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Tomatoes: The mandatory three

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alpinejs
Alpine, CA

March 5, 2011
9:07 PM

Post #8409365

I love threads about people's "grow lists". I am also aware that most posters like to experiment with new varieties (Carolyn being the
extreme) I would, however, love to see a list of your "mandatory three". The three varieties that you must grow/repeat each year if
you have such a list. I guess they might be considered the family favorites. So far, my list would be:

Box Car Willie
Brandywine Pink
Abe Lincoln

This year my grow list is far more extensive and as a new heirloom junkie, I suspect my "mandatory three" might get altered. But, I
would love to hear from those of you that have been in the heirloom cult for some years and now what is your list.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 5, 2011
9:11 PM

Post #8409369

What are your "reasons" for your pick? A list is no good without your reasons. chuckle. Cam
alpinejs
Alpine, CA

March 5, 2011
9:42 PM

Post #8409401

A panel of experts (my wife and I) rated our initial attempt at growing 7 heirlooms and those three won the taste test
of the expert judges. This year, I think I have some fabulous choices including Cherokee Purple, Cowlicks, Suddath,
Stump of the World, Earl's Faux, Omar's Lebanese, Virginia Sweet, Sungold, Black Krim, Kosovo, Watermelon
Beefsteak, Pineapple, Brandywine, Giant Belgium and Black Cherry. I am already compiling next years' list and
hope this thread helps.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 5, 2011
9:44 PM

Post #8409402

I want to know what people like about the taste of a particular tomato. Can you describe what you liked about the taste?
DonShirer
Westbrook, CT
(Zone 6a)

March 6, 2011
6:10 AM

Post #8409716

I tend to experiment with different varieties, but there are 3 types I always grow:

Black or Purple variety (for the deep complex taste): Cherokee Purple recurs the most, but this year I am concentrating on the Blacks (Krim, Ethiopian, SeaMan).

Red Heart Shape (for fresh taste, and meaty fruit that goes well in sandwiches). I tend to alternate between Reif Red Man and German Red Strawberry.

Cherry: (Sweet taste for salads) I have grown Sungold for the last five years, this year I am trying Big Sungold select. Maybe Mountain Magic next year.
alpinejs
Alpine, CA

March 6, 2011
6:57 AM

Post #8409842

Steady...to answer your question, "No." My rookie status doesn't make me a good judge of sweet, acid, smokey,
etc. I can only judge "great", "not so great" and that type of not-so professional judging. But the gist of the thread was
not to give my naive opinions based on a one year history, but to learn from you experienced folks. Where is your
list?

Don, I liked your choices in that some are on my "this year" list and others on my "next year list".

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

March 6, 2011
7:42 AM

Post #8409922

My three are:

Moneymaker - The tomato I grew up with in England. It had to be grown in a greenhouse there, but should do well here in NC summers.
Early Girl - because, if I'm lucky, they will be ripe the first week of July, and I like the taste.
Viva Italia - a plum type for hubby's favorite chili. It doesn't suffer from Blossom End Rot when given lots of Chitin from crab shells.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chitin

dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 6, 2011
1:16 PM

Post #8410476

My must grow three has two hybrids and one OP. I other open-pollinated and some heirlooms--but there are so many of those that I'm trying different ones every year. I grow Big Beef, Sweet 100 (or Supersweet 100), and Rutgers pretty much every year. I like the productivity and flavor of both Big Beef and Rutgers. I also love lots of sweet red cherries. I share tomatoes with friends and neighbors, so I need to be sure that I have varieties that produce well...I've had a few heirlooms that only produce 3 or 4 tomatoes. I spend too much time and effort for that small of a return to be acceptable.

I also try to grow a black, at least one pink, a bi-color, and a yellow/gold variety every year. I haven't hit on permanent choices for any of those, yet.

David
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 6, 2011
5:41 PM

Post #8410944

When I say why, I want to know if you grow it because it produces a lot of fruit, it resists disease well, is more tolerant to heat, (or cold), or it just tastess so good you would grow it if it only produced one fruit. Im a newbie too and with sooooo many choices, I wanted to know which ones to try. Right now Ive planted out, 4th of July, Kellogs Breakfast, Large red cherry, Black Krim and Beef steak because they are what I got in trades. Those are not preferences, they are just what I had on hand. I just dont want to spend my time on something that is tasteless like those in the grocery store. It would take me years to try them all so I was looking for a short cut to finding the best ones. Cam
Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 6, 2011
9:38 PM

Post #8411209

Most any vine-ripened tomato you grow will have a much better flavor than supermarket tomatoes. Most tomatoes in the markets are picked green then artificially ripened, and that may make them look good but it sure doesn't make them taste good.

It's already been mentioned above, but you can't go wrong with Big Beef. Seedlings are widely available, the flavor is very good, the tomatoes are large, and the plants are very productive and bear all season. This year I'm relying on five plants of Big Beef as my "mainstream" variety while growing only one or two plants each of several other varieties.

That way I can try some interesting tomatoes that are new to me, backed up by a "tried and true" variety that I know is a heavy producer with flavor we like.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 6, 2011
11:12 PM

Post #8411244

Thanks Ozark. I really appreciate info such as you have given. I know others will too. Good luck with your crop. Be sure to come back and let us know the results of your "trials". I will do the same. Cam
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 6, 2011
11:15 PM

Post #8411248

Do Yellow, orange, pink or purple tomatoes have a different taste? If so could someone take a shot at describing some of the differences you've noticed?
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

March 7, 2011
3:33 AM

Post #8411345

Don, that would be Reif Red Heart not Red Man. (smile)

And as said above it's true that I try to grow varieties new to all or most ever since I fell in 2004 which put me in this walker b'c I can no longer can grow the hundreds of plants and varieties each summer that I used to grow.

I'm working madly on my list right now and it's difficult to organize b'c I have to send seeds to Craig LeHoullier in NC who raises my plants for me now, and then there are three others who do the major seed production for me, 2 in NC and 1 in IL.

And if fruits are ripe when Freda is here she'll bring them in so I can set up some fermentations myself but I'm dependent on her for helping with that.

