Gourmet red-red tomatoes — “best tomato I’ve ever tasted”, according to one Bay Area food writer. Not a shy bearer, either, Greek Asimina churns out medium-sized tomatoes early in the season right up until frost. Fruits are round to modestly fluted, and bear in loose clusters. In cool weather or heat, Asimina retains its full-bodied flavor. Equally great as a slicer, in salads, or cooked into sauce.
Lin relates our introduction to this tomato: Several years ago, a man rushed into my Berkeley office and begged to talk to me. He asked if I had a “hot” place to plant tomato seeds as opposed to Berkeley, across the bay from Mark Twain’s “coldest winter he ever spent”–his summer in San Francisco. I do have a hot place, I told the man, whose accent got thicker the more excited he became — the interior of Mendocino County. “Perfect!” he cried, and he pressed ten seeds upon me in a tiny plastic bag along with a typed letter that announced that this rare heirloom, Greek Asimina, was Alice Waters’ favorite tomato on earth. It had to be planted in January, the man told me, or its fruit would have little taste. We don’t know if the Alice Waters story is true, but we do know that the seeds need not be planted in the dead of winter. We plant it in early April, same as our other tomatoes, and it is often one of the first to bear medium-sized, fleshy, scrumptious crimson tomatoes, full of flavor even before summer’s hottest weather arrives.
Available nowhere else that we know, Greek Asimina is a great tomato for those with epicurean tastes, which means pretty much everyone. It’s not the largest, though it might be the reddest, and it bears among the longest of all our tomatoes.
Culture: Start seeds indoors six weeks before last frost. Good soil, full sun, and they’ll appreciate caging or staking (we use the “Tennessee twist” method).