Ok,well we all have had another summer of tomatoes so....

Bushland, TX(Zone 6a)

Has anybody changed there minds on the best tasting tomato?
Is it the same or has a new hybrid changed your mind?
Avalanch to me is still the best,tried different varieties ,and some from people at work,and still stick with my favorite.

So.App.Mtns., United States(Zone 5b)

Tropicman.. I often wonder, when someone says "xxx" is my favorite, what their taste requirements are. I happen to love a real acid tasting tomato like Brandywine, but unless your taste requirements are the same, how should I judge whether I'd like to try what you prefer?

Please note, this is not directed at you. I just wonder if people could better define why they count a particular tomato as tastiest.

Bushland, TX(Zone 6a)

Very good Question,
Your so right,my wifes tastes are almost opposite of mine,she to likes the acid loving tomato,where as my stomack
can't handle it.
The question was, have you changed your mine from last years taste of favorite tomato.
Avalanch has a soft thin skin,and a very,very mild taste of acid,but yet has that homemade taste not like the store bought ones.
Being the fact that hardly anyones tastebuds are the same,the opinions are endlessly on favorite tomato,I was just asking if anybody has changed favorite tomatoes this year,sorry If I mislead you.

Lima, OH(Zone 5a)

Mine has remainmed the same for last 10 or so years. Large red Italian, Pink skinned (no name), almost non acid, someone brought it to me from Florida. I also like oxheart(red). Have had two BAD summers, so don't know if I still have the correct seeds or not.

Bushland, TX(Zone 6a)

Hi Hibiscus,you know as we get older sometimes our taste buds change, mine has on many other things but not on my tomatoes,so thats why I was so curious about posting this for one reason,like I prefer diet pepsi over diet coke and always have,I guess to sum this up,like a fine wine,theres just some things that never change!!LOL!

Caldwell, TX(Zone 8b)

I rate my top three best tasting tomatoes in the following order beginning with the one with the greatest flavor.

1) Marianna's Peace
2) Cherokee Purple
3) Brandywine


Bushland, TX(Zone 6a)

Jay is that this year or same as years past?

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Has anybody changed there minds on the best tasting tomato?


Every summer I'm able to grow newly discovered heirlooms that either I discover or others send to me and I compare them with the previous about 1500 varieties I've grown both with respect to taste and to performance.

Three summer ago it was Aunt Gertie's Gold that wowed me.

This past summer is was a variety called Prue.

And this past summer was also interesting b/c I grew a newly discovered strain of Cherokee Purple that had developed independently from the CP that was given to my best tomato friend Craig LeHoullier by John Green from TN lo these many years ago. Of course I shared my seeds with Craig and he also agrees it a strain of CP. Origin is Arkansas where the Cherokee were known to have a presence and still do re descendents.

To me the interesting issue was the subtle differences found between this new one, called Indian Stripe, and Cherokee Purple, in terms of genetic drift that led to slight differences in fruit color, size and number of fruits in a cluster.

I also grow hybrids from time to time and my opinion on what I think are the best has not changed in many years since most of the new stuff is just deja vu all over again as Yogi Berra is wont to say. LOL

I will say that I cannot and will not say that any ONE variety is the best tasting at any point in time. That ruins it for the quest to find THE best tsting variety, which is a life long process for the tomato obsessed, of which I am one. Sigh


Bushland, TX(Zone 6a)

Carolyn,glad to read your post,and what your saying,I'm hearing a lot from other people,the hierlooms are coming back strong,but the nurseriers are not following this theme,I wish they were,I'd like to try a few.I don't too good from seed,but am getting better at it lately,might ty again to germinate soome older varieties.

Lima, OH(Zone 5a)

Hi Don. Now, how did you know I was "older"??

Good to see you here.


Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

I've had good luck with "Stupice", an Heirloom tomato from the Serbia area. It had an excellent flavor, just the right size to hold in your hand, didn't "crack" as badly as some others, and was one of the first tomatoes to reach maturity.

I also agree that "Marianna's Peace" is another excellent & flavorful Heirloom 'mato.

