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Amy Goldman’s American Italian Tomato

Amy Goldman found this tomato in Italy at a roadside stand and took the seeds home. I read about this in 2011 in a book that Ms. Goldman published called Heirloom Tomatoes. After several season she decided that it was one of the better and more versatile tomatoes she had grown. The picture in her book showed the tomato which looked like a great big Chocolate chip with heavy ribbing. My experiences below are from the 2012 growing season.

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I ordered some seed which were about ten cents apiece and grew them for both personal use and for the garden I work with at Urban Ministries in Charlotte NC. I planted several at my personal garden and they did really well. I tend to pick them before they are completely ripe to keep the birds away from them. I have taste tested tomatoes before by comparing a really vine ripened one to one that has been on the counter at home for several days. In the case that I did that it was with a Cherokee Purple and later with a Better Boy. I can not tell the difference. If they are picked too early, often the seeds do not mature.

GAIT (Goldman’s American Italian Tomato) develops a very intense deep red when it is fully ripe and has very few seeds. It almost looks like a bell pepper when one opens it but it is very meaty. It is excellent in Gazpachio because it makes firm deep red chunks. We have used it in Lettuce and Tomato Sandwiches and it is quite good. GAIT is not as acidic as Cherokee Purple but produces more fruit. The season is not over yet so I don’t know how long it will produce in the fall.

I have not tried canning or making paste, but it appears to me it would do exceptionally well. Ms. Goldman indicates that it is a good paste tomato. There is a lot more meat in a GAIT than in a Roma and also they are generally much bigger than a Roma.

We planted about six plants at the Urban Ministries Garden and they did not do well. The plants developed blossom end rot and just did not perform. Most of them also lost lower leaves and were eventually pulled out. Since the soil is extremely good at the Urban Ministries Garden, I can only think that the way the plants were watered had something to do with the poor performance. In my personal garden, I water deeply about once a week.

 

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