First, an apology: we wrote about our Cherokee Purple tomatoes since we hadn’t grown them before, but it turns out that the tomato we wrote about wasn’t a Cherokee Purple!

What we raved about were Brandy Boy Hybrid tomatoes from Burpee. When we wrote that post, no Cherokee purples were ripe, and we didn’t bother to check the ID tag…. sorry about that.

Anyway, this year, we grew 7 different tomato varieties and here is a review on them all:

1. Power Pop – a small to medium size cherry tomato, okay tasting, mess to grow. We will not grow this again next year, mainly because we aren’t tremendous fans of cherry tomatoes.

2. Juliet – one of our favorite grape tomatoes; we grow these every year. Perfect for everything!

3. Big Boy – we’ve grown these off and on in the past. They don’t compare to the Brandy Boys in our opinion, so Big Boys are out from now on.

4. Brandywine heirloom- seeds given to our sister from her boyfriend. Large plant susceptible to disease, okay fruit. Probably will never grow again.

5. Brandy Boy Hybrid (Burpee)- yes. Love these. Perfect for tomato sandwiches. Best flavor, very sweet. Great, non-mealy texture. Tender skins. Beautiful color inside and out. Disease-free plants and lots of fruit.

6. Cherokee Purple – some people in this house are scared to eat these for their different color. They taste very good, but in our opinion, do not taste as good as Brandy Boys.

7. Super Sauce (Burpee) – have only used these for making sauce. Shorter tomato plant than the rest that we have. Lots of very large, good-looking, meaty fruit without all the liquid and seeds you get in regular tomatoes. This is a keeper for us.

So that’s it. Our 2016 garden plan includes a lot of Brandy Boy and Super Sauce tomatoes and then we’ll try some new varieties as well. Feel free to share what your favorites are!

weatherYesterday night, we were to leave a couple of bags out for a Purple Heart collection.

We checked the weather report so that we would know if we could leave the bags out by the mailbox or on our porch under cover.

Upon checking the weather report, we saw a note at the top of the forecast that said there were supposed to be thunderstorms starting at 1:00 AM But when we looked at the hourly forecast, there was 0% chance of precipitation at 1:00 AM.

It seems like weather reports this summer have been wrong more than usual. I guess this is one way they can be right. Say it’s going to rain and also say it isn’t going to rain :)

On Monday, we left to go camping. It was a really great trip.

We went camping in Garret County, Western Maryland. Garret County, along with some other counties in Western Maryland, want to secede from the state of Maryland. We like Western Maryland much more than central Maryland and if we could move, we surely would.

Anyway, there were several state parks that we visited, but we ended up staying in Big Run State Park. There were three other places around us: Dan’s Mountain State Park, Savage River State Forest, and New Germany State Park. The area is near the Savage River Reservoir and Savage River, and as usual on camping trips, we fished quite a lot, this time in the reservoir. Also normal for us, we caught almost nothing, except for a two inch large mouth bass, a two inch brim (as far as we could tell) and a five inch catfish… which was a little weird.

While we fished, we noticed these little lizard things in the water. I think they were tadpoles, and they were nice to look at while we sat. Our dad actually caught one of those while bottom fishing. Luckily, he survived when he was released.

So obviously, we didn’t get to keep any fish, but that was fine, I guess. It was a nice place to go fishing, anyway.

One nice thing about this place is that there are hardly any people around. The area is not built up, the towns are really tiny, and they didn’t have any plumbing in the bathhouse (lower comfort station, as they called it). Mostly I think what was repelling people was the lack of phone service. Where we were, it was at least 15 minutes to an area with phone service, which is really cool to us. So there was absolutely nobody near us. That made the trip at least 52 and 7/19 percent better. Our visit was very peaceful and quiet.

Since there were a lot of state parks around us, there were plenty of hiking trails. We did hike a bit, and we also went on a snowmobile trail, which was a little less nice than the others. Overall, there are some very nice trails around Garret County.

Last but not least were the nights. As always, we made fires and roasted marshmallows and had some nice cookies (as Dink put it, camping brings out the health freak in us).

We had some heavy rains while there as well. Our tent held up surprisingly well, but we did get some bad leaking eventually, and we had to empty the tent because everything was wet, including our clothes; we had extras, thank goodness!

We also got to practice starting our fires with our flint and steel. We had dandelion fluff, wood shavings, and a cotton ball smeared with petroleum jelly, and in under a minute, I had a fire started, which was really, really surprising. The flint striker I have is really good; it is the Light my Fire one that we’ve reviewed in the past. That’s probably why I could start a fire so quickly, along with the petroleum jelly and copious amounts of tinder.

At Dan’s Mountain State Park we went swimming in their very clean outdoor pool with very relaxed lifeguards who never once blew an obnoxious whistle or hollered at someone to stop something. The fee for the pool was $4 per person. It was pretty large, with a nice fun water slide which we probably went down half a million times. A pool is really nice to have while camping, since you can cool off on a very hot day.

Next to the pool was a recycled tire playground. We played like children :)

This whole area is a very nice place to go camping, and New Germany State Park also has cabins and houses which you can rent. We had a fantastic time, and I think from now on we’ll be going to this area to camp rather than our old haunts.

Goodbye, Susquehanna and Catoctin! You have served us well, but we’re moving on.

Gone Camping!!

Posted: July 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

See you in a few days :)

Last year one of my sister’s friends gave her Cherokee Purple tomato seeds. Originally we weren’t going to try them, but we actually read some good things about them so we planted a few. We just started getting them, and they have such a nice flavor that we plan to grow these every year that we can.

Right now, we’re picking them while the outsides are only slightly purplish, but I think if you let them ripen longer they get purple on the inside too (?) I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Anyway, recently we got a Cherokee purple tomato that was a little bit deformed. It looked like two tomatoes had grown close to each other and kind of fused into one very, very large tomato. I even got a scale and measured it; it was one pound and thirteen ounces!

On an aside, we also found a seasoned tomato sauce recipe that we really like straight out of the Ball Blue Book. We save our Cherokee purples exclusively for eating, but all other types of surplus tomatoes are going into sauces and salsa for the winter. Regular tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, BBQ sauce, chili sauce, red hot sauce… you get the picture. Did we mention we were growing 50 tomato plants?

Both of our parents have been very busy with home things but Dink slipped in a couple of fishing trips and we are finally going on our camping trip on Monday!!!

Anyway, if you’ve never tried to grow Cherokee purple tomatoes and are looking for a change next season, we suggest you give these a try because true to popular belief, these tomatoes really do have a great flavor!