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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ponderosa Pink Heirloom Tomato

I got my first ripe heirloom tomato today.  It was a Ponderosa Pink.  It wasn't great, well, the first ripe tomatoes of any kind usually aren't the best.  But this one had a special meaning.

You see, my Dad (deceased 2014) loved them.  I think that is what his Dad grew and to him, that was THE tomato.  Dad used to save seeds from them and regrow them each year.  Dad wasn't a very good gardener.  He just planted stuff in bad soil and went full-out chemical on them.  It was a very "modern" 1950s/1960s thing to do. 

We kids hated his garden.  He grew kale, for example, and we had to eat it.  The kale was so "metalic" that a magnet might have stuck to it. The corn was always too startchy.  The beans were OK.

But the tomatoes were pretty good, the few that grew.  Ponderosa Pink.  Dad saved the seeds in a paper bag in the garage.  As the conditions were bad in the garage, I'm surprised that any sprouted at all.  The year Dad and Mom left that house and moved north, the bag of seeds disappeared.  Dad always said he gave me the seeds, but he didn't.  The loss of the family Ponderosa seeds was a deep disappointment to him.  I assume that the bag of seeds on the garage shelf just got left behind and the new occupants tossed them away.

I followed Grandad's gardening practices.  He was organic, and his veggies always tasted good.  I suppose he also had good Ponderosa Pink tomatoes, but I was too young to know about varieties then.

As years passed and I got my own space for gardening, I looked up some of the best heirloom varieties of tomatoes.  I grew Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Prudens Purple, Aunt Gerties Gold, and Cherry tomatoes.  I didn't grow Ponderosa Pink. 

But I got curious about Ponderosa Pink this year and found a place that sold it (It doesn't seem to be very popular).  The shipping was more than the cost of the seeds, but, "well, what the heck".

So the first heirloom tomato I harvested this year was a Ponderosa Pink.
Dad, this one is for you...


Megan said...

Mark - it looks like a real beauty. Here's hoping for many more, and even better flavour.

I admire you for taking pleasure in 'the simple things'.

Thanks for sharing.

Sydney, Australia


Well blogger wouldn't let me leave my comment.
But I thought this was a great memory.
And I'm so glad it was the first of your harvest.

The Adventures of Scarlett and Melly said...

That's a beaut! What a wonderful gesture, gardening in your dad's memory and carrying on the tradition.

Flynn said...

That is a nice thought to continue family tradition of growing Ponderosa Pinks, and what a beauty it looks. My tomatoes haven't even started to change colour yet. Hopefully it will warm up and we'll get a bit more sun.
BTW we have been forecast 34F overnight and a chance of ground frost. Really? It's only July for goodness sake, not November!