The intense, intensive week of reading historic cookbooks is over, and I’m tired but elated I had the opportunity to work with so many wonderful scholars in Cambridge. A longer post is in the works, I promise, but for now, let’s just say I am as happy…
…as these guys. Raw, steamed, fried, or whichever way you like us.
Hello from Cambridge, Mass! I spied this strawberry and tomato-growing system in the Harvard Community Garden. I’ll write more about this later, but for now, I just want to share that I’m spending a week at the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute, studying old cookbooks under the sage guidance of Barbara Ketcham Wheaton, culinary historian and honorary curator of the culinary collection at the library. I can’t believe my good fortune, honestly.
I also can’t believe my good fortune in having Jeff’s Garden of Eaton back at home. Jeff grows hundreds of varieties of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants, and sells them out of his home off River Road every afternoon, and at farmers markets. As wonderful as Territorial and Log House Plants are for providing sound, delicious varieties of the nightshade family (and you shouldn’t overlook the grafted tomatoes), Jeff has them soundly beat for variety. Last year, for example, I grew Ethiopian ‘Berebere’ peppers and Sichuan ‘Facing Heaven’ peppers from his starts. The commercial market wouldn’t support these niche peppers, but Jeff does.
If you’re interested, you can see the tomatoes and pepper varietals I grew from Jeff’s garden in 2011 (tomatoes and peppers) and the ones I grew from Territorial in 2010, plus comments about what others were growing.
Here’s what I managed to stick in the ground this year in the week I had back home. Hope they make it! I finally broke my Hungarian pepper obsession this year and opted for many Central American varieties to make mole. But my tomatoes leaned Russian. Pinkos and reds, you see.
- Amish Paste x 3 (my go-to paste tomato; last year I had several 1-pounders)
- Carol Chyko’s Big Paste (sounds promising as another meaty non-Roma paste)
- Japanese Black Trifele
Rose de Berne (this is tragic — I snapped off the entire stem of this Swiss heirloom while transplanting and had to replace with Black Krim, thanks to a last minute run to MOC!)
- Jean’s Prize
- Indigo Rose (the new, much-hyped purple tomato developed by Jim Myers at OSU)
- Nyagous (Russian variety, black, cluster, crack-resistant)
- Azoychka (3-inch, slightly flat orange-yellow tomatoes, another Russian variety)
- Padron x 2
- Facing Heaven (my seed from London) x 3
- Facing Heaven (company stock seed as comparison)
- Piquillo Pimento
- Esplette (Basque)
- Chilhuacle Amarillo
- Serrano Tempiqueno
- Mulato Isleno
- Tennessee Cheese
- Negro de Valle (like Vallero)
- Berebere Brown