Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

You Say Tomato and I Say Delicious

Ugly tomatoes need loving, too. For so long we have been conditioned to choose the perfect red archetypal tomato that fill the supermarkets every month. Old-time tomatoes, like us, come in all shapes, sizes and colors, replete with warts, bumps, folds and wrinkles. Here at the farm we choose to seasonally grow a myriad of heirloom, open-pollinated varieties. Heirloom refers to a variety that is at least fifty years old (many of ours are much older), and open-pollinated indicates a variety that will come true from the previous seasons’ collected seeds. A few of the subcategories of heirloom tomatoes we raise include black, yellow, pink, cherry, paste and currant.

Black tomatoes, mostly from Russia and Siberia, when ripe, have the appearance of being almost rotten on the inside. However off-putting is the dark pigment of the fruits, the flavor is unmatched. We grow the Black from Tula, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple and Black Sea Man varieties in our gardens.
Yellow and orange tomatoes are among our favorites for flavor and beauty. In the garden we have Pineapple, with yellow and orange radial stripes inside. We also grow Golden Jubilee, which debuted in 1943 (the same vintage as Farmer John C.!). But the perennial favorite with us and our guests is certainly Garden Peach, a small yellow fruit with a slightly fuzzy skin and a wonderful acid flavor.

Paste tomatoes are meaty, semi-dry types that are used for sauces and preserving. We grow several varieties, such as Crevarse, sent to us from France by Chef Alain Ducasse as well as Polish Linguisa and San Marzano, a wonderful variety for canning, which allows us to satiate our winter tomato fever dreams.

Fox Cherry, Black Cherry, Chadwick and 1889 Yellow are all cherry-type tomatoes we enjoy growing. The Cades Cove Currant, raised in this area for generations, produces a tremendous amount of small, almost smoky-flavored fruits throughout the season. Many of these small-fruiting types will volunteer, or reseed themselves, as they are closest to the landrace or origin of the species. This certainly speaks to the tenacity of plants to procreate.

During all of August, we celebrate Garden Month here at the farm. We invite you to join us for daily gardening chats and tours and heirloom tomato tastings, because like those old-time tomatoes, we ugly gardeners love attention, too!

Jeff Ross
Garden Manager