Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tomato Season

Mmmmm... Tomato Sandwich for lunch. It sure improves my daily view of the world.
Tomato season has started up. Here is tomato number two, a Dr. Wyche's Yellow. The first official tomato was an Ananas Noir picked July24th, two days later than last year. I ate that one right away, and quite frankly, it wasn't that attractive, so no photo.
One thing I do have to say for the first tomato of the season is that I was surprised at the complexity of the taste. It was very acidic, and had several layers of flavor. It has been my observation that the first tomato always has an intense flavor. I don't know if that says something about the growing conditions, or just the nine long months since the last taste.
The weather has been perfect for tomato taste. Long, hot days with complete control over the amount of water, so no washed out flavor. I picked it in the evening. I've often wondered if that has an effect on taste too. Having a horse who has to have his sugar intake monitored has brought my attention to the fluctuation of sugars in plants through out the day. Grasses use the stored sugars during the night for growth and photosynthesis. So, the sugar content is lower in the mornings. Stressed grass stores more sugar, waiting for the next rainstorm to trigger a growth spurt. So, if tomato plants behave the same, one would draw the conclusion that picking the fruit in the evening, during a dry spell, would give you the most intense taste.
To my knowledge, no one has done a study on tomatoes. Why? Because, obviously, Big Ag is more concerned about tomato appearance and storability than they are about taste. I'll just have to continue my personal, non-scientific studies on my own.


  1. I don't know about sugar fluctuation in tomatoes but I do know that it works exactly that way for grapes and sweet corn. The most sugary sweet grapes and corn are picked under moderate drought conditions late in the day, so it stands to reason, at least to me, that tomatoes would react similarly.

    Big Ag is concerned about three things when it thinks about industrial produce or industrial food generally.

    1. Maximum quantity
    2. Maximum shelf life
    3. Minimum cost.

    I've stood in huge central California fields of vegetables where there was absolutely nothing else alive except me and whatever was growing there at the time. No weeds, no insects, no animals, no birds, nothing. The entire ecosystem was missing.

    If domestic diva's messages plus pictures of food get me worked up (and they do) then domestic diva's talking about plants, farming and Big Ag sends me completely over the top ! ;)

  2. I do think when you pick them matters, but not at the expense of leaving them to long and they get ruined.

    My neighbors have their theories on when berries are sweetest to pick... except they never get around to picking them, because "it's not the right time". Yeah, I'm just gonna eat them so they don't go to waste!