tomato taste test: ‘juliet’ plum, farm-market find
I CAME UP ONE BATCH SHORT OF HOMEGROWN PASTE TOMATOES this year, thanks to super-dry weather, eccentric bouts of pollination-thwarting heat, and a posse of marauding chipmunks. Not bad, really, but not quite enough to fill the freezer—I needed maybe 10 more pounds. Farmer’s market to the rescue yesterday with a big bag of ‘Juliet,’ an F1 hybrid small plum that grows in grape-like clusters—a tomato I have never grown, or tasted. Ever tried it?
The fruits of ‘Juliet’ are somewhere between a plum and a grape or cherry type of tomato— just 2 inches long or so—and borne in clusters of 12 to 18. They’re small enough that I simply halved them (above) for the skins-and-all quick tomato sauce that I freeze 40 containers of each year. I am fascinated with this rich-tasting little plum, now bubbling happily on the stove. Johnny’s Selected Seed rated indeterminate ‘Juliet’ as their most disease-resistant variety in trials (no small honor), I learned today.
I have Roberto Flores, the self-proclaimed Dirtmeister at Good Dogs Farm in Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, to thank for growing the brimming bag of ‘Juliet,’ and my crafty neighbor Susan Schneider of Shandell’s, who scooped them up for me yesterday, knowing I’d been complaining about being a bag or two short. And I have the Millerton, New York, farmers’ market to thank, too—appreciation all around, friends.
Have you grown ‘Juliet’ (packet of seed for next year, anyone?) or even more to the point: Have you discovered some new favorite varieties of fruit, vegetable, or herb at your farmers’ market?