. A must-grow! It is a sexy celebration, a garish dismissal of tasteless supermarket tomato impostors. Indeterminate heirloom. 

                    

                  Romas - Paste Tomatoes

                  "All Romas are paste tomatoes. They have meaty flesh, not a lot of seeds, not a lot of juice. I will say, Romas get blossom-end rot more than any of the others. That’s due to calcium deficiency. If you wait long enough, the later ones don’t." Casey adds that "we’ve selected against that. We’re doing on-farm selection to hopefully move along the process."

                  San Marzano’s

                  The quintessential Italian paste tomato. The ONLY tomato for some...
                    Martino's Roma
                    A delightful, early roma on a compact plant. Perfect for sauces and drying.
                      Amish Paste
                      Beloved North American heirloom canning tomato. Large, meaty fruits with less juice.
                        Cuore di Capra
                        Plump ox-heart paste with ribs up top giving way to a pretty rose rump!
                          Holy Myrrhbearer
                          These seeds reportedly came from Russia in the 1800s and passed down from a monk to one of the Sisters of the Holy Myrrhbearers, who shared them with grower Kristi Appelhans. They make beautiful, heart-shaped tomatoes, mostly 3" with a few honkers. Excellent for sauces, canning, and fresh eating.

                                

                              Slicers

                              Casey notes that, "Everyone asks about slicers."

                              Oregon Spring

                              This variety, developed by OSU for cooler climates, produces lots of 3-4" diameter fruits on compact plants that are good for containers. In hotter climates, the early flower set means fruits can get pollinated before high temps hit and blossoms drop.

                                Payette:

                                "Bred by the University of Idaho (U of I). The plants are VERY distinctly determinant, and very stout. If you don’t have the ability to trellis, this a really good choice." Casey, "Would put these two up against an Early Girl hybrid any day." Early 3 inch fruits on dwarf plants with handsome foliage.

                                  Moscow: "All-around all-purpose, Idaho bred."
                                  The largest of the U of I bred tomatoes. Good slicer and canning tomato.

                                      

                                    Earliest

                                    Idagold:
                                    Extremely prolific and early orange salad tomato bred by the U of I.
                                      Latah: "Another really early one, bred in Latah County, Idaho."
                                      Productive, and yummy variety bred by University of Idaho--perfect for containers!

                                        Sasha’s Altai:

                                        "Slightly bigger - 3 inch - pretty early. THIS is a tomato adapted in Siberia and gifted to Bill McDorman, Idaho Seedsman, who went there in the early 80s, looking for tomatoes that would do really well in the cold." 
                                        Listen to the recording because the story of this tomato is epic!