Saturday, July 24, 2010

Michael Pollan is rather green

This is a picture of the unripe "Michael Pollan" tomatoes from Wild Boar Farms taken this afternoon in the garden. According to the catalog, "Fruit with no BER (Blossom End Rot) developed a pointed nipple on the bottom. Taste is very different from the Green Zebra. Much less tartness, more mild with good sweetness. Very positive response at the Farmers Market. They stuck out and people really liked the flavor. As I ran out later in the season, customers kept asking about them."

As you can see, no BER on these tomatoes. The color is untouched - they are really this green. The plant (along with many others) was purchased back in April after a tomato demonstration at the "Pumpkin Patch". Most of the plants are now over six feet tall, after following the advice on how to promote top growth on indeterminate plants.

These are immature "Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye". Some day these tomatoes will be the heirloom tomatoes of our time.

I've been re-reading "Gardening for Love: The Market Bulletins" by Elizabeth Lawrence, edited by Allen Lacy - two of the great garden writers of all time. Elizabeth Lawrence was the Sunday garden writer for the "Charlotte Observer" and Allen Lacy was garden writer for the "New York Times" and the "Wall Street Journal".

According to Miss Lawrence:

"Reading the market bulletins is like walking through a country garden with sun on the flowers, in their very names: princess feather, four-o-clock, love-in-a-mist, bachelor's buttons, Joseph's coat, touch-me-not, kiss-me-at-the-garden-gate, ladyfingers, redbird bush, rainbow fairy, pink sunburst." She could just list the common names of plants and have a lyrical passage.

The market bulletins were published by the departments of agriculture of mostly southern states. Some may still be printed. Southern gardeners (mostly women) traded seeds, plants and cuttings for "pin money". Miss Lawrence tried to verify the botanical names of many of the plants - and added to her garden along the way. Eudora Welty seemed to have played a pivotal role in introducing Miss Lawrence to the market bulletins. It's comforting to know that in this homogenized United States of Generica, such places and practices persist - even in Napa and Suisun, California.

Juli's yellow french beanstalk ~ traded John's red pick-up truck for these magic beans, now about nine feet tall ~ growing in a half wine barrel ~ trellised with two large stacked tomato cages ~ pretty soon we'll be able to climb up to the sky.

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