I don't want to share seeds with anyone unless I've tasted a specific variety myself, so sometimes that means that someone doing seed production for me with a variety I don't have here at home actually sends me fruits to taste.

How long I can keep this up I don't know but I've had a great tomato career, as it were, with those several thousand varieties I've already grown, so no regrets.

Carolyn
DonShirer
Westbrook, CT
(Zone 6a)

March 7, 2011
4:52 AM

Post #8411447

Carolyn:
Would you believe I deliberately wrote 'man' instead of 'heart' just so you could correct me? ... Would you believe my spell checker went wild? ... No? Ok, it was just a case of the fingers typing faster than the mind could think. Thanks for the correction!

And we are all hoping you can keep this up for many more years. Your help is invaluable.
Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 7, 2011
8:31 AM

Post #8411869

My can of Red Man is in my hip pocket. I live in the Ozarks - you've seen the movie "Deliverance"?

As Confucius famously said, "Many man smoke, but fu manchu!". LOL
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

March 7, 2011
10:13 AM

Post #8412117

So you knew Confucious too?

How would you characterize him?

I thought he thought too much. LOL

Carolyn, who also was disappointed to find out he didn't grow tomatoes.
Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 7, 2011
12:36 PM

Post #8412512

Carolyn, I just like teasing Yankees - so when I see NY and CT talking ...

But you've lived all over the country, and I don't think a little Red Man, Virginia twist, or Farmer's Brown Mule would surprise you. :>)

Nicotine is an effective insecticide, and years ago I used it a few times. I quit when ToMV started getting all the publicity, but lately I've started to suspect the danger of that is exaggerated.
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

March 7, 2011
3:06 PM

Post #8412837

Do Yellow, orange, pink or purple tomatoes have a different taste? If so could someone take a shot at describing some of the differences you've noticed?

******

There's a huge range of tastes to be found within each color category so I for one, can't make any conclusions re taste/color, but I will say that most so called whites are very bland, with few exceptions.

And there are no purple varieties, per se, b'c starting back in the late 1800's the word purple was used to mean pink. So Eva Purple Ball, Prudens Purple, Aunt Ginny's Purple and on and on are all pink.

The only two varieties that I know of that do have a touch of purple are Purple Calabash and Noire des Cosebeauf, and while the latter is one of the most beautiful varieties I've ever grown I can't recommend either one re taste.

Then there's Purple Smudge and Orange Fleshed Purple Smudge that are just plain oddities that arose via mutation and taste is not memorable.

Carolyn
texasrockgarden
Canyon Lake, TX
(Zone 8b)

March 7, 2011
4:16 PM

Post #8413002

I have grown out in the neighborhood of 20 different varieties each year for the past three years including the plants I am setting out now. I have seeded these three each year because they set fruit over a decent range of temperatures, they are productive, they seem to not be bothered with disease, and I enjoy their flavor.

1. Black Krim
2. Black Zebra
3. JD's Special

JD's Special is always one of the first to set fruit. The JD I set out Feb 26 under a Kozy Coat already has a nice cluster of blooms forming. These were seeded Jan 19.

These are thin skin tomatoes so if you are not careful with water they will crack. Later in the season when they crack they will sour fast.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 7, 2011
8:11 PM

Post #8413510

I love all this good information!! What color are the ones named black something or other? Are they purple or what?
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

March 8, 2011
1:56 AM

Post #8413735

No, the dark colored ones, aka blacks, are not purple in color, even Cherokee Purple.

Some blacks such as CP and Indian Stripe and Black from Tula have a clear epidermis so I call them pink/blacks and some have a yellow epidermis such as Carbon and Black krim and friends and I call them red/blacks.

The color of the epidermis, that thin layer that one can peel off on the exterior, plus the color of the flesh helps determine what the color of a fruit will be.

The only difference between a red and pink tomato, color-wise, is that pink fruits have a clear epidermis and red fruits have a yellow epidermis.

Carolyn
Ozark
Ozark, MO
(Zone 6a)

March 8, 2011
9:29 AM

Post #8414412

Carolyn, I'm growing Cherokee Chocolate this year. I understand it's the same tomato, production and flavor-wise, as Cherokee Purple, but from the pictures it appears kinda - brown.

Is it a different colored epidermis that makes Cherokee Chocolate a different color from Cherokee Purple?
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 8, 2011
12:07 PM

Post #8414636

Once in a restaurant in San Antonio I ordered fresh sliced tomatoes as my salad. The plate came with 3 large slices of tomato...one red, one yellow and one bluish-purple one. I asked the variety but the restaurant did not know.

Carolyn, are you saying that all tomatoes are red but the epidermis makes them appear otherwise or did I misunderstand you?
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

March 8, 2011
3:04 PM

Post #8415000

The only difference between a red and pink tomato, color-wise, is that pink fruits have a clear epidermis and red fruits have a yellow epidermis.

Steady, I compared the exterior of red AND pink tomatoes as above.

(Is it a different colored epidermis that makes Cherokee Chocolate a different color from Cherokee Purple?)

Yes Ozark. In Craig's garden there appeared to be a mutation of the epidermis of Cherokee Purple from clear to yellow, which is why CC is a darker color than is CP.

Carolyn

LooneyLinda
Mantua, UT
(Zone 4b)

March 8, 2011
3:42 PM

Post #8415089

My three "must haves" are: Sungold F1, Brandywine Sudduth's or Cowlick's, and Amazon Chocolate.

