Maybe Al Gore is right ... around here in the Upper South, the folk saying has always been "Plant your tomatoes on Derby Day (first Saturday in May), start harvesting them on the Fourth of July." In practice, we've found this rule of thumb a little optimistic, and our tomatoes generally start bearing ripe fruit around mid-July.
Not this year!
<img src="http://www.wineloverspage.com/graphics1/beefsteak.jpg" border="1">
It was so warm in April that we risked planting around the third week of the month, taking the slight risk of loss if there had been an unusually late frost. (In fact, there was not.) Since then we've had a mostly mild-to-cool and rainy season, which you would't expect to hasten ripeness. But this morning Mary went out to the garden, and to our amazed surprise, we found this beauty hanging there, just betting to be turned into the season's first BLT. On June 17!
Wherever you are in the world, how are your tomatoes doing? Is anyone else in the US seeing signs of a record-breaking early season?
This is an heirloom beefsteak variety called "Mortgage Lifter
," by the way; we purchased the plant from a Southern Indiana farmer at Louisville's Bardstown Road Farmer's Market in April. This baby is BIG - roughly 5 inches by 3 1/2 inches by 3 inches at its broadest points, and weighing in at just under 14 ounces, almost a full pound.