There are few things better than a sweet tomato grown by your own hand and then popped straight into your mouth still warm from the summer sun!
If you’ve got a sunny spot, grow some cherry or pear tomatoes in a pot (well..next year). The yellow ones are particularly delightful! Unless you have a greenhouse, don’t bother trying to grow bigger tomatoes in Vancouver. By the time they ripen, the damp will have got to them and you’ll probably have blossom rot. After all that waiting and watering, you’ll end up with only a few Eric-the-half-a-tomatoes. Tomatoes labeled “Patio” are actually quite annoyingly large. Don’t fall for that one. In one really good, hot year I had some luck with Romas, but they are a gamble. Here, in Vancouver, we often have weather that makes for bad tomato crops (toms don’t like the rain and need to be protected) and the season always seems too short. Even if you do manage to grow a plant or two, it’s an absolute necessity to make a weekly trip to your local farmer’s market to pick up some “real” (real = fresh, local and in season) tomatoes. My appetite for tomatoes in summer couldn’t possibly be satisfied by a couple of plants on my patio.
My favourite tomato vendor is Apple Barn. Find their market schedule here http://www.eatlocal.org/interactive_maps.html. They have yummy baby cukes, shiny eggplants, and peppers too. They have a nice variety of tomatoes (red cherry, yellow cherry, heritage cherry, roma, campari, and other heritage varieties) all for $4 a bag/pint. Trust me. It’s worth it. This year I had some small, pink, heritage tomatoes from Apple Barn that looked like little valentine hearts when I cut them in half. Delicious and beautiful.
Wherever you get yours, make sure you have your fill of these sweet, red, juicy, jewels during the summer because they won’t taste this good again until next year!