Could we make that a "four must haves"? I'd have to add Aker's West Virginia PL aka Linda's Faux. Great flavor and production together in an heirloom.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

March 9, 2011
5:06 PM

Post #8417240

Mortgage lifter pink or yellow (radiator Charlie strain)
Black krim
Limmony
I picked these because they are large tomatoes that are consistently productive all summer long,with great flavor, I think.
I never get many tomatoes because my 13 yr old eats them before I ever get a chance to.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 9, 2011
5:55 PM

Post #8417327

Im probably getting on everyone's nerves with all my questions but what does the name Black mean in a tomato name? Ive never seen a black tomato.
beausMom
Goodman, MO

March 9, 2011
10:36 PM

Post #8417663

Go to Tatiana's Tomato Base and look up Black Cherry, Black Prince, Carbon etc. and you will see pictures of black tomatoes.
http://t.tatianastomatobase.com:88/wiki/Black_from_Tula
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 10, 2011
12:42 AM

Post #8417695

Thanks Beau's Mom. That is what I thought was a purple tomato served on my plate in the restaurant. Then Carolyn said that purple means pink so I was having a hard time figuring it out. I planted black Krim but had no idea what the tomatoes were going to look like once it produces.
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

March 10, 2011
4:10 AM

Post #8417793

Steady, you've been linked to Black From Tula, which is a pink/black and in addition to Tania's wonderful site you can go to any good seed source that shows pictures to see additional pictures of various so called black varieties, ones such as Tomato Growers Supply and GlecklerSeedmen, for instance.

Aside from the fact that there are blacks that have either clear or yellow epidemises, the depth of the coloration is quite dependent on a specific variety ( the genes it has), the degree of foliage cover as well as the degree of UV where a person grows their tomatoes.

So here in the north it's not uncommon for some varieties to have less dark coloredness, if I can, as compared with folks in the south in terms of the UV variable.

Carolyn
LooneyLinda
Mantua, UT
(Zone 4b)

March 10, 2011
8:55 AM

Post #8418210

The Amazon Chocolate I mentioned is considered a "black" tomato. I gave a plant to one of my friends who said it tasted rotten. I couldn't imagine that. With further questioning, she was waiting for it to turn red on the top. It never does that. It is always green on top which is referred to as having green shoulders. So---by the time she finally picked one, it probably was rotten. You have to pinch the bottom a little to see when it softens.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 10, 2011
12:05 PM

Post #8418568

LOL, Linda. Reminds me of the time we took a friend of ours to eat crawfish for the first time. Everyone was busy with their own diving in to notice her. When we looked up and asked what she thought about crawfish, she said they were OK. That's when we noticed she ate the whole thing, head, gills and all.
nancyruhl
Dearborn, MI

March 10, 2011
6:05 PM

Post #8419165

This thread is making me laugh out loud. First of all, as long as I can grow tomatoes, I probably won't be able to cut it down to three. We just returned from 2 months in Florida and I made a cutting on a black cherry (color of epidermis unknown) to grow out on the patio there, so I guess that would be No 1. Forever my husband thought yellow pear was the greatest thing ever, until he tasted one black cherry and his love affair with yellow pear was over. It is sweet and tangy and prolific and beautiful.
I can't imagine a season without Kelloggs Breakfast. It is so juicy and sweet and flavorful and gorgeous. Many complain that it isn't so productive, but I have always gotten a bunch.
Then I'd have to have a good red, and I think I would go with Granny Cantrell's German Red. It has nice sized beautiful red fruit with fantastic flavor and it doesn't take the whole season to get a ripe tomato.
Of course, I am always searching for a new TDF tomato, so I am trying 40 new ones this year, in addition to the regulars.
alpinejs
Alpine, CA

March 25, 2011
7:28 AM

Post #8449099

Nancy...the thread is strictly a hypothetical. Most have similar emotions as yours. Just for the sake of maybe some
self-examination of long lists, the question is what if you were, for some strange reason, suddenly restricted to
only 3 varieties that you had previously grown. I just thought it would be interesting to see what, if any, duplication
there was from the die-hard heirloom folks. Such a compilation might also serve as a starting line for newbies
that want to get their feet wet in the heirloom arena and are overwhelmed by the lengthy grow lists of most
veteranos. I doubt many start with 50-60 varieties, but soon get there. I am already up to 23 in my 2nd yr. My wife
censors the mail and throws any seed catalogs before I get to see the mail. She hasn't resolved the internet
problem yet. She claims it would be cheaper if I were addicted to alcohol.
Carolyn
Salem, NY
(Zone 4b)

March 25, 2011
10:28 AM

Post #8449434

When the same question was posted elsewhere and I think it was about what ONE variety would you take with you if you were banished to an island, or something like that and all sorts of folks were trying to come up with one known OP.

But the best answer, I thought, was the person who said he'd take with him a recent cross he'd done between two OP's b'c he knew that from growing out the saved F2 seeds from the initial hybrid cross that he'd have plenty more wonderful plants, and I agree with that completely.

I don't even know if I posted in this thread, I didn't go back to look, but I think I'd answer the same as he did and I'd select three crosses to work with.

But I do understand that the intent was to be more pointed about long grow lists, so maybe his answer doesn't fit here, but I thought it was a good one that I'd pass along.

Carolyn
beausMom
Goodman, MO

March 28, 2011
10:09 AM

Post #8455935

I like Pale Perfect Purple or Eva Purple Ball for a pink globe, Cherokee Purple for a dark tomato, and I'd have to have a beef steak, Granny Cantrell is good but there are many others.
araness
Auburn, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 28, 2011
10:49 AM

Post #8456016

I'm not sure I could narrow it down to only three, as we have about a 10 that are standards from a total of 28-30.

I adore blacks, I understand many don't understand the fuss but it's a personal preference so mine lean heavily towards the black/purple varieties.

Must have's include:

Black Cherry: Great production, holds up well in the heat and taste yummy with cilantro

Black Krim: Again, great production, does well in the heat and has wonderful flavor without being as smoky as some of the other blacks.

Paul Robeson: Horrible production, hates the heat and I've tasted better...needless I'm not the reason it's on the list...blame that on the DH.

Neves Azorean Red: middle of the road production, seems to tolerate the heat has a great full tomato flavor.

Black From Tula: One of my favorite tomatoes, great flavor, average production and handles the heat pretty well. It is prone to cracking and doesn't handle large amounts of rain well...but I luvs it!

