Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pretty In Pink

It's tomato season! The plants I put in the ground a couple of months ago are starting to bear fruit. This year I planted my old reliables (a Roma, a grape, and a cherry) and a couple of heirloom varieties. I've been picking the smaller fruits for a couple of weeks and keeping an eye on the big tomatoes as they grow.

One heirloom variety that I'm trying this year is Mortgage Lifter, a pink fruited beefsteak tomato. According to the nursery pot label, these tomatoes are large (1-3 pounds) and pinkish-red in color. They're supposed to have very few seeds and a meaty texture. The plant has done well in the humid St. Louis weather, and now several large fruits are hanging on the vine. I've checked them each morning for the past week, because I'm looking forward to the first perfectly ripe slicing tomato of the season. Yesterday the biggest fruit showed just a bit of green, so I was pretty sure I'd be picking it today.

After breakfast I went outside to throw some scraps in the compost pile and check on the garden. This is what the tomato I planned on picking looked like:

Gaaa! I'm guessing the culprit was a squirrel, because nothing else has been able to get over (or under) the garden fence. Whatever it was it must have been hungry, because this was more than one bite. Or maybe the tomato was so tasty that the first squirrel took a bite and sent out word to the whole squirrel family, who all came and took a bite. Doesn't matter who or why. My fruit wasn't perfect anymore.

That wasn't going to keep me from trying it, though. I brought the damaged fruit in, washed it, and cut off the section that contained the bites. Even with the imperfect area removed, it still weighed close to a pound. I cubed the remaining tomato and added it to my lunch for today. I would have preferred a big slice of 'mater on my sandwich, but the cut-up pieces definitely were the high point of the meal.

Now I have my eye on a couple of other Mortgage Lifters that are getting close to maturity...


  1. A raccoon maybe? I'm not sure if you've got them in your parts? But raccoons used to be the only things that would mess with our gardens.

  2. Don't you just hate that! I bet that is how Ed felt when he found his bounty gone due to my theft! I must still feel a little guilt. Ed has a loaf of homemade bread in his future!

  3. Yep, we left an apple on our table on the deck and found it later with a few bites removed! Oh well. I would guard those tomatoes however! Yum, yum.

  4. Wow! My tomatoes are nowhere near ready - they're big enough, but haven't started ripening. I blame our cold, rainy summer so far.

  5. You can try picking them a day early and ripening them in a window sill.

  6. Terez, that's what I've done with the three other big tomatoes I've picked. The critters WILL NOT win!