Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Epic Tomatoes, Black is the new green (?)and more!

 Monday morning here at the Extension Office after an all hands on deck working weekend presenting workshops and staffing our information tent for GrowFest at the Fruit and Spice Park.

But before our Monday team meeting, before we unpack the truck and before we reload the trailer with rain barrels for the next workshop, it's time to review what heirloom tomatoes we purchased for our demo garden and for the new 4-H vegetable garden at Amelia Earhart Park!                                                

I was definitely attracted to tomatoes with the word chocolate or color brown or black in their name this year, Tim's Black Ruffles, Cherokee Chocolate, Black Zebra, Brown Berry. Also in the mix a Striped German heirloom and especially for Laura and Jesus, Mexico Beefsteak- Red. The only repeat cultivar we will grow this year is Brown Berry as we explore new taste.

Feast on the photos gleamed from various sources on the internet. Some of the interesting sources for information we came across are shared below with a reminder to always check with your Local Extension Office and local growers for what grows best in your area.

Epic Tomato by Craig LeHoullier is must have for my library, in the meantime I found an excellent post on Savvy Gardening.

Black Tomatoes features flavor descriptions by experts at events like TomatoFest and TomatoMaina.

GrowFest at the Fruit & Spice Park celebrated it's 4th year and has become a perennial favorite of local food and organic food connoisseurs interested in growing their own food. It is just not possible for food to be any fresher than picking it out of your backyard and the fall/winter vegetable growing season is upon us. If you missed this event save the date for next year, it's always the 3rd weekend in October and check out some of the local sources listed below.

Food Day October 22, 2015  Will be held at the University of Miami this year, click on the link to see schedule of presentations, forums, vendors and educational vendors. We will be there with information on Rain Barrels and Irrigation Retrofit and Rebate Program funded by Miami Dade County Water & Sewer Department.

Local Food South Florida This vital website lists locations for Farmer's Markets, Farm Stores and Produce Market's from Sebastian to the Keys. CSA's/Community Supported Agriculture are listed, you can pre-order farm fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs for the season from these sources.

The list of great resources could go on but the garden calls, time to plant our heirlooms.

Reminder! We will need to protect our tender new plants from heavy winds this week in Miami Dade, we set up a wire mess hoop covered with shade cloth. Don't over water but do check to make sure plants remind just ever so slightly moist.

Happy gardening and good eating!
Barbara McAdam

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