Each year we grow new varieties of vegetables in small quantities to see if they are varieties we want to include in future years. We keep good records so we don’t have to rely on our memory. This year Johnny’s Selected Seeds, a high quality seed company with whom we have a long standing relationship, asked us if we would participate in tomato and lettuce trials. As a seed company, they develop new varieties of vegetables. These varieties are grown out on their farm in Maine but they also want to see how they perform in the Midwest, where many of their customers are. So we planted nine different varieties of cherry tomatoes for them. Each variety was carefully labeled with a red flag and when harvest began we kept each variety separate in a plastic clam shell container. On Tuesday of this week, the Johnny’s team came to the farm to see the tomato trials. Two breeders and two sales reps. A very fun and interesting morning. The following pictures tell the story.

Ken (our sales rep) and Emily (the tomato and lettuce breeder) looking at their notes as they begin comparing each variety.

Ken (our sales rep) and Emily (the tomato and lettuce breeder) looking at their notes as they begin comparing each variety.

Emily taking notes while we are in the thick of the trial tomatoes. Luke (a sales rep) and Ken look on.

Emily taking notes while we are in the thick of the trial tomatoes. Luke (a sales rep) and Ken look on.

We have now moved into a different area of the field where we repeated the trial. It is important to have two repetitions of the same trial. Let the tasting begin. Emily offers one of the varieties to John, another breeder.

We have now moved into a different area of the field where we repeated the trial. It is important to have two repetitions of the same trial. Let the tasting begin. Emily offers one of the varieties to John, another breeder.

Emily, with the help of Luke, begin to organize our five harvests of the nine varieties of tomatoes. She will be looking at shape, color, consistency and flavor.

Emily, with the help of Luke, begin to organize our five harvests of the nine varieties of tomatoes. She will be looking at shape, color, consistency and flavor.

As we were looking at the tomatoes, the farm crew came in for lunch. Emily (who by the way was an employee on our farm several years ago, before getting her awesome job at Johnny’s) captivates them as she explains what she is looking for and observing.

As we were looking at the tomatoes, the farm crew came in for lunch. Emily (who by the way was an employee on our farm several years ago, before getting her awesome job at Johnny’s) captivates them as she explains what she is looking for and observing.

Then the Johnny’s team join us for a delicious lunch prepared by Cook Becky Perkins (in the blue tank top). She prepares lunch for us three days a week in our barn kitchen.

Then the Johnny’s team join us for a delicious lunch prepared by Cook Becky Perkins (in the blue tank top). She prepares lunch for us three days a week in our barn kitchen.

After lunch we continue with more tasting. Note the corn chips. They are the palate cleanser between each variety.

After lunch we continue with more tasting. Note the corn chips. They are the palate cleanser between each variety.

Although these tomato varieties are still being developed by Johnny’s Selected Seeds, you will be receiving them in your cherry tomato bags.

Barb