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The First Ripe Tomato

August 1, 2012

A couple ripening Stupice tomatoes: I picked one of these

I picked the first ripe tomatoes last night and we had Caprese salad with dinner. I love tomatoes in the summer. I have neglected the tomatoes a bit the past several weeks. They need to be pruned and cleaned up. I can’t walk between some of the rows, the vines have grown over so much (though the rows aren’t that far apart, so it is not far to grow). I checked last year’s records for when I put tomatoes on the list: the third week of August. Given that the temperatures seem to be close to what we had last year, that looks about right for this year, too. The tomatoes will dribble in for a while, before there are enough for the list. If the temperatures would stay a little warmer at night (60s), that would help a lot, but that doesn’t seem likely. I just looked at the long range forecast and there are only a few nights that might stay that warm in the next three weeks.

This picture is from last year, but you can see the green on the shoulders.

If you notice in the picture above and to the left, there is some green around the shoulders of the tomatoes. Scientists have discovered that the gene that gives tomatoes green shoulders, also gives them more sweetness and better flavor. You may have heard this story on NPR back in June: How the Taste of Tomatoes Went Bad (and Kept on Going). I admit, I want tomatoes to look good, too. But it is mighty disappointing to slice a beautiful tomato and taste nothing when you eat it. Many of the varieties of tomatoes I grow are heirlooms and some of those do have green shoulders. Others don’t have them,  look awfully beautiful, and still taste good. Hopefully, it won’t be long before we can give them all a try.

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