"German Red Strawberry" was another delicious one. It was neat to share them with neighbors that always commented on the great flavor and interesting heart shaped fruit.

However, I didn't have much luck with "Cherokee Purple". It's probably NOT the tomato's fault, but our unusual weather that summer! Very interesting color too!

I'm in the Mid-Atlantic and our summers can really be hot and very humid! Plus, if we get a lot of rainfall during a particular summer, that also effects the taste & quality of the tomatoes.

During the summers that we have experienced droughts, the tomato flavors were not as intense, as I prefer them, but our hot peppers were "lovin' life"!

So, in my opinion, when it comes down to taste, it will vary from year-to-year depending on the weather conditions!

I've been growing 'maters for the past 25yrs and will continue to do so because I love them and I "pop" the cherry varieties into my mouth, as if they were candy!!! But don't tell my kids that they are a nutritious snack....then they might stop eatin' them! :~)

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

(I've had good luck with "Stupice", an Heirloom tomato from the Serbia area. It had an excellent flavor, just the right size to hold in your hand, didn't "crack" as badly as some others, and was one of the first tomatoes to reach maturity.)


Stupice isn't a Siberian tomato, (whoops, I think you meant Serbian, but that isn't known), it was bred in the then Czechoslovakia ( site not really known for sure, but presumed to be a plant breeding Institute which still exists), by an unknown breeder and many of his creations were distributed in the US by a fellow countryman, Milan Sodomka. So it isn't an heirloom, but I agree it's a darn good variety. If you like Stupice, please do yourself a favor and try Matina, which is also potato leaved and fruits about the same and days to maturity abut the same, in other words a look alike. But many folks, including myself, think Matina is better tasting. Matina is a German OP that was and is sold comnmercaily in Germany/Europe so also not a family or commercial heirloom, but again, one very very good early variety.

(I also agree that "Marianna's Peace" is another excellent & flavorful Heirloom 'mato.)

Looks like I'm the "odd" lady out on this one, but there are others as well, b'c I didn't think it was anything special compared to many other large pinks I grow. But I only grew it for the fist time this past summer and I will take a look at it again this sumnmner.

("German Red Strawberry" was another delicious one. It was neat to share them with neighbors that always commented on the great flavor and interesting heart shaped fruit.)

Now here we agree. LOL Seeds for this were sent to me by Majorie Morris and I introduced it to SSE from whence it has been widely distributed commercially. I also love it. Marjorie also sent me seeds for what I named Orange Strawberry and that resulted from one seed that was found mixed into a commercial pack of the gold/red bicolor Pineapple. A very different variety from Red, though, and no connection, the former being a family heirloom from Germany.

On this frigid wintry day with the winds blowing I just love to talk tomatoes. LOL


Caldwell, TX(Zone 8b)


That was from the spring 2003 and fall 2003 gardens. Prior to 2003 I had not grown it.


Bushland, TX(Zone 6a)

Hi Gloria,
Because you told me some years back,when we were trading hot and heavy!!!!LOL!
I didn't realize your love affairs for tomatoes thou!! I guess now I understand,Here I thought it was just Johnny,because her trades were better!!!LOL!
I think I will look for the strawberry one and the marrianans.

Lima, OH(Zone 5a)

Tomatogrowers.com has some really good seeds. I ordered their catalog online.

Bushland, TX(Zone 6a)

Thanks will give them a look at!!

N.C. Mts., NC(Zone 6b)

I like the little grape tomatoes. do you know where I can order some seed?

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Hmmm... best tomato? At this point, anything that will grow. Two misreable seasons in my garden has left me starving for a lovely vine ripened tomato warm from the sun and preferably eaten standing right where I picked it....barefoot. That's my favorite tomato by the way...first one of the season, carefully watched and anticipated.

Named varieties??? Well, each season brings surprises, and conditions affect taste, so what is wonderful one year, might be so-so the next. But, here are consistant residents of my tomato row...depends on weather as to who gets the blue ribbon each year.

