Saturday, August 6, 2011

Finally the Momotaro ripens

This is one of my favorite tomatoes, the Momotaro. I grow it even though it is a hybrid, as opposed to an heirloom tomato, so I must grow it from seed I buy. My source is Kitazawa Seeds, a wonderful Oakland based seed company specializing in Asian plants.  I've been told I could use the seeds from the second generation tomato by a local grower but I'd rather not chance it. While the Momotaro is technically not considered a cool weather tolerant tomato, I still find it grows okay though not great here, one block from the beach. I bet it would probably grow better in a warmer area, such as more inland, but I do get a few tomatoes that look like this. Momotaro is a low acidity tomato with a beautiful pinkish hue.
There is a Japanese folk tale associated with the name Momotaro. It is about a boy who arrives inside a large peach.  Certainly the Momotaro tomato does resemble a large peach. The boy is a gift who brightens the lives of an elderly childless couple. One day, the boy, named Momotaro or peach boy, decides he must go on his journey, much like the hero's journey that Joseph Campbell wrote of, to face the ogres somewhere far away. Along the way, Momotaro finds helpers: the pheasant, the dog, and the monkey. When they reach the ogres, they work together to defeat the ogres. The ogres give up their treasure of gold to Momotaro. Momotaro returns home to his parents with the gold. Now they can live happily ever after.

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