The Wolfpeach or pomme d’ amour is probably the most well known vegetable, and the reason I believe for the rise of heirloom vegetables in general. Most people that grew up in the 60’s and 70’s and before, can remember either their Ouma’s or Mothers homegrown tomatoes, ones that had real flavor and texture. Not like what’s offered at the supermarket nowadays. We only get pale pink washed out mealy gritty tasteless pathetic excuses for a tomato. (Sorry I get carried away)
However, if one has ever eaten a tomato straight from the vine you know exactly what I’m talking about, even regular hybrid tomatoes taste better straight off the vine, but it’s when you grow your own heirloom tomatoes that you really get an education in flavor. The colours are more intense, the texture is superb, but it’s the flavors that will keep you coming back for more. Every tomato variety has their strong and weak points, heirlooms as well, but it’s the heirlooms that set the standard. You will never look at a tomato the same way again once you have been educated with the flavor of a Brandywine, Carbon, Amish Paste, Cherokee Purple or Black Krim. Even the names have a ring and a unique vibe.
Once you have had a season of eating your own tomatoes, trying to eat a supermarket tomato is going to be a challenge. I often leave tomatoes on my plate when I eat out, as I cannot face swallowing that pathetic excuse for a tomato, it’s just not right!
Apart from being the most requested vegetable seed on my site, tomatoes have a very interesting history. Originally from the mountains of Peru, the tomato first spread from the America’s via the Spanish conquistadores and became firmly entrenched into European cooking. When it was taken to North America, people believed that it was poisonous and thought that your blood would turn to acid if you ate one, this is less than 200 years ago mind you. There is a famous tale of Colonel Robert Johnson, who in an effort to prove that they were not poisonous sat down on the steps of his local Town Hall with a basket of tomatoes. People gathered from far and wide to watch this man die by his own hand…. they were disappointed.
The original tomatoes are thought to have been small cherry type tomatoes with either a yellow or green fruit. The genetic diversity that was inherent in the plant came out under different cultivation methods and different climates, giving us the astounding variety that we know today, with over 7000 named tomato varieties.
So from scorn and obscurity, the tomato has risen to become the preeminent redeemer of the humble heirloom vegetable. It has lead the way for all home gardeners who have an interest in growing their own foods, to explore the variety and unique flavors that other heirloom crops can provide for their families. At the same time, they are able to provide GMO and patent free foods to their families.
For those of you wondering where the name Wolfpeach comes from, Lycopersicon esculentum is the scientific name for the Tomato. The name Lycopersicon was derived from wolfpfirsich (Wolf Peach) which is what tomatoes were originally called in Germany, the person who created the taxa, Joseph de Tournefort (a Frenchman) did not help the case of the tomato in the early 1800’s so eventually esculentumwas added to the name. Literally translated this gives the Tomato the name of edible wolf peach.
Those of you looking to add to your seed collection cannot go wrong with a heirloom tomato or two, or selection is limited at this point, however we are busy expanding our supply with over 20 new varieties that we are sure will cater for most tastes.