Patiently awaiting ripe tomatoes...

We have continued pruning, staking, and transplanting our tomatoes to ensure they have room to grow, and they are absolutely covered with beautiful green tomatoes.  It seems like it is taking forever for them to ripen!  Tomatoes spend around 40-50 days growing in size as green tomatoes before they reach the stage known as "mature green".  At this point, the pigments begin to change to a lighter green and then the red, orange, pink, or yellow of the ripe fruit, depending on the variety.  The ripening process is governed by temperature and the presence of the plant hormone ethylene.  The optimal temperature range for ripening tomatoes is 68-77 degrees F., and the pigments lycopene and carotene are not produced in temperatures above 85 degrees F.  

The heat waves that seem to keep happening this summer slow down the ripening process.  Just now, we are beginning to see a few of the cherry tomatoes starting to turn red.  After the tomatoes have reached the mature green stage, they will continue to ripen when kept in the correct conditions off the vine, if necessary.  When possible, we will allow our tomatoes to ripen on the vine for the best flavor.  Look for fresh ripe tomatoes at our farm stand in the next few weeks!

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