Black Beauty Tomato, Worth the Wait

Screen Shot 2017-09-27 at 1.22.31 PMThe color alone is a good reason to grow this tomato. The skin is a solid blue black that is a stunning contrast in a salad of yellow and red tomatoes.

What makes it black?

This tomato has a very high anthocyanin content. This is the same antioxidant found in blueberries and blackberries.

All tomatoes were slow to ripen this year, but Black Beauty was very slow. I kept testing to see if the skin gave a little to indicate it was time to pick and finally, yesterday, it was.

When I cut into the it, the meat was green, blushed red.  The taste was rich, savory, slightly acidic and complex. I liked it.

At the National Heirloom Exposition, Baker Creek’s Dave Kaiser, a tomato connoisseur, called Black Beauty the best tomato he had ever eaten. It’s good all right. And I love the wildly different color for adding pizazz to a plate.  

But I’m not calling it the best. I’m holding out for a truly great tomato.

Any  recommendations?

Composting Lecture in the Garden

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Marcia Martin, master gardener, started our summer lecture series with a lively and informative talk about composting last evening.

The Pitney Meadows Community Gardens is composting its plant debris and will be collecting plant matter for composting in bins placed between the shed and the barn.

More lectures are planned.

On August 16, a class on Using Herbs to Make Our Food POP! with Kim London, chef and PMCF Board Member. Come hear how a local chef uses herbs to enhance favorite dishes.

Later in August, Murray Penney will lead a class on tomato growing. The date for this class is August 23rd. The lecture will be followed by a tomato taste testing with Chef Rocco Verrigni.

On Aug. 31 – Your Garden is a Sensational Success…. Now What?  Pattie Garrett RD and Nicole Cunningham, RD will discuss familiar and some unfamiliar ways to prepare and preserve your bounty. There’ll be taste testing and recipes to enjoy.

All lectures start at 7 p.m. and will meet at the Pitney Meadows Community Farm. No registration necessary.

 

 

Art Classes for Children

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Art classes for children age 6 to 14 will be held on August 12, 19 and 26th at the Pitney Meadows Community Gardens starting at 9 a.m.

On August 12 and 26, children will be able to draw and paint flowers and bugs in the garden under the guidance of two local artists Martel Catalano and Nancy Hicks who are also gardeners in the community gardens.

On August 19th, Saratoga Springs artist and retired teacher Judy Brunner will lead a class on creating huge sunflowers out of paper. They are gorgeous. Children will be able to enter the sunflower house and see how the walls are growing.

Parents are expected to stay during the art classes which will run an hour, and everyone is welcome to remain in the garden after the class to complete their art work or just enjoy the surrounding beauty. Supplies will be provided, but if you would like to bring your own, that’s fine too.

The art created can be entered in the Sept. 16th art show in the Community Gardens.
Screen Shot 2017-07-29 at 12.23.49 PM.pngThe show will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Paintings, drawings and photographs are all eligible. To register for the classes or enter the art show contact Natalie Walsh at natalie.walsh@pitneymeadows.org

Class size is limited so early registration is advised.

Adults and children are welcome to come draw, paint or take photographs in the garden anytime from dawn to dusk.

The garden is lovely and the farmland is breathtaking. Sunflowers just started blooming this week and will continue to bloom until fall.

Come see.

Composting Class This Week with More Classes Planned

On Thursday, Aug. 3 a Composting for Sustainability class with Marcia Martin, Master Gardener will be held in the community gardens.

Composting is a sustainable activity that we’re doing at PMCG and you can do at home. Learn how to make healthy, living soil by recycling and rotting your kitchen and garden waste.

On August 16, a class on Using Herbs to Make Our Food POP! with Kim London, chef and PMCF Board Member. Come hear how a local chef uses herbs to enhance favorite dishes.

MurrayPenney2017

Later in August, Murray Penney, seen here with two juicy tomatoes he picked off his plants Saturday morning, will lead a class on tomato growing. The date for this class is August 23rd at 7 p.m.

The lecture will be followed by a tomato taste testing with Chef Rocco Verrigni.

On Aug. 31 – Your Garden is a Sensational Success…. Now What? with Pattie Garrett RD and Nicole Cunningham, RD

Join us to discuss familiar and some unfamiliar ways to prepare and preserve your bounty. There’ll be taste testing and recipes to enjoy.

All lectures start at 7 p.m. and will meet around the picnic tables in the Community Gardens. No registration necessary.

 

More adult classes are planned for September including creating pollinator gardens, non-alcholic botanical drinks and gifts from the garden.

For the Kids: FREE ART CLASSES

Art classes for children age 6 to 14 will also be held on August 12, 19 and 26th.

On August 12 and 26, children will be able to draw and paint flowers and bugs in the garden with artists Martel Catalano and Nancy Hicks. Adults are expected to stay during the program and are welcome to join the fun which will run for an hour starting at 9 a.m. Supplies will  provided, but if you would like to bring your own, that’s fine too.

On August 19th, children will be able to create huge sunflowers out of paper with Judy Brunner, a retired teacher and local artist.

The artworks created can be entered in the Community Gardens Art Show on Sept. 16.

 

 

 

 

Tomato Taste Testing Potluck Plan

 

For several years, I held a tomato taste testing garden party. Guests would try different varieties, compare the attributes and select the one they liked best. The following year, I grew the “best” along with new choices and repeated the event.  Everyone loved to be in on the fun.

So why not do it again? This year, I spoke with chef Rocco Verrigni, one of our supporters, and he’s on board to help host a tomato taste testing potluck when the tomatoes ripen. How great is that!

There are more than a dozen different varieties of tomatoes in the community gardens for our future dining pleasure.

Following is a brief write-up about six of the tomatoes. I’ll write about the other six in the near future.

Fourth of July – one of the earliest varieties of non-cherry tomatoes. Matures in 65 days or less and produces many fruits. Flavor is considered better than average. Some people commented online that the skin is thick. We can see what we think.

Black Beauty – Very dark in color, almost blue-black heirloom. It is meaty, fleshy and reportedly very tasty.  Online commenters said this was a great tasting tomato with a rich, smooth earthy flavor.

Berkeley Tie-Dye –  I can’t wait to you see this heirloom. In photos it looks tie-dyed with dark wine red and green stripes. The flavor of the 8 to 12 ounce fruits are reportedly very sweet and rich.

Abe Lincoln –  Mother Earth News said, these “tomatoes are large, meaty, flavorful heirloom tomatoes. There are many exceptional heirloom tomatoes, but ‘Abraham Lincoln’ consistently produces huge crops of extra large, meaty fruit.”

San Marzano – This is a well-known and well-regarded Italian cooking tomato. Long fruit filled with thick, dry flesh and few seeds make this a good choice for sauces or canning.

Defiant – This tomato has three things going for it right off the bat. It ripens early, it is disease resistant and the flavor is good. If you research this one, you’ll find it is resistant  to late blight, early blight, fusarium wilt, and verticillium wilt. Impressive.

Brian Wilson from Trak Rentals you’re invited to the potluck. Thank you so much for the use of the auger to get our raised beds in place.

Special thank you to Murray Penney and Robert Curry. They started these tomatoes early in the season and provided transplants to us and all the community gardeners.