Discover more from The Dew Abides
Tomato tour de force
If there’s one thing we grow that connects in a visceral way with customers, it’s that big, red, hefty summertime fruit. Say the word to someone and they’re already conjuring up an image of the perfect specimen; a pregnant fruit, a deep red approaching crimson, with a tuft of green stem at the top. Their mouth is watering, and they’re already thinking of a tomato sandwich with mayo and crisp lettuce, and maybe a couple slices of shimmering bacon.
Delivering our first giant bin of slicing tomatoes to The Food Mill this week, a woman bought two of them before I even put the bin down to stock the table.
This is the time of year when Dew Point Farm pivots from all the delicious varieties of spring crops: the carrots and radishes, the beets and turnips, the kale and chard, the squash. Instead, what we’re harvesting are tomatoes. And, yes, cucumbers, and eggplant, and our drying beans are nearly done, and our peppers are finally coming along. But most of the real estate is tomato turf, and we’re growing four delicious varieties.
First out of the gates were our sungold tomatoes. They’re technically cherry tomatoes, but bursting with so much sweetness that it seems unfair to classify them so. They’re fully ripe when they’re orange as a sunset, and they bring just as much pleasure. Candy for grown-ups, that’s what they are.
As to large tomatoes, whether you want to call them beefsteak-style, or sandwich tomatoes, or, as we do “slicers,” we’re growing two great varieties, so similar that we don’t even separate them on the shelf. The varieties are Galahad and Skyway.
Given by his depiction in paintings and sculpture through history, Sir Galahad, that knight of the round table, was not a portly man. But his namesake tomatoes are stocky and plump. (Also, they’re sturdy and strong, and supremely resistant to threats, so maybe that’s where that name came from.)
As for the Skyways, Jenn chose these, presumably, because they also produce large and delicious fruit, are particularly suited to the Southeast, and thumb their tomatoey noses at most pests. I might’ve voted for them over other options because they remind me of the cosmic cowboy music from Nashville musician Skyway Man, who’s “Don’t Feel Bad About Being Alive” was one of my favorite songs of 2020.
We’re also growing a roma-style variety called Juliet. While some of these might end up at the store, don’t especially count on it. These are mostly for ourselves. They are, in our opinion, the best tomatoes for canning. For one thing, they don’t have a lot of water, so there’s a lot more tomato and a lot less liquid in the glass jar when you’re done processing them. But they also are easy to prep for canning. We just halve them and call it a day. (We leave skins on, which is an option since we grow using organic practices and there’s nothing harmful on the outside. So we don’t even have to blanch them before canning. If we’re cooking a sauce or something where we don’t want the skin, that’s easy enough to skim off during cooking.)
So that’s the 2022 Dew Point Farm Tomato Tour. Stock up while they’re in season at The Food Mill. There’s also a chance, if yields are bonkers, that we’ll pop up at the MercyMed Friday market with Farmer Keith in the next few weeks. So follow our Facebook page for updates, or keep an eye on the “Where To Buy” section on front page of the Dew Point Farm website.
I’ll leave you with one fun fact. When you associate tomato with a country, which one is it? … Most of you said Italy, right? that land of the ragu and the puttanesca. Well, tomatoes actually come from the Americas and were introduced to Italy from here no earlier than the 15th Century, or about a thousand years after Galahad went on his big hunt for the holy grail.