Friday, 7 September 2012
Last year, I went on a collection trip with Robert Foreman of 100 Mile Produce, and was given a Pineapple tomato to save seed from, as a gift from one of his farmer friends. It was a delicious tomato and I did indeed save some seeds and grow them out this year.
As you can see, they are not only delicious but remarkably beautiful tomatoes too. This one is perhaps a tad past the peak of perfection - they should still have a bit more hint of green to them. The overall effect is a marbled swirl of red, orange, yellow and green, inside and out. The tomatoes are large, often weighing a pound and sometimes as much as two pounds each. The flavour is mild, rich and fruity, with just a gentle hint of acidity. A Pineapple tomato this ripe has a soft and melting texture; perfect on a slice of good bread with mayonnaise and a sprinkle of salt, which is how I aspire to eat all my Pineapple tomatoes. Otherwise it is tender but firm, and in any case it has little gel and very few seeds.
Pineapple has a reputation as not a very productive tomato, and it certainly wasn`t at the top of the list of producers. Still, I`d say it delivered a respectable number of tomatoes; at least a dozen per vine and given that a few of them were very large it`s hard to complain. I`ll be growing this one again next year, just a plant or two for (mostly) my own personal delectation.
The plants themselves are extremely large and rangy. As ever, this is a good thing since we were afflicted with septoria spot again this year. They were able to keep producing for several months in spite of the damage to the leaves. (Basically, nothing is resistant to septoria spot - any tomato that survives it does so by outgrowing it.) Like most large beefsteak tomatoes, this one is fairly late at 80 to 85 days to maturity. (I`ve seen dates listed for this from 70 days to 90 days - quite a range. There may be different strains out there. For me it was one of the first of the large beefsteaks to deliver a ripe tomato, so I`d say about 80 days.)
I say this a lot but there isn`t much information out there about its origins. The general line is that it comes out of Kentucky, which is plausible. Many of the bicolour tomatoes do seem to come out of southern Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, West Virginia or northern Kentucky. I`ve also seen an Ohio origin suggested for it. Tatiana says it was listed by Gleckler Seedsmen.