We’re total newbies to heirloom tomatoes, particularly the exotic kinds. The first harvest was “Chocolate Vintage” whose brackish flavor took us completely by surprise (hmm … chocolatey appearance but salty!).
Today, the 4th of July, I was pondering on the sad blossom drop of many of our heirlooms when I noticed one tomato that had a bit of orange at the bottom of the fruit. I looked at the variety on the label that I stuck in the soil next to the plant – “Marmande Vert“. I touched the tomato and it felt ripe! I asked Roy about picking a green tomato that felt ripe and he couldn’t give me a yes or no, so I trusted my instincts and pulled it off the vine. After all, “vert” means green. It came off reluctantly and I felt a little guilty, thinking of an old commercial about not picking fruit “before its time”.
I looked at this unremarkable, somewhat pathetic little green tomato with a large crack. Well, it *feels* very ripe. Sliced it open and knew at once that this was definitely “its time”. The taste was mild, yet flavorful, the way you’d expect an heirloom to taste. The skin was not at all tough, thick or bitter. I was happy that my curiosity with these plants prevented fruit from rotting on the vine!
The red Marmande is one of the more famous heirlooms from France and one of Europe’s favorite “beefsteak” tomatoes. The green variety should have been cultivated at our former place along the Coast where it tolerates cool temps. I’m not optimistic that it will be producing much more for the rest of the season because of our dry, hot climate. We may have to cover the entire tomato bed with a light cloth to protect the plants from the searing heat!