More than 70 tomato varieties filled Poly Plant Shop in Environmental Horticultural Science (building 48) Saturday and Sunday. Cultivated by a team of six students, Tomato Mania celebrated its 15th year and largest harvest yet.
The agricultural and environmental plant science students spent two quarters growing the tomatoes that sold at $6 per plant. The students grew more than 5,000 tomato plants from the seed, which home gardeners can plant to produce tomatoes through the summer.
During the first day, the Poly Plant Shop sold about 3,000 plants and within two hours sold out of Murray Smith and Early Doll. Agricultural and environmental plant sciences junior William Samson said this year’s sale brought the most attendees.
Best of the bunches
Tomatoes can be used for a variety of dishes. Some are better for burgers than for sauces, some need to be bite-sized for snacking. Of the 73 different tomatoes being sold, these are what the team recommends:
Best for burgers and sandwiches: Murray Smith tomatoes are grown specifically for the San Luis Obispo climate. A full-size tomato, these are the perfect size for slices on a burger.
Best for pasta sauce: Alaskan Fancy tomatoes are juicy, which makes them excellent for adding flavor to pasta sauces.
Best for snacking: Jelly Bean Red Hybrid tomatoes are small in size, but big in flavor. Up to 30 of these tomatoes can come from one plant, making it hard to stop popping them into your mouth once you’ve had one.
Best for being unique: Kellogg’s Breakfast are unique because of their size, color and flavor. Weighing up to 32 ounces, these tomatoes are orange in color and have a good mixture of solid and gel texture for the perfect bite.
Didn’t make it to Tomato Mania? Here are some recipes that can be made with tomatoes from the grocery store:
Seasoning (Italian recommended)
Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the Skyreacher tomato horizontally and scoop out the insides, placing them in a bowl. Combine seasoning and breadcrumbs with the tomato innards. Put the hollow tomato halves on a baking sheet and fill with the mixture. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top and drizzle with olive oil. Place in the oven for 30 minutes, until the top of the tomatoes are lightly toasted.
Fresh buffalo mozzarella
Salt and pepper
Instructions: Slice 1/4-inch thick pieces of Brandywine tomato to be arranged on a plate. Alternate mozzarella and basil leaves between tomato slices. Lightly season with salt and pepper and drizzle balsamic vinaigrette over the top.
1/2 Wins All tomato
1/4 white onion
1/2 tomato-vegetable cocktail juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions: In a food processor or blender, puree the tomato and onion. Then transfer the mixture to a small saucepan. Stir in vegetable juice. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
To see the complete catalog of tomatoes at Tomato Mania, click here.