Seed saving is an art, as well as a science. Even the best of us with the easiest of vegetables sometimes make mistakes.
Pruden’s Purple is my favorite beefsteak tomato. Even though it’s not a particularly rare tomato, I wanted to be able to save seed and add it to the farm’s rotation. Tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to save seed from, so I asked a trusted friend for seed and planted what I was given.
Probably, I should have dumped any seedling that didn’t have a potato leaf into the compost pile. But my curiosity got the better of me, so even though I suspected the seed had crossed, I planted the healthiest of the plants I had and waited to see what would ripen.
Half of my plants are true Pruden’s Purple beefsteak tomatoes. The other half are. . . Prudenettes! Pink cherry tomatoes that have a fantastic beefsteak flavor, but are far, far smaller than a Pruden’s Purple should be.
Cute and tasty as they are, the Prudenettes will only be available for this season. The world really doesn’t need another cherry tomato (it does need more open-pollinated slicers and beefsteaks with disease resistance and heavy bearing!). If they were awful, I’d have ripped out the plants and composted them, but having a cherry tomato in one’s rotation is always good — at the least, they can be donated to a local food bank as an “entry vegetable” to get small children to eat fresh foods. At best (and these really are the best flavored of cherry tomatoes), they can be offered for purchase and will garnish our meals until frost.
Enjoy the 2014 Prudenettes!