A new world of exotic veg

Taste of the exotic: Tomato varieties, from above, Texas Wild, belowm Sunset's Red Horizon, Prize of the Trials and Jaune Flamme, bottom.
Taste of the exotic: Tomato varieties, from above, Texas Wild, belowm Sunset's Red Horizon, Prize of the Trials and Jaune Flamme, bottom.

IT’S vegetable seed choosing time and I’ve been very adventurous this year, especially with my choice of tomatoes.

For the first time in years, I’m not growing Suncherry Premium F1, or Sungold, or Gardener’s Delight.

There’s nothing wrong with these varieties at all, they taste good and I got a great crop this year.

Sometimes, you feel the need for change – and one look at Plant World Seeds catalogue left me feeling like a kid in a sweet shop.

The amount of unusual and heritage tomatoes alone are startling, in every colour, shape and texture imaginable – and the prices are very reasonable. Mine came from France, Russia and the USA.

If you go and have a look, you’ll see my choices are pretty tame!

This is what I picked:

JAUNE FLAMME (£1.85): This old French variety gives early crops of apricot-coloured, four ounce fruits the size of a golf ball or slightly larger, on elongated trusses that bear fruit continuously.

It has an explosive, intense flavour, with thick, meaty outer walls with just enough juice to provide a full-bodied, citrus-like flavour that surprises all who try it for the first time. The skin is yellow-orange skin with red-mottled flesh. Resistant to many diseases. The fruits are held in clusters of six to eight. (Indeterminate)

PRIZE OF THE TRIALS (£1.75): One of the most productive and largest cherry tomatoes, with golden fruits, the size of small apricots, with a vibrant, tangy flavour. The heavy trusses have a very high level of crack resistance. (Cordon)

SUNSET’S RED HORIZON (£1.80): From Rostov in Russia via Oregon come these very big, strong-flavoured, thin-fleshed, meaty, heart-shaped, yellow-blotched tomatoes. The plants crop heavily in the UK and are resistant to frost, blossom end rot and cracking. (Cordon)

TEXAS WILD (£1.55): A very heavy producer of small cherry tomatoes, with a distinctive, sweet caramel-like taste. Originally from Texas where it was found in the wild. (Cordon)

My other veg buys are:

PEPPER HEALTHY (£1.80); An early variety of sweet pepper, Healthy was developed in the early 1990s in Russia. The wedge-shaped fruit are about four inches long and ripen from yellow through orange to red, even during cloudy summers.

CELERY GOLDEN SELF-BLANCHING (£1.45): This favourite heirloom (1884) variety produces creamy white stalks which are tender, brittle, high quality and plentiful with a deliciously sweet, mild taste. They are easy to grow and self blanching.

My last purchase was from Thompson & Morgan – the WELSH (BUNCHING) ONION CIBOULE RED (£1.99).

This perennial heritage bunching onion is usually grown as an annual, but is fully winter hardy. It forms dense clumps of slender hollow stems that can be used as a substitute to chives. The slender elongated bulbs are similar to spring onions with a strong flavour.