Wednesday, April 1, 2009

25 Things I Love About LA #4 - Tomatomania

Last weekend was the annual Tomatomania sale at the Tapia Brothers Farm Stand in Encino. It's the fourth year Noah and I have gone and we always end up buying more plants than we have room for in our backyard container garden. And yet, we've managed to find a way...
Above are our tomato choices, twelve in all, as well as some basil. We grabbed strawberry plants later, too. A quick list of our tomatoes, from memory - Siberia, Pineapple, Reisentraube, Enchanted, Indian Moon, Bi-Color Cherry, Matt's Gold Cherry, Black Krim, Black Truffle (a hybrid of the Black Trifele, which we grew with moderate success last year), Chocolate Stripe, Copia and Costoluto Genovese. Holy crap, I can't believe I remembered them all. Okay, Noah remembered that last one.
The tomatoes they sell are like 99% heirlooms, with some old standbys like Early Girls and Best Boys thrown in for the non-adventurous. Which always confuses me - if you're at a huge, well known heirloom tomato event with hundreds of tasty varieties, why the hell do you buy the ones you can get at Home Depot?

You can see how many flats they have filled with seedlings. The picture above is about 1/5 of the entire sale area. The only variety we really wanted and couldn't find this year was Northern Lights. It's a great yellow/orange beefsteak with red stripes that was a prolific plant for us a few years back.
The farm stand only hosts the event, but sells it's own fruits, flowers and plants and is a pretty cool place. They've expanded their chicken coop (above) and you get the pleasure of listening to the chickens cluck away while you shop. It's great fun and makes me yearn for my own urban chicken coop. I love this little farm that's only 20 minutes from the heart of Hollywood
But it's not just us lucky Angelenos that get to attend Tomatomania events. The company does a variety of events in California and back east in Lothian, MD and Litchfield, CT. Dates are below. And whether you get your tomatoes there or from your local nursery or on the internet from places like Seed Savers, it's time to start looking. SPRING IS HERE!

Fillmore, CA *NEW
April 4 Only Otto and Sons Nursery
Beverly Hills, CA
April 18 PartyPaperLife
Sonoma, CA
April 25 - 26 Cornerstone Place
Arcadia, CA
May 1 - 3 LA Garden Show
Lothian, MD *NEW
May 8 - 10 Greenstreet Gardens
Litchfield, CT
May 15 - 17 White Flower Farm

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