Y’all, it’s the most wonderful time of the year: TOMATOMANIA!

I posted about my favorite tomato seedling sale last year, and of course I wouldn’t miss it this year for anything. Tomatomania is the self-billed largest heirloom seedling sale in the world.  It travels around, and it always comes to this little independent farm stand close to our home here in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.  (If you’re interested in attending, check out their future dates here; they are here in my area through tomorrow and then they travel around the country.)  They have over 300 varieties of tomato seedlings for sale, so if you like gardening, and particularly tomato gardening, this place is for you.

I got there on the first day so I’d have my pick of all the plants, and even so some were already sold out.  I brought my camera to take some photos to share:

chickens on the farm



ummm... pheasant?

scarecrow driving a tractor

rows and rows of tomato seedlings

and don't forget the basil!


I bought some strawberries, too

So, you’re dying to know what I got, right?  Here are this year’s winners:

  • Sweet Olive: A red grape tomato.
  • Watermelon: As the title might suggest, a beefsteak heirloom from the 1800s.
  • Pink Cherry of Japan: In honor of the recent tragedy there.  I can’t find a link online so maybe this one is something rare!
  • Marglobe: A slicer or salad tomato that is supposed to be resistant to some diseases.
  • Martino’s Roma: An Italian heirloom that should be prolific.  I haven’t had much success with tomatoes for sauce, so I’m really hoping this one’s a winner.
  • Evan’s Purple Pear: A pear tomato that’s purple!  Apparently rare, and I’m really looking forward to this one.
  • Bloody Butcher: An average red tomato that is early.
  • Crème Brulée: I couldn’t pass this one up because of the name.  And check out this description: “A lovely tomato from the former Soviet Union. This variety produces pretty, globe shaped fruit of medium size. They are a stunning deep caramel color with hints of red and chocolate. The flavor is rich, sweet and full-bodied, and the texture is tender and smooth.”  My mouth is watering.
  • Chocolate Stripes: Another description I had to copy: “One of the most amazing tomatoes we have ever grown. For both color and taste, this variety excels. Fruit is deep reddish-brown inside; the outside is covered with beautiful orange and lime colored stripes. One of the most unique looking tomatoes we have ever tried. It is very sweet and yet has a full-rich flavor, and this is the reason this tomato places very high in taste tests.”
  • Honkin’ Big Black Cherry: This one’s by far my favorite name.  A cherry tomato that produces fruits the size of a half dollar, it’s also supposed to be really prolific.  I can’t wait!

So, that makes four snacking tomatoes (cherries and the like), which my kids love to pick and eat from the garden; two beefsteaks; three salad tomatoes; one paste tomato.

Wish me luck as I plant them.  I’m moving my plants to different areas this year because I think my garden plot is exhausted from tomatoes.  I will plant other things in that area this year, doing the crop rotation thing.

What are you planting this year, if you have a garden?



Leave a Comment

  • March 27, 2011, 4:39 am kathrynstrong

    Oh! So jealous! As a renter, I can’t plant, but I buy up heirloom tomatoes at the local farmers’ market whenever I can. That striped one looks both beautiful and tasty!!

  • March 27, 2011, 9:36 am Keely

    Oooh, the Creme Brulee one sounds fantastic. I can’t plant tomatoes, though, because we think Xander has a raw tomato allergy.

    This year I’m planting a LOT. My raspberries are finally producing fruit, I think it will be a good spring for spinach, and I’m going to do a nice big crop of potatoes in barrels this year. Plus all the usual suspects, beets, carrots, lettuce, beans. NO MORE ZUCCHINI. Perhaps a watermelon.

  • March 27, 2011, 3:51 pm Becky

    Wow, that’s a lotta tomatoes! Yum. You ladies are making me feel a bit sheepish that I don’t grow any food on our one acre lot. Or, I have tried carrots before, but they never get past the sprout stage, it seems. I was thinking about trying one of those kiddie pool gardens. Any thoughts? I would LOVE to have some summer squash.

    • March 27, 2011, 7:39 pm bethpc

      I actually cut back this year– I usually can’t help myself and buy 12 – 14 plants. I had only planned on buying 8, but when I’ve already got 6 and haven’t even made it past the Hs, I know I’m going over. I have a great homemade tomato sauce recipe, but it calls for 54 tomatoes (this is not an exaggeration, that’s the exact number it calls for), so I need a lot of tomatoes.

  • March 29, 2011, 11:20 am Scott Daigre

    Thanks so much for that terrific post! And great pics too.

    So many people work so hard to make our events work…it’s such a pleasure to find your enthusiasm here. That’s why we do it! (And because WE can’t wait to grow Creme Brullee too!!)

    Have a wonderful and successful tomato season,

    • March 30, 2011, 9:43 pm bethpc

      Whoa! I am so honored to have a comment from you, Scott! Thanks for stopping by. Tomatomania is really one of my most anticipated events of the year. Thanks for doing it!