Late last fall while picking up a few necessities at Safeway, a local grocery store in our area, my wife happened across a bin full of overly ripe tomatoes labeled "Organic Heirlooms." One must assume the produce manager was off for the day because those tomatoes were in pretty sad shape, some with actual mold on them. Beyond edibility at this stage, and marked down to almost nothing, she picked two big red and one yellow tomato out of the bin and brought the half rotten prizes home to me. She knew I would be delighted to have those big partially decayed tomatoes, and boy was she right. No, I was not going to make some strange fermented meal out of them or even feed them to the chickens...I was after their offspring.
Seeds from a few of our tomatoes drying on a screen. These are normally allowed to safely dry on our porch away from wind and children but for the sake of a picture I nervously set them outside for a brief moment.
Last October's spoiled heirlooms legacy now lives on in the form of this year's generation of appealing fruits. Some of our best pepper and tomato plants have developed from seed saved from interesting vegetables obtained from farmers markets and the local grocery stores organic food section. One obviously runs the risk of the seeds not coming true to form especially with peppers, but that has been an extremely rare occurrence for us so far. Last year we saved seed in this manner from six different types of peppers and three tomatoes all of which performed beautifully, only one tomato did not grow true to form. That one turned out to be a most pleasant surprise nonetheless.
Our "Safeway Red Organic #1", as I labeled it last year, turned into a unique bell pepper shaped tomato with orange and red stripes embelishing it's form, not at all similar to it's large, round, all red parent. So I'm wondering if this tomato is a replica of whatever the one we purchased crossed with or something altogether new. Has anyone seen this tomato that is striped much like a "Tigerella" before? The flavor is very nice and this thick walled fruit would seem to be a great candidate for pizza toppings or a stuffed tomato dish. I've already convinced a couple people that it is really a pepper.:)
The big yellow/orange tomatoes turned out to be similar to the parent and have a surprisingly sweet-tart flavor. Some are drying in our little Nesco food dehydrator as I write this...much too tasty to be preserved as a simple sauce. Our Safeway Red #2 turned out to be a nice brandywine type tomato, but alas, I neglected to steal it's soul.
Safeway Yellow/Orange #1 - It's a bit too late in the season to dry them outside. I really do need a more cost effective electric dryer or better yet to follow through on my plans for a better solar one...someday soon.