Back Forty

solanaceae update

The tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and potatoes survived their first night of 30’s temperatures, even though the wind blew the plastic off the frame over the tomatoes. The NOA web site reports that our low was 38 degrees. I’m bracing up for tonight’s expected light frost by reinforcing the frame with packing tape.

I went to the farmers’ market this morning and was tempted by several plants: Brandywine and Juliet tomatoes, which I grew last year, sold by Handance Farm (Pat and Brian Bush).

The Juliet tomatoes are just fabulous. The plant produced hundreds of tomatoes. I picked my last Juliet tomato on December 1 last year. I used them for cooking and in salads and they were equally good for both – like a cross between a Roma and a grape tomato.

And what can I say about Brandywines. They spoiled me for all other tomatoes. They don’t produce a lot, but what they produce is large and sweet, just the best tasting tomato ever, and you can’t buy them in stores. The first year I planted a Brandywine, I had tasted two of them and was eagerly waiting for the other three on the bush to ripen. My friend JQ and her children were visiting and we were talking while the kids ran around and played. The next thing I knew, her children were proudly presenting me with the green Brandywines they had picked for me. I do love JQ’s children, and in hindsight it is funny, but it was one of those days when I knew that not having children was probably a good decision for me.

Dark Hollow Farm had Zephyr squash seedlings for sale. I have done Google searches for Zephyr squash seeds with no success, so I was very happy to see this. I bought them and a long light green Italian summer squash at the market on a regular basis last summer. They are both very tasty and don’t have a lot of seeds. I hope someone will offer those Italian squashes as well. I wish I could remember the name. They have a light green flesh and are beautiful in a squash casserole along with the yellow squashes. The Zephyrs look like yellow crooknecks from the stem to about halfway around the bulb, then turn a stripy dark green.

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