Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2007
Well, there is no denying why I bought these tomato seeds. We are at war with… no… in… no… around… Aw hell, I don’t know. Some kind of badness is going on in Iraq and it has a cousin and a few friends wrapped up in it. Not to mention a whole darn country that has not seen a good period of peace since shortly after the times when it’s capital was the mecca of learning and trade. I do feel for the Iraqis. Most of them just want to live their lives and the every day fact of war works against the whole living part of that equation. And no matter how you slice it, for good or bad, we Americans are contributing to it. It may sound silly, but since there is nothing I can do to help those people, I thought the least I could do was try their tomatoes.
The seller claimed that these tomatoes were endangered due to the fact that Iraqi farmers are not allowed to buy any seeds but the seeds sold by American companies. So maybe that is the way it is and maybe it is not. I honestly don’t know if tat is true. It could be either way. But what ever it is, the story makes for something intriguing to tell.
The description from the company I bought it from reads:
Medium-sized fruit are finely flavored; good yields, too. This variety is endangered even in its own country, where saving seeds was made illegal under the “Colonial Powers” of the United States. Under the new law, Iraqi farmers must only plant seeds from “protected varieties” from international corporations. Is this our unique way of making democracy?
Just a side note, but this seed is no longer sold at this company.
The Beauty Pageant:
Size: Medium size. A bit smaller than a baseball. (forgot to put the quarter in the pic)
Shape: Round but not store bought round. Just a little too squat to be perfect. You will also notice in the picture that they are cracked. The had started to crack even before the torrential rain we got this past week. These do not resist cracking at all.
The inside: This is a sloppy tomato. Juicy and runny gel. The seeds are on the large side. The walls are of a medium thickness and literally fall away from the gel and seeds when cut.
Texture: Just a tad mealy. Not terrible, but not as smooth as it could be. The large seeds do get lodged in my back teeth.
Off the Vine Tasting: This is not a stand out tomato but having said that, it is not a bad tomato. The meat is a little on the sweet side and the gel is a bit on the tangy side and then you just have tomato flavor. Definitely better than store bought but this tomato will not win any awards.
Sliced and Salted Tasting: Much sweeter with salt. Not much changes except for that.
Cooking Thoughts: This would be dead easy to deseed and the sweet flavor is nice for a sauce. This is not a sandwich tomato or a side dish tomato. It just falls apart too easy.
As mentioned, this tomato seems highly susceptible to cracking. This is not surprising since Iraq is mostly hot and dry and this would not be a concern in that environment. Pretty healthy plant. Medium size. Not overly prolific yet but it has produced a decent amount of tomatoes.
Will Hanna grow this one again:
Probably not. Cool back story, I will give it that but if I didn’t know this was an Iraqi tomato, I would not be impressed.
Patrick over at Bifurcated Carrots wrote a rather moving piece on Iraq, heirloom vegetable and modern governement. If you have a moment, you really should take the time to read it.