Two years ago when it was tomato-planting time, we knew that later in the summer several grandchildren would be in the garden and swimming in the pool. I planted a “Grape” tomato bush thinking that it would be fun for the kids to pluck the 1-2″ fruits for snacks.
It turned out to be quite a resource to have right in the back yard, miniature tomatoes that were nearly all perfect, and all very sweet and flavorful. They appeared in large clusters and ripened quickly. Not only that, they came off their stems with the slightest nudge, and a clean break. Any meal I prepared seemed to benefit from a few of these pretties on the side of the plate or filling a bowl of their own.
The top pic is of the “Grapes” in 2007. The grandchildren didn’t particularly like to eat them. But Grandma ate tons–well, maybe just bushels. And I planted another “Grape” last year with equal success and savor.
This spring there were no Grapes to be found. Oh, there are various cherry-type tomatoes that grow in clusters like grape clusters. But on all the long wooden shelves at the best nursery (I finally made the drive after several nearby were found lacking) no one could help me find the plants with that proper name and the oblong shape of a Thompson Seedless grape. The kind that make the fruits we buy in little cartons at Costco, and again this year they are for sale there.
I found many interesting tiny-tomato plants, but was so disappointed I couldn’t think straight to decide which one would be the sorry substitute. So Ibought three. They are Juliet F1, Sun Gold, and Green Grape.
It has turned out to be fun indeed to have three colors of little love-apples. Sun Golds are definitely the most flavorful. Juliet F1 is so big, it’s on its way to being a Roma. No great flavor there. The Green Grape has been o.k….it’s just hard to know when it’s ripe! The fruits get a bit yellowish, and then you know.
We also have some large tomato varieties this summer, Early Girl and Mule Team. The mules are a very slow train, just now starting to pink up. And the Early Girl plant is a runt, with few baby girl fruits. Our reputation as awesome tomato farmers has gone down the drain the last couple of years.
Some goat cheese went in, in little gobs or crumbles, whatever form I could manage. They all sort of melted into the tomato juice in the end.
The biggest challenge for me posting pictures of food on my blog is finding a place to stage the picture. The kitchen is a complete mess, and the table has the wrong color of placemats on it. The living room is too dark….At least tonight, I could be glad it was salads I was photographing (ah, yes, I made another one I’ll tell you about later) so a hot dinner didn’t get cold while I scurried around trying to set up a nice environment for my creations.
Husband B. really liked the salad, and so did I. He sprinkled a vinaigrette dressing on his but I take mine neat.