Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thirteenth Annual Tomato-Tasting and Cider-Pressing Party by Duane Davidson

Guests tasted and rated more than 25 varieties of tomatoes at Char and Tom Gottlieb's 13th annual tomato-tasting and cider-pressing party the other weekend.  Char, a Jefferson County CSU Extension Master Gardener, grew most of the tomatoes evaluated, but several guests brought samples of their favorites, too.

They included heirloom and other large-sized red, yellow, and green tomatoes; cherry-size and other salad tomatoes; and the meaty paste (Italian-style) tomatoes. Everyone was invited to rate the tomatoes' tastiness on a scale of 1 - 5, with 5 being "great" and 1, "awful." After ratings were totaled and averaged, Sun Gold, a prolific yellow cherry tomato, came out on top. Almost everyone gave it a "5." Following just behind, all with an average above "4," were Italian Sweet, a red beefsteak-type, Pruden's Purple, a pink-purple heirloom beefsteak; and Persimmon, a yellow heirloom beefsteak.

Guests who grow apples were asked to bring some for the cider-pressing, which Tom oversaw. They brought what amounted to several bushels full, so the cider press operated non-stop for several hours, with a number of the guests taking a turn turning the apple grinder or twisting the press that squeezed out the juice. There were tastes of cider for everyone, plus extra to carry back home.

Multiple wheelbarrow loads of spent apple pulp enriched the Gottlieb compost pile.
Hosts Char and Tom Gottlieb

The sunny Saturday afternoon event brought Master Gardeners, family friends, and neighbors to Char and Tom's Arvada farmhouse. Some were participating for the first time. Others were veterans who look forward to this annual celebration of bounties from the garden. They gathered at afternoon's end on the front lawn for a potluck supper. The chill in the air at sunset reminded of fall's approach and the end of another growing season.