Monday, May 5, 2014

T is for Transplant

Much like fashion professionals, farmers with hoop houses get to work a good bit ahead of the rest of the world. There may still be snow on the ground, but we're thinking spring. Spring finally breaks and we leap ahead to summer. Come fall, we're eking out even more vegetables after the first frost has cut short the outdoor season. It's amazing what the sun and a sheet of plastic can accomplish!

This past weekend, we transplanted tomatoes and peppers we started back in March into one of the hoop houses. We won't be able to transplant the paste tomatoes in the field for another month—and by then the varieties in the hoop house should be at least a foot tall.

Because we start all of our tomatoes from seed—once you start a few, you may as well go for volume—we offer transplants for sale to home gardeners, as well. We favor indeterminate varieties, for their grace on a trellis, and with each plant we sell, we offer a little tutorial on tomato transplantation and pruning.

This year, we'll offer nine varieties, in nearly every color of the rainbow:

Black Cherry: Purple and perfectly round, a rich burst of flavor in one bite. Beautiful in a salad of mixed cherry tomatoes.

Cherokee Purple: A beefsteak-style heirloom whose brownish-purple, one-pound fruits retain their green shoulders even when ripe. 

Garden Peach: As fuzzy as its namesake—and similarly colored—this salad-sized fruit is mild and juicy. Picked green, it will ripen indoors after the first frost has blackened its vines.

Gold Medal: Bright gold, one-pound fruits streaked with red. A juicy, sweet sunset on your plate!

Green Zebra: The name says it all, but for describing its incredible flavor. Never red, but the best tasting salad tomato you'll try.

Peacevine: The organic, non-hybrid answer to the Sweet 100, a prolific and delicious red cherry.

Pink Brandywine: Famed for its challenging disposition in the garden and its extraordinary flavor, this thin-skinned beefsteak averages one-pound fruits.

San Marzano: a sweet, low-acidity plum prized in Italy for its meaty flesh, easy peeling, and sparse seeds.

Sungold: The only hybrid tomato we offer, this brilliant orange and prolific cherry boasts the sweetest fruit we've tasted. Even sweeter dried for winter snacking.

Yellow Perfection: A perfectly round, thin-skinned and versatile saladette that fruits early and yields heavily throughout the season.

Of course, there's more to summer gardening than tomatoes (we've heard) and so we'll also have available at market: certified organic German butterball seed potatoes, Diablo brussel sprouts, Prisma red shallots, Ping Tung Long and Rosita eggplant seedlings, King of the North sweet and Hidalgo serrano hot peppers, and purple tomatillo plants for sale. Perennial offerings include potted sage, valerian, and an heirloom yellow primrose. We'll offer licorice and horseradish pre-order, only.

Market starts on May 15. Look for us every Thursday from 4–7pm under the red tent in front of Red Feet Wine Market in the Franklin Plaza.

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