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2017 News from the Organic Garden: Aunt Ruby’s Green Tomato

This blog got through November.  It is never too late to talk about lessons from the organic garden.

Aunt Ruby’s Green Tomatoes

 First frost is coming! Well, here we are on the cusp of November. It’s about time!

For the past few days, we’ve been harvesting edible emeralds.

The biggest surprise in our organic garden this year was Aunt Ruby’s Green Tomato, an heirloom I’ve seen in catalogs for decades. Yet, it never enticed me to actually plant the seeds. Now mahogany tomatoes were different: lusciously dark, sultry, and spicy, a grand adventure. In my mind, a ripe green tomato lacked much allure.

We had three plants this year, and each yielded heavily. The tomatoes came in diverse sizes, ranging from medium to green-moon huge. Some morphed into funny shapes, bulbous and buttocks-shaped. Ugly ducklings, perhaps.

The biggest could compete with the most majestic beefsteak tomatoes that we have grown over almost four decades of high mountain swamp gardening.

Yes, we are decades deep in tomatoes as a family, farming a tiny city backyard. Space is limited, but nevertheless, adventure inside beckons inside of so much time.  Plant some green ones, my leprechaun brain chattered.

Well, why not?

Still, I couldn’t help it. I eyed up the ripe tomatoes suspiciously. Was I going to bite into bitter Martian-fleshed love apples?

No, by the way, I’ve never made fried green tomatoes, that Southern delicacy. The novel and the movie were enough to dissuade me. So, I was truly in new territory with Aunt Ruby.

Another problem, if we can really call it a problem, with Aunt Ruby’s Green is figuring out when they are actually ripe.

There is no great color change in the fruit as it turns from unripe to ripe. Instead, you have judge ripeness by squeezing the tomato. When it is soft to the touch and springs back, the tomato is ripe.

And so, what is the reward for readiness?

The tomato is refreshing and lightly sweet with overtones of fruit. I can’t tell you what fruit it was exactly, but maybe some cousin of honeydew or a lost, wandering grape.

Another pleasing surprise was its disease resistance. Heirlooms are not always super-hardy.

However, Aunt Ruby’s Green laughed at insect attacks and disease.

Finally, we can’t ignore this tomato’s pure beauty.

Arranged in succulent stripes on a platter, with Pruden’s Purple, another heirloom, and Lemon Boy, slices of lush sunshine, Aunt Ruby’s Green, shines like a miracle of nature’s imagination.

If you a veteran organic gardener, maybe you have already savored this spring green wonder for some time, that is, if you are a person who ventures beyond the red band of the tomato spectrum.

If you are new to organic gardening, I recommend Aunt Ruby to you to build next summer’s bounty. I think this tomato will love you and make you feel very successful.

Go green. Grow a ruby.  Show Gaia your love.

Copyright 2017 by Maria Jacketti

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