The other standards are Aker's West Virgina, Carbon, Chapman, Black, Nyagous

steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 29, 2011
1:37 AM

Post #8457625

OK, so far Ive learned this...Could someone please save me some black cherry seeds? Too many of you have raved about it. I'd really like to try it. Too late for Spring crop. My tomatoes are already blooming but if someone has 5 seeds to spare, I could start the end of July for my fall crop. I'll trade or send postage. Your choice. Cam
nancyruhl
Dearborn, MI

March 29, 2011
3:51 AM

Post #8457679

I have extra. Send me a dmail.
What are you doing thinking about tomatoes at 3:37 am
araness
Auburn, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 29, 2011
5:25 AM

Post #8457825

Steadycam3 if you'd like I can drop some in the mail today, you should have it tomorrow or if you aren't in a hurry I can just drop them off the next time I'm in the Heights..

They really do well in our area, although like most cherry's the lill buggers do tend to like to take over.

steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 29, 2011
11:05 PM

Post #8459701

Nancy, Im a night owl, yes, but usually dont stay up that late! I got up way too early the day before so took a nap after finishing a project therefore could not get sleepy at the right time.

Araness, as you can see, I cant plant til July so no hurry.
araness
Auburn, AL
(Zone 8a)

March 30, 2011
6:31 AM

Post #8460052

Steady I'll be starting my seedlings in a few weeks If I have something you'd like to try just let me know.
I still have tons of seedlings that I'm about to have to toss since I can't find neighbors to take them. Getting way to leggy and need to be put in the ground or thrown away, if you'd like a few (or all) just give me a yell. Also have cucumber seedlings. Not sure, but I think it would be a safe bet to say everything that is left are blacks/purples.

I have a cake due for a shower on Saturday and will be going to Winnie on Sunday but pretty sure I'll be heading into Houston to Saturday afternoon to go to the Spec's wine & cheese day if you'd like me to drop them off.
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2011
1:12 PM

Post #8460807

Please dont toss seedlings! My neighbors are all trying to garden as well as I. I'll be happy to meet you at Spec's. Just tell me which one. I dont want you to go out of your way since you are being so generous. Just call when you are ready for me to come. Im a little confused. Did you mean this Sat or next that you will be coming to Specs?

This message was edited Mar 31, 2011 12:32 AM
quiltygirl
No Central, AZ
(Zone 7b)

March 30, 2011
2:33 PM

Post #8460974

What we grow and WHERE we grow it make a difference. Here is SoCal our soil is so often yucky (technical term, I know) with no summer rains and little humidity unless you have the salt air. I took a tomato class at a nursery last weekend and she warned transplants from "back East" not to expect a lot of tomatoes to equal the taste of 'back home'. That being said, of course anything is better than store bought. I do not have much experience in tomato growing, only 3 years and last year was the only successful year. Last year I grew in stawbales (thanks to the Strawbale Gardening Forum on DG) and had lots of yummy tasting tomatoes. I loved the deep, smokey flavor of the Black Krim and it produced fairly well. The Brandwines were very large and tasty, but there were not very many on the tons of foliage they had. This year I will try again (as I did in 2009) to grow in containers as there is a possibility of moving and DH does not want me to plant ANYTHING - yea right.

The difference in soil/growing conditions is evidenced in the chile grown in New Mexico. Many varieties are the same as grown here in CA, AZ and Mexico, but the NM chile has such a unique deep flavor. Buying NM chile seeds and growing them somewhere else does not give the same flavor as when it is grown in NM.

Excuse my inexperience, just some thoughts.
kikisdad
Spring Hill, FL
(Zone 9a)

March 30, 2011
9:06 PM

Post #8461752

I grow Burpees Supersteak hybrids, Sweet 100's and whatever TGS has for a freebie every year (Virginia Sweets for 2011), This year I also have better boy and german johnson.
This is my first try at growing a garden in Florida so I am splitting the tomatoes between containers and in ground. I always had good luck in upstate NY where there is real soil and I had acreage enough to rotate the locations every couple years. short grow seasons though. We like the taste of the supersteaks best of any I've tried. hope they will grow here.
Goldrusher
Crane Lake, MN

September 5, 2011
6:10 PM

Post #8795093

My "must have 3" has radically changed after growing 24
varieties this summer. My three include Brandywine Pink,
Mariana's Peace and Cherokee Green. Kosovo is a close
competitor with Earl's Faux, CP, and Stump of the World
following closely behind. Disappointments to me were
Black Cherry (productive but the flavor didn't come close to
the rave revues), Sungold was much better but still didn't
merit the raves and Riesenstab was better than both, in my
opinion. Garden peach and Big Yellow were spitters (as
Carolyn would say) and Cowlicks was a big disappointment
to me. They were very productive, but small (handball size)
fairly tough skin and blah flavor. I will, however, give them
and Black cherry a second year try. Kosovo and Mariana's
Peace were the big pleasant surprises in that I wasn't expecting as great things from them as they delivered.
The blacks did not produce well for me and got lots of blossum rot.
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

September 7, 2011
1:58 PM

Post #8797912

I grew about 50 different varieties this summer to sample and decide on future keepers. It was more than I could handle but I have learned a lot. Unfortunately the weird weather (wet, then super heat, then very wet again) has caused many "favorite" varieties listed by DGers, especially Carolyn, to produce tomatoes that were not themselves, so to speak. So many tasted bland or waterlogged to me. Therefore I do not think I have a truly accurate picture of many of my new varieties but nevertheless there are always winners even in tough conditions. I have had two tomato tasting sessions and so most of my opinions have been supported by others. Would be interested in other's opinions as well.

If I have to isolate 3 keepers flavor and production wise they would be:

Dagma's Perfection (Gary Ibsen's Gold was a major surprise equaling if not surpassing this according to my friends - both had superb very balanced flavor between tangy and sweet but this was my second season for Dagma and seems to manage difficult weather conditions)
Brad's Black Heart (Black Sea Man was a close second in the tastings but I thought this was the best ever)
Sun Sugar F1 for a cherry. Always reliable, prolific with superior flavor - have dried a lot of these!
Dagma's and Sun Sugar F1, have been grown before so seem to do well in various climate conditions here. Runners up would be Green Zebra (grown before and loved by everyone who tries it around here) and Jaunne Flamme (new this year, prolific with wonderful flavor - great for oven drying).

