I am usually too exhausted on Wednesdays to even think about posting… but today was special. Yes, we were at the farm from 6 am to 6 pm, as usual on Wednesdays. Yes, we distributed our crazy 150 family CSA share. But… today was my first real tomato harvest!
Here are the rules of tomato harvesting at Drumlin:
1. Fill your bucket less than halfway. Otherwise, the weight of the tomatoes crush each other.
2. Look at the bottom of the plant (the plants are around six feet tall). The plants at the bottom ripen first.
3. Work across from someone– one person on one side of the tomato plant, the other person on the opposite side. That way, all of the tomatoes are found.
4. This is the most wonderful rule of all. You can take any of the tomatoes that are cracked or even slightly blemished in any way for yourself!
We grow heirloom tomatoes (meaning that their seed can be saved and reproduced, as they are not hybrids) and also hybrid tomatoes (cross pollinated tomatoes, bred to have certain traits, like resilience and size). We grow at least 15 kinds of tomatoes. I cannot possibly convey to you in words the complete glory of crouching down in the privacy of an enormous tomato plant, plucking a Cherokee Purple heirloom tomato that is actually (this is not an exaggeration in the least) the size of a small plate, and biting into it so that your entire face is covered in the huge, rich, satiny, juicy tomato. The only way to experience this ecstacy is to grow some heirloom tomatoes yourself. Or buy an incredibly large tomato at a farmers market and do you yourself a favor– don’t cut it! Just bite in! Share it with like 20 people! They’re that gargantuan!
I tasted not just the succulent Cherokee Purple today, but also the Striped German heirloom (it tasted exactly like a peach tomato would taste, with almost the same consistency inside as a peach), the Black Krim heirloom (dark, rich, sweet, and shaped like a pear), the Taxi hybrid tomato (springy, watery, acidic), and the Amana Orange tomato, which had an incredible complexity of sweet and acidic and tender inside of its contorted form.
I have the best job. Ever.