Yesterday, I joined a group of garden writers at a vegetable tasting event sponsored by Stokes Seeds and President's Choice (Loblaw). After much detouring (yes, I'd been there before - and no, it makes no difference apparently in my ability to get lost) I joined the taste test in session. We were taken out to the sandy soil fields where we got to see the growth habits and taste the veggies right off the vines.
The test fields are located outside of St. Catharines which is just below Lake Ontario - when I say sandy soil - I mean sand. This is a tumbler variety - while the yield is beyond impressive, it tasted tomato-ish. At the end of lunch, we were asked to vote on our favourites. We had been shown several stunted tomato plants currently under consideration for Urban Gardeners. High yields, small plants, bland taste. The crowd of writers was split about these sawed-off wanna-be(s). There were those who thought, the Urban Gardener would be happy growing tomatoes no matter what they tasted like. And then there were those (no doubt where I stand on this) who said, the only reason you grow tomatoes is for the TASTE. I'm wondering what kind of repeat business you'd get if these so-called Urban Gardeners tried these tomatoes and were disappointed?
Now, here's a tomato to keep an eye out for - it's called Montisino. However, it may just be that tomato plant you'll never be able to find because the seed is .75 a piece. I would gladly turn over all the tomatoes I currently grow for this one - it was absolutely delicious. I could barely move away from it, I was trying to stuff as many tomatoes in my mouth as humanly possible. While it's tasty, it isn't going to win a beauty contest. Although after the taste testing yesterday, show me a tomato plant that is attractive, and I'm going to be immediately suspicious.
Here's what the fruit looks like:
And here's something completely different. At first glance, what do you think you're looking at. Do I hear a collective, "Hold on....what the heck?!" Looks like a tomato, but what's with the eggplant leaves?
It's an eggplant called Turkish Orange. Not only is it gorgeous, it is delicious. It doesn't have the bitterness of regular eggplant, but a slight sweetness. Just wonderful.
I was extra lazy last night, and decided to bake them at a high heat with nothing on them. They were great.
I am really curious to see after our day of tasting, what makes it into the line-up next year for President's Choice. No matter what they choose, they're bound to have some fabulous new veggies for their customers.