Monday, 18 August 2014

Yellow pear tomato

Yellow pear tomatoes are beautiful to look at and highly productive.  They are an old heirloom variety of tomato that dates back to the 1700's and it is still widely grown today.  They are reasonably common in Australia today and sometimes even appear in supermarkets.  Being so old and still being widely grown today means that this variety must have something going for it.  Each year after the season is over I kick myself for not taking photos as they are truly beautiful.
Yellow pear tomato
Yellow pear was one of the first yellow tomatoes that I ever grew back when I was a teenager, I also grew Banana legs and another one that I can't remember the name of.  Back then no one grew heirloom tomatoes and no one in my area knew that a tomato could be anything other than red.  In those days "Apollo" was new and was heralded as the best tomato variety.  Apollo did not perform well in my climate back then and in my opinion is a bland dog's breakfast of a tomato.

The year my first son was born I got some yellow pear tomato seeds.  The plants and fruit were amazing.  We have saved seed and planted them each year since then, partly out of sentiment and partly because I like this variety.
Yellow pear tomato seeds
My kids love the yellow pear tomatoes, they are sweet and delicious and the plants produce them by the bucketload.  When my second son was learning how to walk we had yellow pear tomatoes growing in a raised garden.  He used to walk around holding on to the garden edge with one hand and trying to feel for tomatoes with the other.  Now that my kids are older they gladly eat every yellow pear tomato that they can get their hands on.  If these tomatoes are put out in a bowl next to a bowl of chocolate the tomatoes are the first thing to be eaten.
Yellow Pear Tomatoes - I wish I took more pictures earlier in the season
One year we had a mouse plague, apparently it was the largest one since the 1980's.  During this plague I lost most of my tomato seeds and was left with a single precious yellow pear tomato seed.  I could easily buy more seeds if I wanted, but I have been caring for this strain since my kids were born so wanted to protect it.  I carefully grew it and saved a lot of seed that year.  That one plant survived right through two winters and proved its worth to me.  This year that plant died due to the frost.  This shows how hardy the yellow pear tomato plant is.  I assume in a frost free climate they can be grown as a short lived perennial.

The plants grow vigorously, we have had plants grow to well over 6 feet tall in the past.  We try to stake the plants as best we can, honestly I am a bit too relaxed with that kind of thing.  If you do not stake them the plants gladly root anywhere they touch the soil creating a giant patch of a tomato plant with tempting delicious fruit that is fairly inaccessible without stepping on the stems.
Yellow Pear Tomato flowers
Each plant will send up clusters of half a dozen or so flowers, these clusters will appear pretty much all over the plant.  As these tomatoes produce fruit and begin to ripen the plant will continue to grow and send up more flower clusters.  Like pretty much all tomatoes they are simple to grow from cuttings so you can increase your numbers easily even with a small number of seeds (or a single seed).

They taste rather sweet, but they do lack the rich taste of a nice paste tomato or something like that.  We mostly eat them raw in salads or out of hand while walking in the garden.  They can be cooked or turned into sauce but there are better varieties that have a deeper taste and darker colour if that is your plan.

Yellow pear tomatoes, slight variation in fruit shape
This one was a bit old so the colour is a little off
 Like many other things I grow I do sell seeds of the yellow pear tomatoes on my for sale page.  I plan to grow these each year so should have fresh seed each year.

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