PHOTOS: Tomatoes Kissed by Salt
PHOTOGRAPHS AND STORY BY PETER HVIZDAK / New Haven Register Farmer Jay Medlyn, a fourth-generation owner of Medlyn's Farm in Branford, loves his tomatoes. The world view is that everybody loves his tomatoes. The day we visited recently, a local chef and regular customers who frequent the farm sang praises of Medlyn's Farm tomatoes. A former electrician who followed in the family's farming footsteps, Medlyn takes pride in the ruby red jewels the he says are kissed with the flavor of salt. As one drives Route 146 along the Shoreline, Medlyn's Farm is tucked neatly between Branford and Guilford, right outside the historic fishing village of Stony Creek. His organic tomatoes are special, he says, because the water that irrigates his farm is near Long Island Sound. Medlyn uses organic fertilizers, mixed with composted leaves, wood chips from his lumbering operation and chicken manure from 500 chickens that lay eggs for his farm stand. He uses organic fertilizers because he doesn't want toxins getting into Long Island Sound. Medlyn seeds his regular greenhouse tomatoes in February and picks them between May and July. August is when love comes to fruition with his crop of organic Heirloom tomatoes. Medlyn says he has no idea what his total Heirloom tomato yield is, but knows they are grown in 800-foot rows, each with 800 plants; each plant yields approximately 25 pounds of fruit. Heirlooms are not genetically modified, and Medlyn says the clientele of area restaurants that buy his tomatoes and vegetables go head over heals for his produce, especially when paired with basil, quality mozzarella cheese and olive oil. So, next time you are in the neighborhood of Medlyn's Farm, get kissed by the flavor of salt.