Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Brandywine and Brandyboy Tomatoes

We are enjoying a wonderful tomato harvest!

I planted 20 different varieties of tomatoes this year, but my family's favorites are Brandywine and Brandyboy. Do any of you grow Brandywines? Brandywine is an Amish heirloom non-hybrid tomato. Because of that, you can save the seeds and get the same quality of plant next year. If you save the seeds of a hybrid plant, you are not guaranteed the same plant the following year. Yes, the plant will likely grow, but you might get poor fruit or different flavor from the parent. One problem with growing an heirloom, non-hybrid variety is that the look has not been altered, meaning the fruits are not uniform and sometimes downright ugly. They are also more susceptible to disease and pests.

See how funny some of them look. The ones in the back are not all the way ripe yet because we've found that if we wait until they are completely red to pick them, the critters beat us to them. We have had turtles and raccoons eat them. They have also been attacked by the tomato hornworm and blister beetles much more than the other varieties. The animals seem to be able to tell that they are non-hybrid. I guess they like them because they are more natural than the others.

Brandyboy is a newer variety that is a hybrid derived from Brandywine. As far as I can tell, it is very similar to Brandywine. Its flavor is not quite as good, but the tomatoes are more uniform and round. Both varieties are pretty big and compare with the beefsteaks in size. See my quarter reference.

I'll leave you with this picture of the beginning of my BLT from the other day. This is a Brandyboy. Notice the seed pattern is a bit different and there is much more "meat" in the center. It is so good I could almost eat a BLT without the B and L. Turkey bacon isn't quite as bad for me as regular bacon though, so why not enjoy the great american summer sandwich?

Trust me, it was delicious!


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