Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Fourth!

My dad and I seem to be in some sort of tomato competition. He's growing a bunch of Champions, Brandywines and who knows what else down in Escondido, where the daily sunshine quotient would frighten a hyena.
Here I am in Northern California, in a condo with a dinky patio, and six plants on rollers. I chase the sun as it traverses our little backyard, for a total of about five hours of direct light a day.
Dad and I both share the goal of harvesting ripe ones by the Fourth of July... And we both win this year!
Finally my plants are so large, it has become dangerous to roll them for fear of tipping them over. And just in time. They are surging into ripeness before my very eyes. I picked a bowl of luscious beauties this morning, and I suspect before the day ends, I'll have three or four more to pick. Yes, it's happening that fast.
Next year I'm going to enter my pretty babies in the Marin County Fair. We went there the other day, and the only tomatoes in the judging were (gasp!) green! Pshaw!
So, what you are looking at: At the 12-o'clock position are the ever-reliable Sungolds -- sweet and depthy; early performers and robust all season. Down at two-to-four o'clock are Juliet grape tomatoes, described on the nursery card as "saladettes"; kinda average-tasting. At the six-o'clock position is a Black Prince, which I haven't tried yet but its greeny-bronzy hue is captivating. From seven to nine o'clock you see the Sweet Millions -- not as delicious as Sweet 100s, but a little less frustrating to grow. In the center is my first Brandywine, a beautiful rosy color and ready to slice onto a plate today with our grilled rib-eye steak. I'll let you know if I love it. (Oh, I love it already, even though I haven't tasted it.) The only plant holding out so far is the Black Krim, and it's showing signs of imminent ripening. Yay.
Woo-hoo -- fireworks in my mouth!

PS: Here's a shot of my Dad's crop from today.

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