Others I will definitely plant again are: Starred ones are repeats from other years:

*Amazon Chocolate (fabulous flavor on first couple but plant died from wilt)
Anna Maria's Heart (first time - plant was affected by disease but set a lot of tomatoes which are still ripening with nice flavor)
Berkeley Tie Dye Heart (won out over Berkeley Tie Dye which was good and tangy)
*Black Sea Man
*Black Cherry
Cowlick's Brandywine (loved the flavor even if not a big producer for its first time in my garden)
Earl's Faux (was almost as good as Cowlick's - my aunt preferred the EF)
Gary Ibsen's Gold (maybe best gold this year - unbelievable rich flavor)
*German Johnson (always dependable no matter what for the last 3 years - even went through the late blight and actually produced something good!)
*Green Zebra - very prolific, didn't crack, fabulous citrusy, tangy flavor
Isis (very sweet cherry)
Jaunne Flamme - beautiful looking, prolific, didn't crack, wonderful flavor, great for drying
*Kosovo (3rd year so seems very dependable)
*Neves Azoreum (one of the few that has produced well, tastes good and didn't crack)

I had great hopes for a number of varieties but was disappointed either in flavor or because they cracked so badly and immediately rotted. Weather was certainly a major factor as I chose them because of other's recommendations. Most of them deserve a second chance but I need to cut down so am not sure which ones I will try again:

Ananas Noire (very watery tasting and then plant died)
Aunt Ruby's Yellow Cherry (worst tasting cherries this year - so bland you wanted to gag! - never got better!)
*Azoychka (not as tangy as usual)
Berkeley Tie Dye Pink (bland)
Black From Tula (someone above said they don't do well in lots of rain - apparently TRUE for me! Update: Just ate the last one for the season and it was delicious compared to the previous ones - Unfortunately I had to pull the plant so will give a chance again next year!)
*Chapman (bland - great producer with rich flavor last year))
Crnkovic Yugoslavian - average flavor, fairly good production - one I tried today was very good despite all the rain from Lee!
*Galina's Yellow Cherry (sour this year - best cherry last year)
Indian Stripe (bland)
J. D's Special C-Tex (ugly formations and cracked so barely tasted any - bland)
*KBX - still no ripe ones
Lucky Cross - still no ripe ones and low production - really wanted to try this one
Prudens Purple - still no ripe ones - this was another one I was anxious to try after all the hype and recommendations!
Reif Italien Heart - nice setting but severe cracking on top - taste was only average
Rose (absolutely huge beautiful looking but some were quite bland and watery)
Sandul Moldovan (somewhat bland and tops cracked)



This message was edited Sep 9, 2011 9:28 PM
risingcreek
sun city, CA
(Zone 9a)

September 9, 2011
1:02 PM

Post #8800890

this is a great thread. this is my first year with tomatoes but i am hooked. it is really helpful to get the opinions of people on the varieties they have grown, as i am boggled by all the choices.

kc
muck4doo
Austin, TX

September 9, 2011
6:04 PM

Post #8801341

This summer has just been brutal here in Austin. We've had 80 days of 100+ degrees, so while production looked promising in late spring, my hopes got quickly dashed as the days went on. There were two plants though that made me very happy. I will grow them again. My report card:

Arkansas Traveler: Produced heavily early on, and kept producing even though ina lot smaller numbers. There are about 12 fruit on the plant even now. It took the heat better than most. Flavor was bland though compared to others.

Ferris Wheel: Produced about 8 12-16 oz fruit with absolute awesome flavor(exceptional mix of sweet and tangy) during the spring. Heat set in then it stopped. Plant is starting to grow fruit again. I will be growing this one again, and hope next year isn't as brutal. I found the flavor exceptional.

Black Krim: People I shared seedlings with got some exceptional black krims. My plant i kept must have been cross contaminated with a cherry type because it produced smallish looking mottled fruit that didn't look like any of the others.

Marmande: I loved the very tomatoey flavor of this. However, it didn't give me much fruit. The plant kept growing through the heat, and is probably the most massive of all my plants, but still no fruit since then. Too much care for so little fruit even though the taste was good.

Devil Jersey: Plant got very big, never produced any fruit, then started having a ton of problems when the temperatures rose. I had to put it out of its misery. R.I.P. NJ Devil. Never growing again.

Yellow Pear: Tons of spring fruit, but they were mealy and not the best tasting toms out there(Tangy, not very sweet). Once summer heat hit it stopped producing. Plant is still big and tall and will most likely produce this fall, but i won't grow it again.

Zapotec Pleated: A very hardy and robust plant. It grows and grows and grows. When it will give a tomato, nobody knows.

Early Annie: Awesome plant. I got about 2 dozen fruit off this determinate in early June, then about another 8 in July. Flavor was exceptional. Excellent mix of tangy and sweet. Plant grew about 2 and a half high out of the pot, and produced like a champ. Definitely growing again.

Garden Peach: Grew this as a novelty, and it produced better than any of the others through the heat. It just keeps on going and going. This plant grew about 4 foot, and kept producing fruit no matter the heat thrown at it. I didn't expect that. Unfortunately the flavor isn't great. It was nice this kept producing all summer long, but it was like a filler til the better toms can come around. Not growing again.

Matt's Wild Cherry: Awesome tasting little currant sized toms, but nothing since late June. I thought since this plant was from Mexico, heat wouldn't be a problem. I learned otherwise. Fruit tastes nice, but is tiny. With the lack of heat resistance i can say i won't be growing this again.

Tiny Tim: I stealth planted these in my flower beds. No toms yet, but heat hasn't seem to wore them down. Flower buds have no petals.

Two late additions I added to my garden. These were planted in early may unlike the others that were planted in early march-

Black Prince: Nice growing plant that has produced a few fruit despite the weather. They tasted bland. More fruit are still are growing and let's see if those taste better.

Dagmas Perfection: Plant is growing nice, and is finally having fruit budding on it. No taste test yet.

