Chipped tomatoes

My love affair with the tomatoes I encountered in France has spurred me on to grow some more at home. I already have four different varieties bravely producing flowers and tiny fruits: Costoluto Fiorentino, Tigerella, Cherry Red and San Marzano. Here are some of them growing valiantly in a raised bed (the wire baskets and the oak leaves are to keep the cat off).

And here is a tiny Tigerella fruit:

I had a bit of space in a raised bed from clearing away the last of the broad beans, so couldn’t resist buying some chipped* tomatoes at the local Homebase – four plants for about £4.50, a little the worse for wear but probably able to recover in time to produce a decent crop.

A ‘chipped’ tomato is one that is being sold off as past its best. The term comes from a reminiscence group which I ran many many years ago. I talked to older women (probably not much older than I am now) about their memories of growing up in 1930s Edinburgh. They would get ‘chipped’ eggs from the grocers. They used the term ‘chipped’ then to describe chipped bread (slightly stale), chipped vegetables (past their best) etc. Since then the term ‘chipped’ has become part of my family vocabulary to describe anything bought on the reduced shelves of supermarkets and garden centres. Not to be confused with ‘herbal bread’ which became a family term for mouldy bread after I once tasted some and thought it tasted a bit ‘herbal’.

Anyway there are four varieties of chipped tomato: Big Boy, Shirley, Indigo Blue Berries and Golden Sunrise. I’m looking forward to see what they produce. Here they are in their new home in the broad bean bed (with one broad bean still remaining as it looked as if it might yet produce more beans).

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