We have started picking some of our organic heirloom tomatoes already; yes, and it's only the beginning of August. We have been growing heirloom tomatoes for over three years at Frog Hollow Farm. And just like our fruit, we like our tomatoes vine-ripened; picked and packed the day of shipping; and delivered vine to table in 48 hours.
Over time, we have identified the most delicious varieties and narrowed down our favorites. But what makes our heirloom tomatoes so tasty? Here are 5 fun facts about them:
Fact 1: We plant marigolds and alyssum around our rows of tomatoes toencourage pollination.
Fact 2: We grow all of our tomatoes from seed, in our own greenhouse. They are then transplanted by hand into the field.
Fact 3: Our tomatoes are planted in compost that we produce on-site at Frog Hollow Farm; watered with drip irrigation; and fertilized with oyster shell flour from a local company in Petaluma, CA.
Fact 4: Our heirloom varieties can reach 13° brix**—that means more thantwice as much sweet tomato flavor as most commercially grown tomatoes.
Fact 5: We hand-prune and handpick our tomatoes to encourage high quality fruiting.
So what does Brix measurement tell us?
According to Jon Rowley, an acclaimed food connoisseur and the marketing genius behind Seattle-based Metropolitan Market's Peach-O-Rama, "A high brix reading (each fruit and vegetable has a different Brix range) indicates the fruit came from a successful plant and that the farmer has soil, watering, air and sun working together optimally." He explains, "If a plant has high brix it has more of everything, especially taste."