Monday, August 14, 2006

Wild Boar Farms

There are two times of year when we come dangerously close to just handing over twenty dollar bills to vendors at the Grand Lake Farmer's Market. The peak of grape season is one of them, and the height of tomato season is another. For grapes we lean toward Hamada Farm's concords, for tomatoes it's Wild Boar Farms.

Brad Gates has been breeding tomato plant varieties for eight generations now, and has refined several varieties with unique names like,"Berkeley Tie Dye" and "Evan's Purple Plum". An associate of his in New Zealand also plants crops of these varieties, giving him essentially twice the number of tomato plants to cull seeds from.

This weekend he showed us samples of one variety that had an oblong shape he'd noticed last year. Working to refine the varietal, he'd expected to wind up with orange and yellow striped oblongs. Instead he wound up with a single plant bearing oblong fruit in just about every tomato color you can imagine. Rather than sell a single color, he'd brought them all. Gesturing toward a bin of striped green, red, and yellow fruit he said,"I mean, which of these would the tomato world be better off without?"

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