Saturday, June 14, 2008
Sun Gold (the larger of the two) and Matt's Wild Tomatoes (the latter is also known as Everglades Tomato). Matt's in particular produces pretty abundantly throughout the hot season. The downside is that it is really weedy and motile. "They" say it's the ur-tomato, the wild tomato whence all others. I have my doubts, but it sure is vigorous.
Sun Gold is pretty widely considered (by the numerous accomplished gardeners I know) to be the best small tomato to grow in Florida. The fruits can be picked slightly green for a tart, rich tomato. When allowed to go completely gold, they are sweet but balanced, with a nice acidity and strong tomato flavor that is hard to find in other grape and cherry tomatoes.
I reject the American obsession with "vine-ripened" tomatoes. I think a tomato is at its best a few days before it is completely ripe, mainly because I find very ripe tomatoes to be overwhelmingly sweet. (My dad, who was a fine gardener, used to eat his tomatoes sprinkled heavily with sugar. Blech.) I like mine with a bit of an edge, and some tooth to the flesh. What's more, you can avoid troubles like splitting if you pick the fruit when the base just slightly colors. Left on the countertop for a day or two, the fruit will be perfectly ripe and ready for noshing with oil, salt, and a sliver or two of basil or tarragon.