Fall late editions: Paul Robeson and Black Cherry. They're still growing.

So those are my two out of three: Ferris Wheel and Early Annie. Don't know what I would take for a third right now.



gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

September 9, 2011
6:46 PM

Post #8801403

muck4doo,

I also grew a yellow pear. It was a plant given to me by a Bulgarian who named it Bulgarian Yellow Pear. I also found it mealy and wonder if that is unique to yellow pears since it was my first time growing it!

I will be curious to see your reaction to Dagma's Perfection since it was one of my top three!

We are growing in completely different climates so comparisons may be unfair but I found your list very interesting! I plant Black Cherry every year even though I got very mediocre production this summer. I give a lot of those plants away since they are so popular.

I have looked up Ferris Wheel and it intrigues me as a possible new one for next year. Others concur that it has a wonderful sweet flavor.
I grew a Peach variety last year and like yours it just kept churning out but I wasn't crazy about it (maybe the fuzzy skin bothered me!) but others found it to be sweet. It became a nuisance after awhile because I didn't know what to do with all the tomatoes and didn't like it well enough to make sauce (it wasn't very large - just prolific!)

This message was edited Sep 9, 2011 9:48 PM
muck4doo
Austin, TX

September 9, 2011
7:01 PM

Post #8801429

[quote="gardadore"]muck4doo,

I also grew a yellow pear. It was a plant given to me by a Bulgarian who named it Bulgarian Yellow Pear. I also found it mealy and wonder if that is unique to yellow pears since it was my first time growing it!

I will be curious to see your reaction to Dagma's Perfection since it was one of my top three!

We are growing in completely different climates so comparisons may be unfair but I found your list very interesting! I plant Black Cherry every year even though I got very mediocre production this summer. I give a lot of those plants away since they are so popular.

I have looked up Ferris Wheel and it intrigues me as a possible new one for next year. Others concur that it has a wonderful sweet flavor.
I grew a Peach variety last year and like yours it just kept churning out but I wasn't crazy about it (maybe the fuzzy skin bothered me!) but others found it to be sweet. It became a nuisance after awhile because I didn't know what to do with all the tomatoes and didn't like it well enough to make sauce (it wasn't very large - just prolific!)

This message was edited Sep 9, 2011 9:48 PM[/quote]

Yellow Pear is very decorative, but leaves a lot to be desired in taste and texture from my own experience. Maybe others have a different experience .

Garden Peach was a pleasant surprise in its production, but wasn't a whole lot better in my opinion than yellow pear in flavor and texture. It could also be that I'm just not a big fan of yellow toms? It could be my own prejudice.

I'm very interested to see how the Dagmas turn out. It looks promising so far, but then again, they are another yellow tom.

Ferris Wheel is an awesome variety, but looks like it is disappearing. I'd love to see more people giving it a try.

Hoping this black cherry can give me a nice little yield before the first frost.
MaypopLaurel
Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA
(Zone 7b)

September 11, 2011
5:46 PM

Post #8804132

I was about to eliminate yellow pear from my garden years ago when I read that its real life mission was in making preserves and other cooking/roasting uses. Once I knew how to use them and did in fact jam, slow roast and sauce them rather than try to use as sexy salad tomatoes, I began to appreciate their worth. I'll always have yellow pear in my garden. If you are interested in this variety as a raw tomato it falls short.

Forgive the opportunist in me but I've been dying to post this photo of my smiley face yellow pear all summer. I swear this is untouched. How could you not love a tomato that makes you smile?

This message was edited Sep 11, 2011 7:46 PM

Thumbnail by MaypopLaurel
Click the image for an enlarged view.

MaryMcP
Phoenix, AZ
(Zone 9b)

September 12, 2011
7:13 AM

Post #8804865

Good one Laurel.
MaypopLaurel
Cleveland,GA/Atlanta, GA
(Zone 7b)

September 12, 2011
12:12 PM

Post #8805275

Thanks, Mary. I should also have mentioned it wouldn't be in my top three though. :)
muck4doo
Austin, TX

September 12, 2011
8:14 PM

Post #8806054

Forgot to add. Also have a Berkeley tie Dye that was a late addition with Dagmas and the prince. Good growth, showing some fruit now. Can't believe i forgot to put that one in there.

Gymgirl

Gymgirl
SE Houston (Hobby), TX
(Zone 9a)

September 13, 2011
6:50 PM

Post #8807392

Black Krim
Pruden's Purple

And, a tomato I tried for the first time last season, that will ALWAYS be in my repertoire,

MOMOTORO!!!

Linda
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

September 14, 2011
7:09 PM

Post #8808844

Gymgirl,

I forgot to mention Momotaro but it is one of the few hybrids along with Sun Sugar F1 that I also will always have in my garden. I didn't have it in my top three because it tastes fine but not as good as my chosen three. It is, however, extremely dependable and didn't crack as much as the others.
Goldenberry
Northeast, IL
(Zone 5b)

September 23, 2011
11:37 AM

Post #8820767

This year I grew Sweet Millions cherry tomatoes, at the top of my must-have list.
Burpee Best Boy has excellent, sweet flavor and is the perfect consistency for slicing.
Costaluto ( I may not have spelled that right) is an heirloom that gets my vote for the most prolific producer ever in my garden. Plus it's kinda wrinkly. A friend dubbed the "Shar pei tomato" after the wrinkley dog breed!
Plantmum6
American Canyon, CA
(Zone 9a)

September 25, 2011
12:29 AM

Post #8822921

I have been in the nursery/gardening business for over 20 years now but this is the first year I could really grow good tomatoes! We moved last year to a place with full on sun and plenty of room. Soooo, I kept getting tempted by the varieties we got at work and ended up planting 40 different ones, with an elaborate map to guide me through the plot! We had a rough, cool summer here but so far I am really liking these three:

Brandy Boy
Japanese Black Trifele
Brown Berry

I like my tomatoes to be acid and salty so those three are working for me, plus they are producing great.

Persimmon is turning out to be a beautiful tomato, much like a persimmon in the color, size and flesh (almost no seeds!)

