Vine-ripened Tomato in February

Vine-ripened Tomato in February

A red ripe tomato in February? This is unusual for even Southern California, is it not? Our weather this year has been extremely mild, and some days were just darn right hot like summer. I’ve been worried that my stone fruit and apple trees are not getting enough winter chill to produce fruit this year. Needless to say, it has been a warm and DRY winter.

After I walked in the door from work my husband announced to me, “Hey, there is a red tomato in the backyard.” Come on, really? I am still somewhat of a beginner gardener, but I’ve been at it for several years now. One winter there was a volunteer tomato that overwintered near the wall of the house. The house help to keep it warm and it produced fruit over the winter, but it did not turn red until late April. These tomatoes this year are situated in the middle of our back yard.

Well, the weather has been so unseasonable (weird), perhaps I shouldn’t be that surprised.

I’ve been busy with culinary school starting up again after the break. I have not stepped in the garden for a few weeks now. And, let’s face it, the garden has been neglected big time this winter season. The tomatoes from last summer are still where they stood, now all dead and dried up, except for a few surviving vines. This baseball size tomato is from the Better Boy. The little one came from a Brandywine, my favorite.

 

Tomato Taste Test

Tomato Taste Test

Ok, so we have a red tomato in February, but how does it taste? Let’s cut it open and see. It’s a firm tomato and looks good when I cut into it. But, when I bite into it, it is mushy and somewhat mealy. It is sweet, however. Amazing. Definitely not the best tomato I’ve tasted, but definitely edible. I think the hothouse tomato tastes better, I’m sorry to say. Still, it’s amazing.

What is the earliest you’ve produced a good tomato, and how do you get it?