This is the time of year when I typically roll out a few photographs that brag of my annual tomato harvest. I have started taking photos, but I have to say that the strange weather this season has not been good for my tomato harvest. I planted seedlings out before I left on our desert road trip and when I returned 10 days later they had not grown an inch. By July some plants had hardly grown at all and it was clear that they would never reach maturity, even if the season picked up.
For the first time ever I made the decision to pull a few plants out in order to make better use of the spaces they occupied. Fortunately, the season did pick up and all remaining plants are producing; however, my garden will not exceed 100 pounds of fruit this year. In fact, my prediction is that I will see roughly 50+ pounds of ripe fruit and a whole lot of green tomatoes.
But I digress. I didn’t set out to write about the tomato season in this post. Instead, I want to direct you to one of my personal tomato proclivities: ruffled tomatoes! I try to grow a wide range of tomatoes that vary in colour, form, shape, taste, size, and growth habit. However, I always leave room to indulge in my personal preferences. In the category of taste, I tend to favour black/brown/purple fruit. They have a richness and depth of flavour that I prefer. I enjoy growing dwarf varieties because they have the ability to produce a lot of fruit in a small, urban space. And when it comes to aesthetic appeal, I reach for ruffled fruit every time.
These beautiful fruits that resemble a rippled pumpkin or an accordion fold are known in tomato nomenclature as ruffled, ribbed, or pleated. I can’t resist them and am striving little-by-little to grow every single variety I can find. The photo at the top of this page represents most of the ruffled varieties I am growing this year, but is not representative of the many varieties I have grown over time.
About the Ruffled Tomatoes Depicted
This is not my first time growing ‘Noire de Coseboeuf,’ but this is the first year that they have turned out so small. I’m not sure what has changed, but I suspect that the seed I germinated this year may have crossed with another variety. The fruit is usually larger, more like ‘Purple Calabash’ and with deeper ribbing.
This is my first year growing ‘Constoluto Fiorentino.’ I tried to grow it last year, but accidentally gave all of my seedlings away! It was the first indeterminate fruit to ripen in 2013.
‘Zapotec Pink Pleated’ is in my top five favourite tomatoes. I grow it every year and it never disappoints. The only thing you should know is that it really needs a hot summer to do well.
I’ve grown ‘Yellow Ruffles’ a few times. It’s fairly hollow inside and is best used as a stuffing tomato. It’s doing very well this year despite a slow start.
‘Tim’s Black Ruffles’ is a cross between two of my top five tomato varieties, ‘Zapotec Pink Pleated’ and ‘Black Krim’ and was developed by Tim Munz. I’ve been growing it out ever since Tim gave me the seeds a number of years back. The first fruits were quite small but very dark, rich, and delicious. Three summers ago (when I first started growing in my current garden) I grew a plant that produced very large, exceptionally great fruit. I suspect this had to do with moving to a location where it had access to good soil nutrition and space and really warm, direct sun. I saved seed from the best of the bunch and have been growing from that batch since. Please note that the fruit depicted in this picture wasn’t fully ripe and had not yet achieved its full, dark colour.