Its a bit after midnight here and I got up craving a midnight tomato sandwich...loving it!!!!
steadycam3
Houston Heights, TX
(Zone 9a)

November 4, 2011
12:58 PM

Post #8876463

Checking back in after the summer. My 4th of July produced hundreds of fruits quite early but then the weather got hot and there was no rain. I watered but it was just too hot.They stopped producing and I really liked the taste. I only got a few Kellog's breakfast due to blossom end rot. They were large and not particularly tasty. My Black Cherry were planted late and I only got a few fruits before the weather turned hot. I was not impressed by their taste but there were many variables that were not ideal so I planted them again from suckers for the fall. As the weather got hotter, I had stink bug damage as well. This summer really dampened my enthusiasm for veggie gardening. I need to recover.
1lisac
Liberty Hill, TX
(Zone 8a)

November 8, 2011
7:14 PM

Post #8882302

Steadycam-I feel just like you do. I usually get a good fall crop and was counting on that through out this hot summer. Well, it stayed hot too long. Then I went out of town for a long weekend it was 24* Friday morning. Went from super hot to super cold. Was able to save one mystery tomato and my Choc. Hab. Which has yet to even bloom. The pepper will probably get dug up and put in a pot. I just wanted one fruit off the tomato plant so I would know what kind it was. Worst year ever. Very disheartening.

Before the extreme heat I had decent production from the cherry and currant varieties. Also Stupice, Black Pineapple, Belize Pink Heart, Prudens Purple and Eves Purple Ball.

newyorkrita

newyorkrita
North Shore of L. I., NY
(Zone 6b)

July 29, 2012
1:21 PM

Post #9222638

Fabulous old thread about great tasting varieties. I am going to try some from these many suggestions next year.

lavender4ever

lavender4ever
(Louise) Highland, MI
(Zone 5b)

August 3, 2012
12:25 AM

Post #9227829

Old thread..but I would love to add some of mine.

Green goblin...have to add this one because it reboundef from a vicious beheading after house gutter cleaning and is now out producing all the others.

Sweet 100..the only person who does not love these, is my tomato hating five year old.

Orange oxheart...never met an oxheart I did not like.

Thumbnail by lavender4ever
Click the image for an enlarged view.

nancyruhl
Dearborn, MI

August 3, 2012
5:12 AM

Post #9227917

What a year, eh? If I knew the kind of weather we were going to have this year, I would only grow varieties those folks from Texas said performed well. I'm wondering how the results from the taste tests of this year will compare with a more normal summer up here. I do agree that heart tomatoes have been spectacular and I have some new favorites that will be invited back--Gildo Petroboni, Fishlake Oxheart, and Tsar Kolokol. WOW! I think that flavors of tomatoes have been more instense and skins thicker this season.

paulgrow

paulgrow
Allen Park, MI
(Zone 6a)

August 3, 2012
7:06 AM

Post #9228031

Nancy, you hit the nail on the head, indeed a crazy year.

85 day tomatoes maturing in 60 days etc,
Hopefully they'll produce later into the fall.

No blight yet (fingers crossed).

Paul
nancyruhl
Dearborn, MI

August 4, 2012
2:21 PM

Post #9229560

I think the hot drier weather is also contributing to less problem with foliage disease.
OutsidePlaying
Laceys Spring, AL
(Zone 7a)

August 5, 2012
8:58 AM

Post #9230230

Great old thread, and I have to ditto that it has been a banner year for me, both in production and disease-free year. The only problem has been a good deal of cracking due to the weather back in early July, but even that has now tapered off since the temps and rain have been more stable and normal. I'm putting up tomatoes and giving away right and left. Can't seem to settle on my top 3, but right now it's Cherokee Purple, Sun Sugar, and my old stand-by Better Boy. Sun Sugar out-ranks Sun Gold mainly due to production and thinner skin but both are good. I may go back to Sweet 100's next year instead of Sweet Millions, but I had some left-over seed of Millions I decided to plant at the last minute so there you go. Costuloto was pretty good too.

Remains to be seen what new ones I'll be trying next year, but I've got to come up with a good yellow and black and green to try here. And then there's Momotaro I keep hearing raves about.

newyorkrita

newyorkrita
North Shore of L. I., NY
(Zone 6b)

August 5, 2012
9:07 AM

Post #9230240

I am growing Cherokee Purple for the first time this year myself. It is a winner and will be back next year. Maybe try Cherokee Chocolate also . And also want to try Indian Stripe. What a beautiful looking tomato.
samthehavanese
Mohrsville, PA
(Zone 6a)

August 6, 2012
6:33 PM

Post #9232329

Made a batch of sauce this weekend with Cherokee Purple, San Marzano, and a few Lemon Boy tossed in as well. Absolutely delicious.

paulgrow

paulgrow
Allen Park, MI
(Zone 6a)

August 7, 2012
7:10 AM

Post #9232844

I started canning tomatoes this morning.
Ther're coming in so fast no way that I can eat them all.

Paul
OutsidePlaying
Laceys Spring, AL
(Zone 7a)

August 8, 2012
6:13 AM

Post #9233993

Same here. Made a batch of sauce last night and brought some tomatoes to work today to give away. Sauce tasted so good!

lavender4ever

lavender4ever
(Louise) Highland, MI
(Zone 5b)

December 30, 2012
7:33 PM

Post #9370947

You know you can freeze them whole skins on. To us, rinse under warm water to slip skins then chop and make sauces or add to chili soups or stews. 4to 5 sm equal a can of tomatoes.

happytail

happytail
St. Simon's Island, GA
(Zone 9a)

January 6, 2013
2:19 PM

Post #9377413

I found that the yellow pear I grew last year had a really tough skin, which cooking would probably eliminate. I found an orange grape/cherry? Called Nugget that was prolific as well as sweet as candy! Will do that one again. I had a yellow as a fall tomato that was excellent, but can't remember the name (Hillbilly? Texas Star?). I also really like Better Boy, but it doesn't perform as well into the heat as some others. I always try a few new ones each year. Good to hear some reviews of ones I haven't heard of before.
IO1
Waaaay Down South, GA

January 6, 2013
3:43 PM

Post #9377503

We continue to love Royal Hillbilly, Eva Purple Ball and Black From Tula. I know you said 3, but Lady Lucy and Box Car Willie are also always in our garden.
terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 7, 2013
11:07 AM

Post #9378189

Interesting to see if you all who posted in 2011 would choose the same again. My top few always seem to change. But here are my top three for 2013:

Livingston's Favorite
Church tomato
Barnes Mountain Yellow

I don't think I could ever stand on just three, though. Maybe 10 or 20. But not three...

