The event of the year is Tomatomania!–at least in this household. For the past month, Mark has been anxiously waiting for tomato planting season. (No matter that when we lived in Massachusetts that was after Memorial Day…not St. Patrick’s Day) The anticipation has been killing us. We’ve argued long and hard about which heirloom tomatoes we are going to plant in our small plot on the north side of the house. OK, I have taken over the rest of the yard so the decision is Mark’s. This is the one holdout and homage to his roots deep in Pennsylvania Dutch country. The first heirloom we ever planted was “Brandywine,” courtesy of the Amish. It’s a big ugly beefsteak that tastes great. Since we’ve moved to LA, we’ve chosen some just for the names…my favorite last year was the politically incorrect “Big Syrian”, which conjured up images of one of my relatives. An old standby is “Cherokee Chocolate”. A couple of years ago we planted a variety that was touted as the heirloom version of “Early Girl”. The last letter of the label was smudged so it looked like “Stupid”. All season, we picked tomatoes from what we called “Stupid Girl.” She might have been dumb, but she was a great producer. When we tried to pick her up again last year, we realized our mistake. She’s called “Stupice”. I think she’s Russian. We have the utmost respect for her.
Tomatomania will be in Encino this weekend and Descanso Gardens next. Click here for all the info. There’s a million good reasons to plant heirlooms; you can get the low-down on the website as well (curse you GMO manufacturers!)