Southern Belle, Quicksilver and I are on our way to visit a farm that mimics an old-style, integrated production farm from many years ago...except it has modern conveniences like a tractor and such.
One of Southern Belle's friends operates an "Agri-cation" destination in Southern Florida where students can experience food production and farm animals. This is a business and schools pay a fee-per-student for the privilege. Today's destination does not do that, at least not yet.
The owners graciously allowed me to invite myself and Southern Belle (and Quicksilver) to their farm. My primary responsibility will be to care for Quicksilver while Southern Belle helps with the chores.
The picture in my head is that we will all have a jolly-good-time, the farm will get an extra set of hands and there may be a cross-pollination of ideas.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch
We took our first whack at dehydrating garden produce. At 13 cents per kW-hr and a 300 Watt dehydrator, it costs 47 cents to run a batch for 12 hours.
The Sweet Aperitif are tedious to process due to there small size.
The Principe Borghese are distinctly less sweet than the SA tomatoes but about 1.25" in diameter. They really have not "turned on" with regard to production.
The Stupice is about the same size as the PB but is an earlier ripening tomato and fast to pick as the clusters with ripe tomatoes usually have three worth picking so there is less hunting around for ripe ones.
The seeds I saved from last year's Stupice were an afterthought and I was not selective in which plants I chose fruit from. It shows this year. Some fruit are big, some are smaller. Some vines are extremely vigorous with long internodes. Some are more compact. I have already tagged one plant to collect seeds from based on fruit size, form and plant habit. I want to tag one more plant later in the season.
Notable because a 1.5" diameter tomato represents about 8 times less work on a per-mass basis.