From The Desk Of Finn’s Motel: A Walk In The Garden Part 6 (Black Vernissage Tomatoes)

Finn’s Motel mastermind/auteur Joe Thebeau gifted us in late 2006 with the amazing, out-of-nowhere Escape Velocity debut, a concept album about leaving behind the drudgery of cubicle life and suburban malaise for some greater, unknown existence. Even with the help (cough) of a January 2007 MAGNET profile, it took Thebeau nearly 11 years to finally follow it up with the outstanding new Jupiter Rex (Victory Over Gravity). Thebeau will be guest editing all week. Read our new Finn’s Motel feature.

Thebeau: Every year, when the Baker Creek seeds arrive, there’s a handwritten thank you note in the package and one packet of free seeds. It’s something you didn’t order and it’s tossed in as a little bonus for ordering from them. Even though you know it’s coming, it’s still a surprise to find out what it’s going to be. Last year, I think it was a type of cabbage that didn’t quite work out since my seedlings got swamped. This year, the free seeds are for Black Vernissage tomatoes.

Receipt of the seed order is often followed by a return visit to either the catalog or the website or both to remind myself of the details of what I ordered. And I try to learn a little bit about whatever the free seed is that year, as the packages are often unmarked. This year’s free seed description sounds interesting, but, the reviewer comments on the Black Vernissage tomato do not offer a lot of hope.

From a Baker Creek reviewer on June 19:
“Like a lot of others, I got the seeds free in my Baker Creek order. I could not get over what beautiful tomato plants these were and they grew and bloomed quickly and formed bountiful crops of beautiful little tomatoes. Then I tasted them. Yuck, what a disappointment. The texture was horrible, just pure mush. Thinking I had left the fruit on the plant too long I tasted less ripe and finally a green one. Still mushy and very similar to mashed potatoes, not at all like a tomato. I had hoped for a bit of flavor so I could use these for sauce but they were completely bland. I’ve pulled up these fruit laden plants and composted them. Such a shame that such a beautiful plant could be so disappointing.”

So far I am having exactly the same results as far as the plants taking off and looking great. But I haven’t harvested or eaten any tomatoes yet. I have just a few green ones on the vine. I keep giving them the skeptical side eye, wondering if they will be as bad as people are saying.