Courtesy of Coco of Coco Ranch, by Heidi Lewis
“Coco’s Little Sweet Pear” is a family-heirloom tomato grown at Coco Ranch in Solano County, California. This unique tomato was bred by Greg House for his own family’s use and is now being shared. He developed this variety especially for the sunny Solano County climate and his organic growing methods. He wanted it to have all the characteristics he values in tomatoes: high solids, high sugar, high acid, high lycopene, and a superior deep-rich, true-tomato flavor when used fresh or cooked. He has been growing Coco’s Little Sweet Pear every year now for decades; it is far and away his favorite tomato.
“CLSP” (Coco's Little Sweet Pear, for short) is a true multi-purpose tomato. Its exceptionally high solids make for quick preparation and a stability that chefs appreciate. When brought before fine restaurant chefs, it characteristically elicits, “Ah, yes—real tomatoes!” as chefs reach out to bring the fruit closer and take in the fine tomato aroma.
This Italian plum-style tomato sautés quickly for sauce. And if permitted to reduce, it makes a superior tomato paste. Sliced fresh, it holds well in salads or vegetable medleys. Perfect in a BLT sandwich or sliced and drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper. It even dehydrates well for sun-dried tomatoes.
Greg is a long-time organic farmer who is active in the organic farming movement and has volunteered countless hours promoting and protecting the National Organic Program. Greg met Coco in pomology class at the University of California at Davis where they were both studying agriculture, and he wooed her successfully with his fine cooking. Greg named his tomato after her. Later when Greg and Coco were able to purchase their own farm, Greg, and Henry, their son, named the farm “Coco Ranch” because, as Greg says, “you can’t grow good fruit without honoring the feminine.”