Windwalker windwalker at
Sun Oct 1 10:17:41 EDT 2000

I'm reading all this tomato talk and thoroughly enjoying the revelations of
heirlooms.  For years I was a tomato purist and would only grow heirlooms
but since our last few years have not been great tomato years (east/central
kansas) for various reasons, I decided to try hybrids.  Got variety ideas
from other growers and forged ahead.

Well the celebrities immediately defoliated and only grew sun-scalded
tomatoes, the daybreaks weren't early and also lost foliage, as did the
solar set, lemon boys cracked miserably in the heat and were a disappointing
flavor.  The best tomatoes I had were pink girls, golden queen, red sun and,
of course, sun gold.  I had good production on these until we hit the upper
90's and into 100º+.

I also grew 1250 processing tomatoes, la rossa and italian gold for a salsa
canning project we have here.  After I ran out of space for those plants, I
stuck four in my hoop house in middle June "just to see what would happen".
I picked a basket of tomatoes off of those four plants yesterday and more
are coming.  Beautiful plants.  So, I reason, if these can do well in the
hoop house (with shade cloth still on - it comes off today) what if I try
the brandywines, etc. in there next year and leave the hybrids for the open
beds.  I'm going for it!

There is one farm at our market that specializes in heirlooms and they have
well-educated our customers to the fact that appearance doesn't equal
flavor.  I think it helps to cut out any articles you may see on items that
you grow (and there are always articles on heirlooms tomatoes) and lay them
out for the customers to read. They are so influenced by magazines, etc.

joan vibert
windwalker farm
ottawa, kansas

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