This message was edited Jan 7, 2013 1:09 PM
IO1
Waaaay Down South, GA

January 7, 2013
1:25 PM

Post #9378356

Amen! LOL
koshki
Grosse Pointe Shores, MI
(Zone 6a)

January 7, 2013
7:02 PM

Post #9378676

I'm limited to growing about 5 to 6 full sized plants (and now a couple more dwarfs), so my experimentation goes slowly. Right now I only have two for-sure repeats in my garden. Black cherry...I love to watch the faces of first-timer eaters. Everyone loves them. Mine grow so huge, I have to figure out how to manage it better (from a wheelchair.) Next year I plan to let a couple branches spill out of each level of the cages to see if I can get an over-all kind of crop instead of just the having fruit up over my head and out of reach (that means DH has to pick them, and then he eats more than he puts in the basket.)

The other is Black From Tula. I've grown a few different blacks, and I like this one because (for me), it has been healthier, more prolific, and has larger fruit.

I really like the taste of Omar's Lebanese, but it didn't produce well for me, and in my limited garden, I have to make choices!

Gosh, it won't be long now before I start the dwarfs!!! Yippee!!!
gardadore
Saylorsburg, PA
(Zone 6a)

January 7, 2013
9:41 PM

Post #9378795

My original mandatory 3 in 2011 (Dagma's Perfection, Brad's Black Heart, and Sun Sugar (with Momotaro, Black Cherry and Cowlick's Brandywine close behind) were again at the top of the list and will be planted again in 2013. But two new ones that really stood out were Cherokee Green (probably at the top of all the tomatoes planted for flavor) and Porkchop which are on the 2013 list as well. For 2013 I must cut back the number, which is so hard to do. But here is a run down of the 2012 crop and how they fared. Those being replanted in 2013 have been notated:

Amazon Chocolate - produced better this year and always taste great. 2013
Anna Maria’s Heart - a wonderful heart. 2013
Anna Russian - Also a dependable heart. 2013
Anna Russian Mutant? Did not come true in 2011 so I planted seeds from that plant and it came true to the "mutant". Smaller than regular Anna Russian.
Great for drying so will be planted again in 2013

Beryl Beauty (dwarf) - ripened late for me and I was away so didn't really taste it. Will wait another year and try some new Dwarfs
Black Cherry - Always delicious 2013
Black Sea Man - I love this one but prefer Brad's Black Heart so will not plant it next year.
Brad’s Black Heart - Produced more this year with the same great flavor. 2013
Bulgarian Beauty - My name for a Bulgarian tomato given to me by friends. Excellent producer 2 years in a row but I want to try some others.
Chocolate Cherry - Similar to Black Cherry so will stay with the Black Cherry
**Cherokee Green - the real surprise of the summer. Superb flavor. I gave one to a neighbor and she nearly passed out with delight. Her son said it was the best tomato he had ever eaten, bar none!! Definite 2013!
Cowlick’s Brandywine - Produced better than ever this summer. Great tomato. 2013
**Dagma’s Perfection - Still my favorite yellow! 2013
Danko - Produced really well but must make decisions so will try some different hearts next year.
Earl of Edgecombe - Have grown for the last few years. Did well but will skip next year.
Earl’s Faux - Super like Cowlick's Brandywine. Will grow 2013
Gary Ibsen’s Gold - Almost as good as Dagma's so will grow again 2013
Grappoli d’Inverno - Productive and good for drying. Will grow 2013
Green Zebra Cherry - Disappointed in this one. Wasn't crazy about the flavor and found the skin tough. Maybe I didn't pick it at the right time.
Hugh’s Yellow - Comes in later in the season. Got blight on it so had to pull it early. Had lots of tomatoes but will try other yellow ones next year.
Isis Candy - Have tried 3 times with mixed results - not sure what the problem is - seeds or weather. Will not plant next year.
KBX - Another great yellow/orange which I will plant again in 2013
Little Lucky - Had a slow start so will give it another chance in 2013
Momotaro Great Hybrid! Always dependable and very disease tolerant. Always a good back up. 2013
Orange Minsk - Suffered set backs in the beginning so deserves another chance. What I got was good. 2013
**Porkchop - Like Cherokee green was the big surprise. Ripened later but was delicious. Will try again in 2013
Principe Borghese - Have grown many times before. Will not plant next year - liked the Grappoli better.
Prudens Purple - Produced better this year than last - excellent flavor. 2013
Red Penna - Didn't do as well as expected. Only got a couple of tomatoes so will give it another chance. 2013
Sophie’s Choice - Reliable Dwarf but want to trial some others.
Sudanese Special - Seeds that came from Sudan which I named. Unusual plant - very compact and bushy. Tomatoes had thick skins and OK flavor but will not plant again.
Sunray - Good orange but had a slow start. Still debating on 2013 but have other varieties I want to try.
Wes - Heart which many extoll. I have had bad luck in the past but this year got some tomatoes. Will replant in 2013 with fresh seeds.
ladysoth
Alexandria, VA

February 15, 2013
2:20 PM

Post #9420153

Right now I have one must have, and that's Burpees 4th of July. Last year I had a bad issue with wilt - not sure if it fusarium or Verticillium - but it killed all the plants but the 4th of July (which weren't affected at all). So that is my must have this year, and I am also trying Parks Whopper and Marglobe as I've read they are both wilt resistant.

I had peppers in the same raised bed and none of them were affected.

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