While we’re very passionate about sharing the food we grow—primarily through Barn8 Restaurant—we’re also happy to share it before it’s been cooked, such as through our plant sales! Our first plant sale of the year is all about tomatoes, and we sat down with Hermitage Farm’s Horticulture Director, Stephanie Tittle, to find out what guests can expect from this special, one-day-only event. Here’s some of what we learned!
Our tomato plant sale will be held on Saturday April 30th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The sale will be set up just outside of Barn8 Restaurant come rain or shine. Available in over 40 different varieties, the tomato plants will encompass everything from cherry tomatoes, beef steak tomatoes, slicing tomatoes, paste tomatoes, and low acid tomatoes—with colors ranging from red, orange, and yellow to green, black, or white.
When we asked why the plant sale was held so late in the month, Stephanie explained to us that the state of Kentucky is located in Heat Zone 6, which means we can have frost as far as the month of May. Our horticulture team waited to have the sale to allow greater success for our guests when they go to plant the tomatoes either in their gardens—or containers, for those without gardens. “We wanted them to be able to plant their tomatoes in soil with the proper temperature,” Stephanie explained. “If planted too soon, they would be damaged by frost.” For reference, the last average frost date for the city of Goshen is May 10th, while for the city of Louisville, it’s as late as May 20th.
Our tomato plants are grown from seed planted in our propagation greenhouse. They are then transplanted into containers, which will then be displayed at the sale. They’ve also been fed with an organic fertilizer and are 100% pesticide free. The majority of plants for sale will grow what are called indeterminate tomatoes. This means that instead of producing tomatoes only once, which generally ripen at the same time, the plants will produce tomatoes continuously—up until the first frost usually sometime in September.
Stephanie was also happy to share a tomato fun fact with us. The little hairs on the stems of tomatoes are called trichomes. The deeper the plant is put in the ground, the more of these trichomes will root in the soil, and the greater the root system of the overall plant will be. This applies to those planted in gardens or individual containers as well. Our horticulture staff will be available during the sale to answer questions and give tips on these various planting methods, and though we’ll certainly have more plants for sale later this year, we hope you’ll come out to join us for the year’s first—and pick out whichever tomatoes are best suited for your own gardens and preferences!