Monday, August 3, 2015

Jersey Tomatoes

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you had a great weekend! The weather here was hot and humid and we spent much of the time tending to the vegetable garden. I know I've had a lot of posts about the various gardens and plants in our yard lately, but I just can't seem to help myself. After all, when I started this blog almost a year ago, my goals were to focus on finding the joy and inspiration that each season of the year, as well as each season of life can bring. The summer weather and lush greenery are beckoning me outdoors, and I want to share the fun and pretty surprises that keep popping up all over our yard with you. I promise that I do have some craft and DIY posts coming up though. However, today I want to focus on a delicious topic...Jersey tomatoes. 

Given its location, New Jersey is often thought of as a neighbor to New York City and all that Manhattan has to offer, but our fair state has a lot to be proud of in its own right. Of course, at this time of year, images of the Jersey shore are what come to mind for most people, and it is not uncommon to hear the songs of New Jersey natives Bruce Springsteen or JonBon Jovi  blaring from cars as everyone drives down the Parkway to a favorite shore town.
While it is true that our state has 130 miles of coastline spanning from Sandy Hook to Cape May, the nickname for New Jersey is "The Garden State". According to the official web site for the state of NJ, Abraham Browning of Camden is credited for giving the state the nickname when he spoke at the Philadelphia Centennial exhibition in 1876. He reportedly said that "Our Garden State is an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvania grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other." The name stuck ever since. While New Jersey ranks 5th in blueberry production and 3rd in cranberry production according to the state website, we are also well known for our fresh "Jersey tomatoes". Whether it is the climate in our area or the soil in our region, the conditions seem to be perfect for helping our backyard garden live up to the infamous nickname by producing a large amount of luscious summer Jersey tomatoes.
This year my husband planted 3 types of tomatoes from seed...4th of July, brandywine, and beefsteak. Like the name implies, the 4th of July plants produced the earliest tomatoes, and this year, it seems like the brandywine plants are producing the largest ones. We had more plants than we could fit in our backyard garden, and my husband just couldn't stand the thought of wasting any of them. So, in addition to what went in the garden, he filled every spare container and bucket he could find with the leftover seedlings and kept them on our deck.The plants didn't seem to mind the containers and they grew and grew and grew...
 They are thriving, and this weekend we counted well over 30 tomatoes on 3 different plants!
When we ran out of containers to put the leftover seedlings in, Dave got really creative and decided to plant one in an old tree stump in another area of the yard...
That plant seems to like its unique location as well...

In addition to producing large sized tomatoes, the brandywine seedlings  in the garden grew into some rather tall plants. My daughter Pam agreed to stand near some of them so you can get a perspective of just how tall they are. She is about 5'4", and you can clearly see just how far they tower above her...
Of course, the height of the plant means nothing if it doesn't produce, but these plants are producing. Some plants have MANY smaller size tomatoes...
While other plants have less volume but larger tomatoes. This is a photo of a tomato next to Pam's hand so you can get an idea of just how large it is growing...
However, tomatoes are not the only thing our garden is producing abundantly, but since this post is already quite long, we'll save that discussion and a fun recipe for later this week.


  1. Dorene,
    Holy Moly!! Those are big tomato vines!! I do not have the room to plant veggies and I really can not eat much fo them either. An Amish farmer sets up down the road at a mMini Market every Friday. If you go when he is packing up, he charges $10 for all you can put in a bag. Joe got 6 huge tomatoes, 4 ears of corn, 4 peppers, 2 zucchinis and some peaches!!! It is quite a large bag!! I am at work and will write more later...


    1. Hi Deb,
      Yes, the tomato vines are growing like crazy this year! They have actually caused a few of the 6 foot wooden stakes to break because they have gotten so tall and top heavy, but we are not complaining. Just as Dave found creative places to plant the extra seedlings, he came up with some very "creative" ways to re-stake the plants.Sounds like Joe got a great deal from the Amish farmer. If we lived closer I'd bring some of our extras over from him as we have had an abundant amount to share with friends, neighbors and co workers this year! Hope you are enjoying every minute of your new part time status.

  2. Hi, I'm popping over from The Enchanting Rose. I enjoyed reading your post. My tomato plants didn't do well this year for some reason. I'm one of your newest followers and look forward to your posts. Heather

    1. Hi Heather, Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment...I really appreciate that you will be following future posts as well. While our tomato plants have done well this year, it has been an "odd" season too. We our getting tons of smaller tomatoes and much less of the larger sized ones, and that seems to be the common theme among all of the varieties we planted. We're not complaining though as the smaller ones are just as juicy and taste just as magnificent as the larger ones. We've had plenty to share with co workers, neighbors and friends so it's been a successful gardening season as far as the tomatoes are concerned. Our butternut squash and zucchini plants are not producing as much as usual though.

  3. 🎶 Why don't they sing about Jersey, where the big fat tomatoes grow? 🎶
    Every year I try to get a good crop of tomatoes and every year I'm disappointed. It's almost always the ground hogs that ruin it for me. They dig under the fence and reek their havoc. but I guess that's what comes from living in the Pines. I would love to grow enough to make all my own sauce. I grow only heirlooms. Ah well. There's always next year!

    1. Hi Judy...I can relate as we've been plagued by ground hog issues over the years as well. They can be a real nuisance up here in the northwest part of the state too. In fact, last year I wrote a post that featured an edible sculpture that m son made to put on his girlfriend's father's birthday cake. The sculpture was made out of Rice Krispie treats an was meant to be a joke, as ground hogs destroy his yard and gardens annually.
      I keep saying that I would love to learn to make my own sauce when the tomatoes are this plentiful, but I haven't ventured into home canning yet....maybe someday. It just sounds a little intimidating to me,
      Thanks for taking the time to comment....nice to hear from a fellow Jersey girl that understands the nice things our state has to offer rather than just the mosquitoes (although. I must admit, I do have quite a few mosquito bites at the moment...oh well, the good with the bad right).

    2. Oops ...sorry for all the typos in the reply above...that is what I get for rushing to hit publish before proof reading.

  4. Another Jersey blogger - yay! I share your love for Jersey tomatoes! You have quite a crop there. I have one little plant!

  5. Hi Amy...yes, have to love those Jersey tomatoes! Thanks for stopping by and saying hello!