Meet Milan Djordjevich, who runs Stoney Paradise farm in Kelowna, British Columbia. A friend of mine recently visited Vancouver and queued up at Djordjevich's stand at the farmer's market, to try to get a taste of his famous tomatoes. He got lucky and was able to buy some before Djordjevich sold out. Were they worth the wait? Oh, yes. My friend reported: "the best tomatoes I've ever had."
In the greenhouse, he massages them regularly, running his fingers over their leafy tops to strengthen their stems. He screams in frustration when they grow too quickly and doles out encouragement when their progress pleases him. He hovers over them, cooing like an overprotective parent. "Oh, my babies. You can make me proud. We're going to make some people happy. Good work. I love you," he says with affection.
And listen to the descriptions of some of the varieties he grows:
Djordjevich hesitates to pick favourites among his heirloom tomatoes, but with some prodding, he names a few varieties. He likens eating the Valencia tomato, a gorgeous orange-coloured specimen, to the pleasure of a fragrant mango. He prizes the Cherokee Green for its sweetness and the San Marzano Redorta for its meaty texture, ideal for big batches of rich tomato sauces and pastes. The dark hues of the Black Prince are strikingly beautiful, but Djordjevich curses them when they split or the plants grow wildly.
They sound simply divine, and I can't wait to try them, the next time I'm in Vancouver! For more info and gorgeous pictures of his produce, you can also follow Djordjevich's Instagram.