Veggie Bowl

Here we are in July, officially summer and we are in full swing at the farm. 
We may still be doing some planting, mostly to spread out what is harvested when, 
but we are pretty much planted for the season.
As you know, we consciously chose to go a little tomato crazy
but who can blame us? 
The farm at Imagery Estate Winery is just a perfect spot 
and then there's you and what we know you crave.
Heirloom tomato and watermelon salad photo by Steven Krause
for Plats du Jour: the girl & the fig's Journey Through the Seasons in Wine Country
Heirloom tomatoes & mozzerella
at the girl & the fig 
 We've noticed something very interesting this year 
among the 800 tomatoes we are growing:
you can get lost in our "tomato alley"
Some of the tomato plants are shooting up so fast, from first planting day, to the next week, they were growing so tall—some of them are almost up to six fee already, 
even before the fruits are ready to be picked. Then there are others, 
that are certainly abundant, lush and healthy, but seem to be growing more slowly. 
The slower growing ones are all heirlooms and the faster growing ones 
are all the hybrids we experimented with this year. 
you can see the difference in heights of the tomato plants
Since this is our first time growing hybrids, we didn't know what to expect. 
In the past, we were purists planting only heirloom tomatoes, 
but this year, knowing we would devote so much of the farm space to tomatoes, 
we decided to give the hybrids a try. 
Executive Chef John Toulze
checks on the hybrids about 2 weeks ago
They were almost as tall as he is!
While you mostly think hybrids are a "dirty word," and only found in supermarkets, 
actually, we grew ours from seeds exactly as we did with our heirlooms. 
And for the real "tomato dirt" on the subject, check out what Tomato Dirt blog 
They are called hybrids because they combine two varieties
and you get the best qualities of both "parents."
KQED Science page shares differences between heirlooms and hybrids 
as well as busting a few myths about heirloom tomatoes—such as, 
they are not "old fashioned tomatoes," as much as they are 
varieties that have had no crossbreeding for 40 years. 
we hope to be serving these to you very soon!
Did you know that 93% of American households grow tomatoes? 
Do you? What kind?

But, as we've been saying, our veggie bowl has more than just tomatoes in it.
We are growing many varieties of squash, several cucumbers, 
beans, eggplant and peppers.
And the gift of summer is that we are now beginning to truly see
the fruits of our labors.

most of what's planted certainly has been planned.
And then, we find bountiful purslane just appearing
but our chefs get very creative with this
this purple flower will soon be an Ping Tung Eggplant
You have to look close but there are lovely padron peppers
amongst the leaves already
lemon cucumber growing in the Orchard bed

Now into our third year at the farm, we have a sense 
of what grows best where. And while we still like to experiment a bit, 
the deepening of our relationship with the farm (as well as knowing what our guests 
like to have at their tables), directs what we plant.
But it's hard not to get carried away and want to plant everything. 
We really related to a recent post by Smart Gardener
"Remember when you were a kid, and the holidays or your birthday 
rolled aroundthat excitement about looking through the catalogs 
circling the toys you just had to have
And then the excitement as the gift-receiving day got closer and closer,
 the wonderfully delicious wondering of what would be wrapped up for you? 
I think the closest thing to that hopeful anxiety is the feeling 
gardeners get as they spend the winter months pouring over seed catalogs 
and making endless lists of what they want to plant this year
and then waiting for the seeds to arrive."
Here's a rundown of what they finally decided to grow this spring and summer. 

We've shared our garden plan with you.
What are you growing in your garden?

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