This morning I headed down to the farmers’ market. The Tomato Lady has a stand with loads of tomato plants for sale that she has grown. I didn’t see her at her regular station so I walked on down to the gal that sells cut flowers and potted herbs. Today, she had tomato plants for sale. Great. I’ll pick up a variety that I haven’t tried before to supplement my measly seedlings. I about choked paying $3.25 for one plant! Heavens. That’s about the price of a packet that contains about 100 seeds. Oh well. I’m tired of the mess inside that starting seeds brings. It’s the price I have to pay. The Santa Clara Canner originated in Italy and is a great all round tomato.
After picking up a sack of oranges from a Dinuba citrus farmer, I wandered down to a stand that grows veggies and eggs up in the foothills east of my neighborhood. A nice bunch of carrots and a bunch of beets had my hands full (I forgot to bring my canvas bag.). Dang it. The lettuce was great over at Farmer Tesch’s stand; so I grabbed a nice head of Romaine ($1.50). I saw stuff at the grocery store that was close to $3 a head that wasn’t fit for pigs. I don’t have any green lettuce in the garden thanks to the appetites of pill bugs and earwigs. Now my hands were really full. Then I spotted the Tomato Lady! She had moved her stand closer to the sunny side of the street. Yikes. She had tons of tomato plants from which to choose.
Her helpful self made photo albums catalog each variety with photos and growing information. Her plants in paper cups cost only $2. Did you know: The Rutgers tomato was introduced in 1934 by Rutgers breeder Lyman Schermerhorn as an ideal locally (New Jersey) well-adapted and improved "General Use" tomato for processing (canning and juicing) as well as fresh market. Rutgers tomato was developed and released in the period between WW I and WW II.
- Pleasing flavor and taste of the juice
- More uniform sparkling red internal color ripening from center of the tomato outward
- Smooth skin
- Freedom from fruit cracking
- 'Second early' maturity
- Handsome flattened globe shape
- Vigorous healthy foliage to ripen more fruit and reduce sunscald
- Firm thick fleshy fruit walls for its time, though considered extremely soft by today's definition of tomato firmness
- Uniformity true to type in the field
A fellow backyard farmer at work brought in some tomato seedlings for anyone to enjoy. She hasn’t been able to face the necessary job of thinning her seedlings. I understand and will separate my choice. I picked up a Tigerella cup.
- Maturity -59 days
- Type – Heirloom
- Vine – Indeterminate (That means tomatoes all summer long instead of determinate which means all at once.)
- Plant height - 9 feet
- Fruit Weight - 4 oz
- Leaf - Regular leaf
- Color - Bicolor: Primarily red with yellow stripes
- Shape – Globe
Tigerella was developed in England and produces orange and red striped fruit. We’ll see if this English dandy can hang with the big boys in Bakersfield. My money is on my favorite, Al Kuffa. But I hope I’m wrong and every plant is a wild success in the garden.
I headed up the hill to check out Garden Fest. Everything was just getting underway. Loads of plants for sale, gardening related booths, and booths not so garden related offered a bunch of stuff. It looked like there would be a great crowd to help fund the Agriculture Department at Bakersfield College.