Tomatillo & Ground Cherry
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Ground Cherry, Otto’s Brush Creek (Organic)$3.25–$18.00
These are one of our favorite things to snack on while walking through the garden. Little, golden husked fruits look like tiny tomatillos but have a deliciously fruity tropical flavor. Some compare them to peaches, others to pineapple. We have been told that you can make a delicious preserve out of them. We simply wait for them to fall off the plant when we’re sure they are ripe and eat them. Ground cherries have a long history in the garden and we found this strain growing semi-wild in our backyard, one of many interesting things that came along with the property when we moved here in 2009 (a list that also includes our beloved cat Meowstein, a 1930s dump truck in the creek, an opossum hide in the barn, and some awesome wallpaper in the kitchen). We suspect it’s been here for decades, as the farm’s previous owner, Otto Shockey, was an avid gardener. Every year a few plants pop up and take care of themselves. If you like a little wild character in your garden, these are perfect to have self-perpetuating along side the borage, arugula, burdock, scorzonera, and mustard.
Tomatillo, Cisineros (Organic)$3.25–$18.00
Physalis philadelphica. 75 days.
A large, green tomatillo, similar to Plaza Latina Giant Green but a little earlier to mature and not quite as big. Fruit are 2½” wide and a great choice for market farmers and gardeners. Under-ripe fruit are apple-green and a nice tart addition to salsas, but we also like sweetness that comes with yellow-green ripe fruit. Sprawling plants benefit from a trellis, but will crawl around on the ground happily. Remember to always have more than one tomatillo plant in your garden, as they are usually self-sterile.
Tomatillo, Plaza Latina Giant Green (Organic)$3.25–$18.00
Physalis philadelphica. 80 days.
Tomatillos are often called tomates verdes. This special giant Mexican strain produces 3-4” wide, green fruits on super tall plants that benefit from support. Seed originally saved from imported Mexican fruit purchased at the Plaza Latina Market in Eugene, Oregon, in 2005. Much higher culinary value than the smaller yellowish varieties. We like to think of them as the Brandywine of tomatillos.
Tomatillo, Purple Keepers Modern Landrace (Organic)$3.25–$18.00
Physalis philadelphica. 70 days.
This is our effort to breed a medium-sized purple tomatillo that stores for a very long time off the vine. Shades range from a slight purple blush on green, to deep purple all through the fruit. Purple tomatillos have a more complex flavor than green ones. They are reputed to keep well already and we are trying to improve on this. A landrace is a variety that has been purposely maintained as a diverse gene pool to help it be more adaptive to harsh conditions. We like this old form of plant breeding, so we are using it to create a modern landrace.