This week, for vegetable of the week, I have chosen the Purple Pear tomato. Like all of my plants, I ordered my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co., but these ones are special. Because I ordered these seeds about four years ago, when I began my heirloom vegetable garden. My first year, I didn’t even know what “heirloom” was. But when I stumbled upon heirloom tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, swiss chard, kale, etc.. at the farmers’ market, I fell in love. I had to grow them. So that year, instead of buying tomato starts from the garden center, I bought a few paper packets of seeds that came in the mail encased in bubble wrap. And one of these glossy packages was the Purple Pear tomato. They had excellent production the first year they grew. I got countless amounts of these reddish-greenish fruits.
But Fall came, as it often does, putting an end to my garden’s harvest. The left over, frost kissed, and very withered tomatoes soon fell off their vine, into the soil. The soil got covered in three feet of snow for a few months, and then turned over once more in the spring. In late May, I noticed green tomato plants poking their heads up through the ground. I never thought they’d flourish, but they did.
Next year, the cycle continued.
It took four years for this little tomato to slow down in production. Some disease took all of my tomato crops, making the stems wither and die, and rotting unripened fruit. And I STILL got a pretty good harvest. Two baskets worth.
I think this vegetable certainly deserves the title of Vegetable of the Week. But I won’t be letting the fifth generation grow next year. I need to get rid of that disease!