What could taste better than a perfect red garden tomato still warm from the sun? Tomatoes are the most popular homegrown vegetable for good reason. Grow lots because not only will you eat them, but they can save you big on your grocery bill, especially if you freeze them whole or make spaghetti sauce. Tomatoes need heat, water, and fertile soil to grow their best.
Pick fruits when they are firm, full size, and fully colored. Tomatoes will ripen when harvested at their green mature stage, but flavor will not be as good. Harvest all except the greenest fruits before a killing frost, and take them indoors at 60° to 65°F to ripen. You can also harvest green tomatoes for pickling and frying.
Eat fresh, make into spaghetti sauce or salsa, fry the green ones- the possibilities are endless!
There is a seemingly endless array of tomato varieties out there. Meadows Farms offers a wide selection of varieties (not all varieties available at all locations- please call for availability).
Grafted tomatoes bring together the best of both worlds: excellent production and disease resistance, even on the fussiest varieties. Grafting is simply taking the top (scion) of any tomato variety seedling that is the same stem size as the rootstock, and attaching it to a specialized hybrid rootstock grown specifically for its vigor and disease resistance. The rootstock provides protection from tomato mosaic virus, nematodes, verticillium wilt, and a number of diseases based upon that specific rootstock. Jim Meadows takes a hybrid root stem and grafts onto it an heirloom variety.
Grafted plants are great way to grow your favorite tomato in huge amounts! Be sure to plant with the graft above the ground, or grafting benefits will be lost.
Fruit: Botanically, a fruit is the ripened ovary, together with seeds, of a flowering plant. In many species, the fruit incorporates the ripened ovary and surrounding tissues. Fruits are the means by which flowering plants disseminate seeds for regenerating.
Does it have seeds? If so, then technically, you have a fruit. Yes, tomatoes (and peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and squashes) are fruits. Even true nuts, like acorns and chestnuts, are fruits. And grains are considered the dried fruit of cereal grasses.
In cuisine, fruit refers to those plants that are sweet and fleshy—not items cooked or used in savory dishes.
Vegetables: The word ‘vegetable’ is not a botanical term and thus there is no contradiction in referring to a plant part as a fruit while also considering it a vegetable.
For a botanist, ‘vegetable’ is an umbrella word for all the edible parts of a plant—leaves (lettuce, spinach, kale), stems (asparagus, celery), roots (carrots, beets), tubers (potatoes), flowers (broccoli), bulbs (onions, garlic) and seeds (peas, beans).
For the average person, whether it’s a fruit or vegetable doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that we eat 5 to 8 servings everyday. So eat those fruity tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers and just plain enjoy.