What happened to the tomatoes?

I suppose that by now tomato lovers in the Northeast have all heard about phythophtora infestans, aka late blight. Very few field-grown, organic tomatoes survived the blight. At Brookwood, the farm that I’m working on this year, we disked in our first blighted tomato planting over a month ago. Last week we planted extra fall crops in these beds: broccoli raab, lettuce, spinach, escarole. Our second and third tomato plantings are also seriously damaged by late blight. We’ve been slow to give up on them, even though there are very few edible fruits to be found: We’ve harvested 200 to 300 pounds of tomatoes from beds that should have easily yielded thousands of pounds of lovely tomatoes.

Here are a couple of excellent farmer-authored articles that will give you the story from a grower’s perspective.

Farmer Amanda Cather, Waltham Fields Community Farm, Notes From the Field
Farmer Dan Kaplan, Brookfield Farm, Shop Talk, Week 10
Apprentice MK Wyle, Caretaker Farm, Civil Eats

Tomatoes in October

Something that hasn’t yet changed – we are still harvesting tomatoes! Not many. Last week the harvest was only 128 pounds. San Marzano and Juliet paste tomatoes apparently don’t mind the chilly temperatures as much as our heirlooms and hybrids. Next week,the tomatoes along with the other summer crops that have stopped producing (eggplant, peppers, basil) will be disked and the beds planted in winter rye.