Saturday, December 14, 2013

Order Form: Wild Boar Farms
Uh oh. There's no hiding it now. As soon as I saw the back page of this year's Totally Tomatoes catalog, I got that sinking feeling in my gut. Tomato nerds like me know all too well what's on the back page of that catalog. Uh huh. That's right. Our little tomato secret is close to no longer being a secret. The Wild Boar series of striped tomatoes from Wild Boar Farms in Napa Valley just hit the mainstream big-time.

That's why I secretly placed my order this morning. Heh! Better get while the getting is good! There's no telling when they might run out of tomato seed for the lip-smacking Berkeley Pink Tie-Dye, or the absolutely LUSCIOUS Pork Chop. And yes, they do run out. The man behind the Wild Boar collection of fantastic tomatoes, Bradley Gates, is no longer a tomato grower's best kept secret.

Wild Boar Collection: Totally Tomatoes
Bradley doesn't just grow our favorite types of heirloom tomatoes, although he does offer a few. What he does offer, however, is somewhat better. These are his own creations: Solar Flare, Cascade Lava, Red Furry Boar, Lush Queen are all hand-crafted creations out of the Gates garden. What makes them so special is they are absolutely the best tasting tomatoes I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. And I've tasted my share, people. Trust me on this. Gates has hit on something big -- and the sky's the limit for his ever-expanding operation.

It's not just the taste of these tomatoes. Production figures into the equation just as well -- as does disease resistance. I took a chance last year and ordered four different varieties from Wild Boar Farms. Three of those selections: Lush Queen, Solar Flare and Pork Chop were among the biggest producers in last year's Bird Back 40 tomato garden. The wife that is Venus knows this all too well. Based upon last year's results? I'm doubling my order for 2014.

2013 Whole Tomato Canning Efforts (Partial)
It got to the point during last year's harvest season, where Venus could actually choose the kinds of colors she wanted in each one-quart jar of whole, canned tomatoes. Some jars were all red. Still others were all yellow. And yes, one or two or even three more went straight pink. That's because we literally had so much to choose from that we could "pick and choose" to our heart's delight.

This, by the way, has never happened during previous gardening years. In previous gardening years? Everything we harvested, no matter what the color, got added to those one-quart jars. But last year's gardening efforts produced such a payoff, that just one days worth of canning whole tomatoes provided enough jars to last us and one or two other families with enough tomatoes to last through the entire winter.

Know what that's called? That's called production, my friends. And it's why the Birds are handing out jars of salsa and special tomato sauce blends for Christmas this year. Because you haven't truly savored the flavor of tomato sauce, until you've prepared a meal with herbed sauce or a distinct Italian blend. In other words, why have a bland sauce with one type of basil, when you can spice it up with six blends of basil?

The tomato nerds over at all things tomatoes, a gathering spot called TomatoMania, have been whispering about Bradley's exploits and offerings for more than a few years. But I didn't get around to actually ordering anything from Wild Boar Farms until last winter. And it wouldn't be until late June or mid-July did I finally get to harvest some of these special offerings.

Solar Flare Tomato
I'll never forget that first taste of the very first, vine-ripened, Solar Flare. In a word? Scrumptious.

If you take the time to visit the Wild Boar Farms website, you'll find yourself in a world of striped tomatoes. There is no one, dominant color here. There's yellow streaked with white, red streaked with green and orange, orange streaked with yellow and just about every color found in a rainbow. The descriptions for each tomato are almost as entertaining as the colors. For instance? The Berkeley Tie-Dye carries the following warning: "High Acid Content May Cause Flashbacks."

It appears they have a sense of humor to go along with the ability to grow those great tasting tomatoes.

Garden Pornography
So, tomato lovers, as you gather your gardening porn together that recently arrived in the mail, and start to make those vegetable growing decisions for the 2014 garden, don't forget to pay Wild Boar Farms a visit. Because if there's room for a Brandywine or a Martha Washington in next year's tomato garden, you might also find a spot for the Pineapple Pig or the Golden Gates.

You have been warned.


Don Shor said...

Pork Chop is phenomenal. Huge production, beautiful fruit. Carneros Pink was excellent for me as well. Wine Jug looks very promising. Everyone needs to try Michael Pollan, it's unique and fascinating. Good news, some local nurseries carry starts from Wild Boar in April. Limited availability, though.

Bill Bird said...

Disease has always been a problem in the backyard, and I'm really trying to move away from spraying the plants for protection, even though it seems to be the only thing that works. Three out of the four did not catch a bug that infected the Berkeley Tie Dye, even though two of them were planted very close by (within two to four feet). I was very impressed with the plant's ability to withstand whatever seems to float through the backyard in late June, early July, and produce a bumper crop

The Indulged Furries said...

Thanks for sharing your secret. I'm new to gardening but thought I'd try a couple seeds: Pink Berkeley tie-dye and Solar Flare. If nothing else, it should be a fun experiment to try to grow tomatoes from seed.