The Taste of Ripe Tomatoes and Garlic

100_4772 100_4770 100_4775We were very pleased with the turnout for our Open Farm Day on September 8.  Around 25 people came to visit, many of whom we had never met before.  People seemed to genuinely enjoy the farm tour as well as tomato and garlic tastings.  It was very gratifying to hear so many people express inspiration to turn their own lawns into gardens after observing how we have transformed our land into productivity.

We really enjoy growing lots of variety in our vegetables.  It is part of the art and beauty of growing things that adds so much value to what we do.  Tomatoes are the poster children for variety; coming in a wide array of colors, shapes, textures, and flavors.  As a farm who is trying to grow the most flavorful heirloom varieties we are always challenged to choose types that also look good and have a limited amount of cracking and deformities because we also have to sell them.  Tomatoes are highly perishable if wounded, attracting fruit flies and mold so if they need to sit they really can’t be funky.  Every year we keep trying some new varieties to find those that maximize flavor in a uniform package with minimal cracking.  This year we grew all open pollinated heirloom varieties except one hybrid greenhouse tomato to provide those uniform red globes that some accounts are looking for.  We were curious to see where it would end up in the taste test…

Here are the averaged results from our tomato tasting.

Tomato Flavor Rating Highest to Lowest

1.Raspberry Lyanna

2. Orange Banana

3. Paul Robeson

4. Black Krim

5. Green Dr. Frosted (cherry)

6. Rose

7. Amish Paste

8. Rose de Berne

9. Orange Strawberry

10. Mystery variety we’ve been calling Wrinkles

11. Landis

12. Aunt Ruby’s German Green

13. Golden Jubilee

14. Peacevine (cherry)

15. Luci (Hybrid greenhouse tomato)

Participants were also asked to rate tomatoes for sweetness, but many people used words instead of numbers, so it was difficult to fairly assess those numbers, but they seemed to relatively follow the flavor ratings.  One exception was the Peacevine cherry which got a low flavor rating but very high sweetness rating.

It was very interesting to see the test results, as what people are attracted to by looks is not necessarily what they pick in a taste test.  The winner was the humble Raspberry Lyanna, which is a small pink tomato that many people overlook because of its size, but it is a great producer of regular shaped flavorful tomatoes.  Several people mentioned that the Green Dr. Frosted was their surprising favorite, though it didn’t end up at the top of the list.  It has been one of our surprise favorites this year as well, the only problem is that they remain green when ripe and the only way to tell which ones are ready is by feel, so they take a little longer to pick.  A few surprises in the results were the low ratings for Golden Jubilee, Orange Strawberry and Aunt Ruby’s German Green all of which we think are quite tasty and produce nice consistent big fruits.  In all fairness each tomato variety was only represented by one or two individual specimens, so they might not all have been good representatives of their kind.  We were not surpised to see Luci the hybrid at the bottom and we plan on sticking to heirlooms next year.

Garlic Tasting Results (garlic was chopped in olive oil and eaten on bread)

Garlic Taste Ratings Highest to Lowest

  1. Elmer’s Topset
  2. Phillips
  3. German Extra Hardy
  4. Romanian Red
  5. German Porcelain

Garlic Spiciness Ratings Highest to Lowest

  1. Phillips
  2. Elmer’s Topset
  3. Romanian Red
  4. German Porcelain
  5. German Extra Hardy

The garlic results were a bit surprising again, as seeing the size of garlic heads usually has influence over purchasing choice.  Both German varieties are big headed types with only 4-5 cloves per head appealing to lazy cooks like me.  The taste test shows that some of the smaller cloved varieties might pack more of a flavor punch though.  Many mentioned Phillips as a favorite.  It is a variety from Maine that we got at the Common Ground fair years ago and we love it because it keeps the best of all of our garlic, usually until the next crop is harvested.

It was great to get feedback about the varieties we grow.  Many people still think that garlic is garlic and tomatoes are red and round, but tasting is believing.

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4 Responses to The Taste of Ripe Tomatoes and Garlic

  1. Pingback: The Results are In! Tomato and Garlic Tastings 2014 | Peace of Earth Farm

  2. ELIZABETH HOOK says:

    Loved Elmer’s Topset so much, would like to purchase a large amount, for planting, please message me if this is doable. Thanks, and, Peace.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Sweet Squash and Spicy Garlic | Peace of Earth Farm

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