Posts Tagged ‘first tomato of the season’


The winner of this year’s ‘First Tomato of the Year’ title is Early Girl, above. This spring, in a fit of laziness, I didn’t bother to start any tomato seedlings myself, and was thus restricted to the more limited selection available at nurseries. Early Girl is a popular variety with home gardeners, producing nicely shaped, medium-sized, bright red globes in a short planting season.

Wikipedia notes: Based on a short-season hybrid tomato developed in France, the Early Girl was originally distributed in the United States by PetoSeed Co., a major agricultural seed supplier. The variety was named “Early Girl” by PetoSeed board member Joe Howland to complement the company’s popular “Better Boy” tomato. Seed catalog Burpee Seeds struck an exclusive three-year deal for the new variety, and featured it on the cover of its 1975 Spring catalog.


Speaking of Better Boy, Early Girl only just beat out the boy next door for top honours. The first Better Boy tomato will be ripe in another day or two. Better Boy tomaotes have been around for about 50 years, and reportedly hold a Guinness record for most fruit produced on a single plant.

But the true test of a tomato is in the eating. I sliced up the first Early Girl and RailGuy and I shared the slices over lunch. The slices are a beautiful brilliant red, and much more juicy than the tomatoes I last bought at the grocery store. The flavour is pleasant but mild, perhaps a bit bland if you like your tomatoes with a little punch.


I also have several varieties of cherry tomatoes that have already started producing mature fruit and are great for snacking and salads. Pictured below is Sweet Gold, which produces lots of golden tomatoes that are a bit larger than the popular little Sweet Million cherry tomatoes. They are prone to cracking if left to become overripe, however.


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Here it is! The first tomato to make it from seed to dinner plate this year is Silvery Fir Tree, a variety that Fiddlegirl shared with me. This was a surprise winner. I was expecting Sub-Arctic Plenty to win handily, but its tomatoes are still quite green. We had 3 of the Silvery Fir Tree fruits with supper last night. The tomatoes are on the small side of medium, a nice bright red, and a pleasant, juicy mild flavor. I like something a bit more tart, myself, but these were quite fine. Ah, nothing like those first tomatoes straight from the garden!

Here are the Silvery Fir Tree tomatoes on the plant.


I started my tomato seeds on March 19th and wrote about them in a post titled Tomato Season Begins, linked here. I had 7 varieties of tomatoes neatly labelled, but due to an unfortunate cat-astrophe, the seedlings ended up in a jumbled pile on the floor one day. They all survived, but lost their labels. As the plants mature, I can make a good guess at which plants are which. These are surely Indigo Rose. Cool, no? They’ve been that deep rich colour for a while now, but are still hard to the touch. I’m looking forward to tasting them.


I’m pretty sure these are Sub Arctic Plenty, which is a good producer.


And these look to be Michael Pollan. I couldn’t resist adding the namesake of this great writer to my garden. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend The Botany of Desire. I’m looking forward to reading his latest book, Cooked, which is in my big stack of ‘waiting to be read’s.


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Wheeeee! The first tomatoes are ripe! After the blooming of the daylilies, the first tomato is probably the most celebrated event in my garden. It’s something I wait all year for, that first taste of a real, honest-to-goodness, store-free, garden fresh, sun-warmed 100% delicious tomato! I picked the first beauties on Thursday August 18th. Last year, I was slow getting my little plants into the ground in the spring, and didn’t start to harvest tomatoes until the beginning of September. I did a bit better this year.

These nicely-shaped round tomatoes, not too big, a bit smaller than a tennis ball, are Jaune Flammé (also known as just Flammé). This is an heirloom variety that originated with Norbert Perreira of Helliner, France. Flammé deserves full marks for appearance, with a pleasing globular shape and bright orange colour. The fruits grown in clusters of six or eight. I brought several into the kitchen and sliced them up. Then…that first sublime taste. Wonderful! Not just a pretty face, the Flammés have a very pleasing flavour. They are nice and juicy and a satisfying balance between sweet and tart. I would grow this variety again.

Still in waiting in the garden are four more heirloom varieties. Can’t wait to try them too.


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