It seems a fitting honor that we announce our 2012 Heirloom Tomato Line-Up on what would have been my beloved Aunt Martha's birthday. She & my mother grew up on an 80-acre corn farm in Moores Hill, Indiana, and she was a wonderful, life-long gardener. Because of the weather there, she could only garden in the warmer months, but what she harvested from that one season lasted the entire year!
Her garden also always included onions, radishes and lima beans. She froze, canned, juiced and shared her bounty with family and friends. She even sent us home on the plane with a shoebox full of perfect tomatoes! Alex and I visited her in 2002; here's a photo of her and me after a very nice harvest of green beans and tomatoes.
Her son Jerry sent me some of her harvest baskets after she passed, and I use them all the time. I like to think she is really enjoying the various goings-on here at the Two Dog Nursery!
The 2012 Tomato List!!
So, without further ado, we happily share the 2012 Tomato List!
It's always so difficult to narrow down, winnow out, study, consult, add, and finalize the List, but we hope you are pleased with it. We took lots of notes at the Heirloom Expo last Fall; the most celebrated Heirloom Tomato growers were there, and we attended all their talks. We also did some taste-testing, and I think we came up with some really great new varieties...17 in all!
Isis Candy Black Prince Orange Russian 117
This year the tomato page includes some new "buttons". We thought it would be helpful to point out which varieties are considered "Compact", meaning not more that 5' or so in height; some folks have very tiny gardens, or want to grow them "upside down", so these will be good choices. We also specify which ones are "Determinate", meaning they'll set the vast majority of their fruit all at once, so those of you who are "canners", take note! Also, we've listed those varieties which tolerate "Cooler "climates (for coastal customers) and that also produce "Late" into the Fall (and even Winter). There's also a quick reference "A-Z" button. As always, we truly welcome your feedback!!
SAVE THE DATE - MARCH 17th & 18th
Be sure to mark your calendars, and help us kick off the 2012 Heirloom Tomato Season at our Annual Spring Nursery Sale & Food Drive (benefiting the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank)! From 10am until 3pm, both days, we'll offer 10% OFF EVERYTHING, including all seedlings, soils, trees, berries, products and books! As always, "admission" is a mandatory donation of canned or packaged food items. At the end of the Sale, we will donate 5% of the total weekend sales to the Food Bank along with the (hopefully HUGE) collection of food. It's a great way to begin a season, and we look forward to seeing you here!
...there's still time for our "Cool Season" favorites! Our harvests of Kale, Chard, Cauliflower, Spinach, Cabbage, Broccoli, Peas, Potatoes and Lettuces have been wonderful this year. And we've really enjoyed growing Turnips, Rutabagas, Beets and Carrots, too! I'm still planting Lettuces, Carrots, Beets, and one more round of Broccoli.
In case you haven't met him yet, Alex's nephew, Joaquin, is visiting us from Argentina where he is studying International Relations in Buenos Aires. He's been coming to the Markets with us and is a huge help there and at the Nursery! His main mission while here is to work on his English, so please, by all means...talk to him! He's a very sweet guy (looks like Alex, no?) and really appreciates the opportunity to converse with everybody!
Alex & I recently ate lunch at Morels at The Grove, and I had the Carrot Soup. Well, it was probably the most delicious soup we'd ever eaten!! I asked the Chef if he would mind telling me the ingredients, and happily, he did. I've made it twice since, and oh my gosh, it's amazing. I don't have exact quantities, but basically, this is how it goes for a big double batch:
2 Yellow Onions, chopped
42 Carrots, peeled
Many cloves of fresh Garlic
Chicken Stock (or a mix of chicken & veggie stock, for a total of 4 cartons)
Salt & Pepper
I sautéed the onion and garlic, then added in the chopped carrots and stock. After it cooked a bit, I ran it all through our Blendtec Blender (half at a time) and returned it to the big soup pan to cook for a good long while. Since I was unfamiliar with the two spices, I added them a little at a time until it tasted like what we'd had at Morels. I also added in water as necessary. I promise if you make this soup, you will LOVE it! Please let me know if you do.
In January, we were pleased to be named
"Retailer of the Month" by EarthBox!
Click Here to Watch the Video!
They wrote this very nice article about us, linking to our website and our Farmers Markets. Currently we grow in 25 EarthBoxes year-round, and last year, we sold approximately 300 of them! Even after four years, we continue to love this product. So, thank you, EarthBox - here's to another great year!!
...our EarthBox Planting Classes are scheduled for every other Monday at noon.
They're always fun and casual...usually just 2-3 people attend, so it's a good time to ask questions and get personal attention. During 2010 and 2011 we had more than 130 "students" come and learn how to plant an EarthBox! Here are a few "reviews" from some of those Class participants:
~We enjoy the class a lot, my earth boxes are happy in their new environment and I am tickle pink. Thank you so much. Looking forward to my spring planting, I feel like a pro, thanks to your classes and caring advise. - Muriel Lins, Encino, CA
~Hi Jo Anne! I enjoyed the organic planting class yesterday. I especially like the emphasis you put on "enriching the soil" and not merely adding plant food. Happy Thanksgiving and thanks for the informative class. - Judith Matz, Valley Village, CA
~Thank YOU Jo Ann, I really enjoyed it, I have spoken negative things over myself regarding killing plants and not having a green thumb etc, so it was very healing for me to be there. In fact I went to a composting class and bought my bin and am ready to start composting. Will I need some hand holding along the way, absolutely, but I feel must do this for me and my family :) I'm glad you have a part in it :) - Alice Muradyan, La Canada Flintridge, CA
Well, that's it for now, dear friends. We look forward to seeing you at the Markets, at the Classes, and at the Spring Sale!!
As always, thank you for your business, and happy harvests,
Jo Anne, Alex, Jake, Lalo - and for at least a few more weeks, Joaquin!