August 30, 2015

Tomato Tasting and Garden Tour 2015

Yesterday, I took a road trip all by myself.  My BFF is in Portland and my husband isn't into tomatoes so by myself it was.  

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange is in Mineral, VA.  They hosted their 5th tomato tasting and garden tour at their farm.   The farm is only about an hour from where I live.

The tomato tasting event was from 2pm to 4pm.  I got there along with several other people at 1:54pm.  We all went right to the main house for the tomatoes.
(this picture was taken before I left,....long line)

There was cute produce, plants and flowers all about.

I went inside and immediately started going for tomatoes.  There was over 30 heirloom tomatoes.

So many to try.   loved the wild cherry toms.

Cute tomato poster.

When I went to go to another table there was a long line so I got in it.  While I was waiting, there were two nice gentlemen in front of me.  One of them stepped out of line to get some tea.  He also grabbed me some.  So nice.  :)

I finally got to the other tomato side.  My favorite tomato tasting was the anahu toms.  These were delicious.

I did not like the coyote toms at all.  BLECH  LOL

Chocolate toms.  Not bad and no they don't taste like chocolate.  LOL

More toms

There was also some watermelon.  It was yummy.

There was a table with a ton of seed garlic and perennial onions for sale.  I didn't take a picture.  There was always a long line here.

Flowers on a table.

Here's the fresh tea.  The one I had that the gentleman brought me was the lemon balm tea.  It was very nice and refreshing.  The other tea was a mixed herb tea.  It was a mix of spearmint, applemint, wild bergamot, and holy basil.  It wasn't my favorite.  I kinda tasted like licorice and I don't like licorice.


Some seeds for sale for the tomatoes we got to sample.

Books for sale.

Once I was done with my tomato tasting a nice young lady, named Irena called for a tour.  I met her out front.  I was the first one.  :)  Then a huge group of people came along.

We walked around while learning what was planted where.

Irena, picked a bunch of these from a plant.  I forget what she called them.  I think it was Bergamot.  She did say people say to make tea with the flowers of this plant but she said you should actually use this part of the plant for tea.

Irena, talking about some plants.

More veggies planted.

Lots of flowers.

Lots of corn and sunflowers.

Irena, talking about sweet potatoes that are planted here.  In the green house in the back she said there's peanuts in there.

Lots of fields with something growing.  Some are just trial gardens or seed grow-outs.

We walked around to everything.  I wore flip flops.  I should have brought my garden clogs.  LOL  I did bring my garden hat but left it in the car.  I should have worn it.  Lots of people were wearing there garden hats.

A bunch of tomatoes.  A ton of varieties.  These were only being grown to do research on them for their catalog and to take pictures for their catalog.

More plants.....Squash, huckleberries, okra and more.

In this greenhouse a bunch of things were being dried out.  Garlic mostly.

In a barn there was a lot of farm equipment.

Garden tools and buckets.

Up the stairs, Irena said there was stuff drying out.  I think she said onions but I can't remember.  (I should have had a notebook and wrote this stuff down.  There was several ppl taking notes)  There was some cute signs hanging in here too.

Close up on some of the signs.

Huge garden basket.

Another Greenhouse

Green onions

A teepee made out of bamboo for test pole beans.  I want some bamboo to make this.  haha

Do you see the beans?


Irena is telling us here about the 30 different types of peppers that are growing.  She also said if you are a smoker and you roll your own cigs then you are not allowed to go near and touch the tomatoes or the pepper plants.  You can transmit TMV, (tobacco mosaic virus) onto the plant.

These sichuan button flowers make your mouth numb for a little bit if you eat them.  They are nicknamed "toothache plant".  They are hard to come by in the United States and they are mostly only sold to high end chefs.



Tiny squash


We walked through this trellis.  There was a lot of cocozelle.  It's a type of squash and tastes just like zucchini.

More sunflowers because I love them. 

Irena answered questions for the group.

On the road you had to watch where you were walking so you didn't step in road apples.

This is probably where the road apples came from.  It's a pet cow.  :)  Irena, told us that this little guy showed up when it was two years old.  They found out it was from a neighboring farm.  The farm asked them if they wanted to keep it and they said sure so they let it just do it's own thing.  :)  It was so friendly.  We all got to pet her.

More beans

Edamame ready for harvest.


A goat

A pig

Tiny baby pig

After the tour, I went back into the main house.  I checked out the seed room.  It was air conditioned and soooooooo awesome.  OMG, shelves and shelves of seed packs.

The pictures don't show you how awesome it was.

I wanted to get some anahu tomato seeds but couldn't find any.  They might have been out.  The place was packed and the seed room was very busy with people picking out seeds.

I did buy some of the wild cherry toms I tried and liked and some of the homestead 24 toms.

I also picked up a printed sheet that has some gardening tips.

I had a lot of fun.  Everyone was so nice and it was fun seeing a farm that sells seeds as a business.  :)

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