I was scouting tomato seeds last winter at a seed swap when I came across a variety called ‘Rumi Banjan.’ The package was a small coin envelope labelled only with the variety name and year the seed was saved. There was no description, so I had no idea what to expect when I took home the seeds and grew them.
Well, I was in for a real treat. This is definitely a variety that I’m going to grow again.
Like a Mini Pumpkin
‘Rumi Banjan’ tomato is small, flattened, and slightly ribbed—almost like a little pumpkin.
The top is a vibrant yellow and the bottom is a bright red-orange blush. The flesh is marbled.
Because it is tasty, very juicy, and has a thin skin, I like to slice it and serve it with bocconcini cheese and basil chiffonade. (Chiffonade is a word I picked up when Chef Barb Zabinsky taught me to make tomato-basil soup for the Soupalicious soup festival. It is just a fancy word for cutting basil into thin slices with a knife or scissors.)
Grow Your Own
‘Rumi Banjan’ is a determinate plant, which means it grows to a certain height, and then ripen all of the fruit (unlike indeterminate tomatoes which continuously grow and produce fruit until killed by frost.) I suggest supporting it with a stake, cage, or trellis.
If you’re looking for seed, one place you can look is a seed swap, which is a great way to meet other gardeners, share ideas, and share your extra seed. It’s exciting to come across an unusual treasure like ‘Rumi Banjan.’
Visit the Seeds of Diversity website [https://seeds.ca/sw8/web/events] to find a seed exchange, called a “Seedy Saturday,” near you. Maybe you’ll come home with a neat variety that you haven’t seen available anywhere else—or a neat family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation.