Tomato Madness!

The tomato garden on a hot & hazy day

Its our favorite time of the summer – tomato season!  How are yours doing this year?  We’re having another serious dry spell, but ours are hanging in there.  I planted them further apart this summer in case of more of the same as last year – little rain.  They probably could be even further apart and be happier yet.  I’m doing the same for the tomatoes as our vineyard consultant Lucie Morton told me to do for the grapes – keep them in their own space and respect their neighbors!  That’s pretty good advise for everyone.  I know the trend has been for intensive vegetable gardening, but I don’t buy it unless you really like to water or it rains a lot.

Here are the tomatoes that are performing pretty well so far:

Health Kick – Consistent size and quality.  Good quantity.  This tomato is a determinate type that has 50% more lycopene than other tomatoes.  It’s really good for canning, but fine fresh.  I’ll definitely grow this one next year.  It’s a good example of why hybrids make sense.  The seeds are expensive  – 30 seeds for about $4.50, but I certainly don’t need that many plants each year, so I’ll save the seeds in the refrigerator.  Also, the plants could be purchased this year at Southern States and the Crozet Farmers Market.

Ripening Health Kick Tomatoes

Two other nice qualities of Health Kick:

1.  The skins peel very easily when dipped in boiling water.  Off like a jacket!

2.  There is no waste, no hard inner core or hard top.  They can be canned whole.


Left: Principe Borghese; Right: Chocolate Cherry

Principe Borghese –  Determinate variety that is a heavy producer of small tomatoes that are supposed to be good for drying.  We’re putting them in the dehydrator for use later.

Green Grape –  Indeterminate “cherry” size – but in reality it’s a big cherry size.  Incredible, complex flavor.  So far not as big a producer as the other cherry size tomatoes.  Jury still out on whether to grow it next year, but it is unique tasting and worth growing again.


Left: A perfectly marbled Georgia Streak; Right: Old Virginia

Georgia Streak –  I got this because I thought it the best tasting tomato at the Monticello Harvest Festival last September.  It is a pretty tomato for a salad.  All kinds of color and markings when it’s sliced.  Would not be a good canning tomato because of it’s weird ridges, but just as well because so far it has been a spotty producer.  I might grow one plant next year just for salads.

Old Virginia –  I couldn’t resist the name of these Giltner family heirloom indeterminates.  They’re supposed to do well in long, hot summers.  We’ve got a few deep red ones but haven’t tried them yet.

All the tomatoes, determinate, or indeterminate, needed staking and tying.  The Health Kick ones are so heavy with fruit it wouldn’t make sense to not stake ‘em.

A freshly picked medley of cherry tomatoes and peppers

Here at the tasting room the heirloom cherry tomatoes do the best.  We have Golden Gem (persimmon orange), Dr. Caroline (icy yellow), Chocolate Cherry, and Green Grape (yellowish green on the outside, green on the inside), as well as the Principe Borghese which is an orangeish red.   Do you have a favorite real red cherry tomato that tastes great and is a good producer?

All these tomatoes plus more varieties such as Taxi, Persimmon, Orange Blossom, Black Prince and standards like Celebrity, Rutgers, and Marglobe are grown here at Stinson Farms available for purchase in the Tasting Room!



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One Response to “Tomato Madness!”

  1. Isa Clermont Says:


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