Geoff McCabe

Goldenberries or Tomatillo?

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Costa Rica Goldenberries

We discovered these “Goldenberries”, which are considered to be a superfood, growing wild on the farm, and have been able to save the seeds so we can grow more. Later, after researching on the internet, I found that actually they’re not goldenberries, but in fact Wild Tomatillos.

Tomatillo (native/wild species)We planted the seeds and they grew like crazy, rapidly producing large plants with hundreds of berries on each. These are a local weed, so grow wild without any human help in marginal soil, so when you give them better soil and good growing conditions, they really grow like crazy.

Simultaneously, we planted seeds from domesticated goldenberries, known as Uchuva in Spanish. These grew much slower, and we found that nearly all of them had worms inside them (while the local tomatillo ), plus there were far fewer of them on the plants. They are larger, more orange, and quite a bit sweeter. They’re Yasmin’s favorite fruit so we have been disappointed that they’re so wormy.

Wild tomatillos are supposedly mildly toxic when they’re still green, and while the plant is alive, they stay green. To get them to ripen to yellow, the plant has to be left for several weeks to dry up. The papery husks surrounding the fruit will turn brown and the plant will look dead. Yet inside the tomatillos will be ever ripening and getting sweeter.

We ended up just cutting them and throwing them into the chicken coop. Basically we’ve discovered that chickens will east just about everything, and they liked these berries a lot. So, since they grew so easily, it makes sense to have a bunch of these growing around the farm all the time, so we an use them as vitamin dispensers for the chickens, and perhaps the goats will eat them too.

Here’s a link to my Instagram photo of a wild tomatillo, when it’s yellow and ready to eat. Wild Tomatillo