Ivory Grapes

Why white tomatoes? Aren’t they supposed to be red?  My grandmother saved the seeds of white lunaria, and fostered her white crepe myrtle. Vita Sackville-West had a white garden. Of course, white flowers which are white by default tend to be fragrant and night-blooming, in order to attract night pollinators. But white tomatoes, really? Fragrant and mysterious, looming in the gloaming?

Well, they are really sweet. Something they lack makes them subacid- a tomato term for less tart. If you have a delicate stomach, you will tolerate orange, yellow, and white tomatoes better. I have been growing Amana Orange for my mother for years; a soft orange beefsteak that is luscious, but the white beefsteak, White Beauty, eludes me. It is so sweet and tender that bugs destroy it before it ripens. One has to pick them early and let them ripen in the safety of a paper bag.  I saw a spaghetti sauce made of white tomatoes on spinach fettuccini- hideous, actually. Looked like vomit. I expect it would have been tasty though.

This year one of my son’s friends, a dear young man who visited me this spring with his beautiful young family, brought me Ivory Grape, a small pear shaped tomato (Baker Creek shows it as Ivory Pear- I’ll check my seed packets when I get around to it) which grows in clusters and looks a bit like a light bulb. It is amazingly sweet and despite being juicy, dries well and is tasty. I will probably grow it again as I have saved seed.

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