Canestrino di Lucca Tomato
From our friend and grower, Dorene Pasekoff, who insisted this tomato would be an important addition to our catalog: Canestrino di Lucca is an outstanding paste tomato from the Lucca province of Tuscany. Canestrino means “little basket” in Italian and these puckered-top paste tomatoes can be stood up on their ends like baskets. Flavor and color are deep and rich and since they are dry with few seeds, they turn into sauce (or tomato paste) quickly. I had a waiting list for sauce-makers to buy this tomato at my farmers’ market – it’s that wonderful. If you want the best possible Italian-style tomato sauce, you want to grow this tomato.
Looking back further: the word for tomato comes from the Aztec word “xitomatl” or “tomatl.” Tomatoes have been cultivated as food in what is now Mexico since at least around 500 BC, and originate in western South America.
Days to maturity: 85-90
Seeds per pack: 25
Germination rate: 93% on 02/17/2023
Planting / harvesting notes
Start seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost and transplant into garden well after the danger of frost. We recommend you prune the suckers that form in the crotches of the branches by the main stem. Water tomatoes at the soil level, keeping the leaves dry. Stake tomatoes so that their leaves and branches are kept off the ground, for good airflow between plants, and for easier harvest.
Seed keeping notes
Tomatoes are generally self-pollinating, though we isolate different varieties by 35-50 feet, in hopes that flying insects will not cross pollinate them unexpectedly. Tomato seeds are ripe when the fruits are ready to eat! Cut the fruit at the equator and squeeze or scrape out seeds from each of the cavities. In a cup or bucket, add a little water (1/2" is probably plenty) to your seeds and pulp to keep them from drying out, and allow them to ferment away from direct sunlight. Ideally, you will stir the concoction every day for 3-5 days. In the end, add more water to fill the vessel, stir one final time, and allow to settle. Pour off the floating material and then strain the seeds through a strainer. Sometimes, you will need to add more water and pour off the floating material several times until the water is clear and you can see the seeds sunken at the bottom. Squeeze dry the strained seeds in a towel, and then lay out to dry on a labeled screen or paper product in a ventilated place away from direct sunlight for a week or two.