I love bi-colors...I'm a sucker for them, can't help it. Several varieties are better than others in my garden, so I'll list the two favorites...I like Old Flame..aka Flame. great taste, very mild flavor. I also like the tomato that Craig Lehoullier found, a cross between Brandywine and an unknown...Lucky Cross. Both are great examples of bi-colors.

I like Kellogg Breakfast for an Orange/Gold slicer. It just has snap when you bite into it.
For an orange salad type, Jaune Flammee...one of my all time favorites...and early!

Pinks...Pruden's Purple does better in my garden than Brandywine. It's my mom's favorite. Reminds her of tomatoes she had as a kid...wish those seeds were still around...sigh..
Abe Hall is another pink that is good...and as my maternal family are Halls, we grow it.

Odd colors...Cherokee Purple and Aunt Ruby's German Green. They taste great and are a hit everywhere I take tomatoes to display.

Wes is a favorite with big red heart shaped fruits with an explosion of flavor.

The list could go on all morning, but each season brings favorites...and dissapointments. That's what makes it fun..as Forrest Gump said..'life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you'll get'.

Murfreesboro, TN(Zone 7a)

lizh, you can get grape tomato seeds from several commercial sources - do a websearch for "grape tomato seed" and you'll quickly come up with some. Or scroll down through these two-dozen-plus companies that all specialize in tomato seeds:


Happy hunting!

N.C. Mts., NC(Zone 6b)

Thanks Terry, I've ordered some and can't wait to get them. The Pizza Hut has the grape tomatoes on the salad bar and they are soo good.

Ellicott City, MD(Zone 7a)

Thanks for your great information, Carolyn. Sorry, I goofed with "Stupice"...thought it was from Serbia, not Czechoslovakia. It gets a bit confusing with all the political name changes.

I will definitely try "Matina" this summer. Thanks for the suggestion!

I also wanted to try "Aunt Gertie's Gold". Heard a lot of good things about this 'mato. Anyone have 1st hand knowledge?

As I was surfing the web, I came across a seed site that offered "Cherokee Chocolate", not "Cherokee Purple". Does anyone have any experience with this variety, which is "new" to me?

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Thanks Terry, I've ordered some and can't wait to get them. The Pizza Hut has the grape tomatoes on the salad bar and they are soo good


All grape tomatoes are not created equal. The original variety that started the grape tomato craze is still the best. Seeds cannot currently be sold by US based companies, but no problem. Just go to your local store and look for a shipped in pint that has Santa F1 on the label. Save seeds. Plant seeds. While it's a hybrid the segregation rate is very low and 99/100 saved seeds will come true.

(I also wanted to try "Aunt Gertie's Gold". Heard a lot of good things about this 'mato. Anyone have 1st hand knowledge?)

Sure, lots of first hand knowledge re myself and others. A large potato leaf plant with somewhat misshapen yellow to gold at maturity fruits with the most wonderful taste ever. This is not one to grow for cosmetic perfection but it is one to grow for outstanding taste. The variety was given to Chuck Wyatt, a friend of mine who had a seed site online and I first distributed lots of seed at another website. And I've sent seeds of it to several companies I respect for trial. Did that last Spring.

Seeds for it can be had at mariseeds.com now and I'm hopeful it will appear more places for this next season. Most places can't turn around seed in just one year for commercial sale. And it's also available to SSE membners thru the Yearbook where two of us listed it last year and I'm sure there will be more listings for 2004.

(As I was surfing the web, I came across a seed site that offered "Cherokee Chocolate", not "Cherokee Purple". Does anyone have any experience with this variety, which is "new" to me?)

They are essentially the same and I included both in my book, published in 1999, so not new. My friend Craig LeHoullier was the one who got seeds for CP from John Green in TN as I wrote in that write up Melody asked me to do on Indian Stripe. A spontaneous mutation occurred with CP leading to a change in the epidermis color of CP which makes it more of a muddy brown color. I know Mel has a copy of my heirloom tomato book and maybe she can describe the color better. I put the CChocolate in the book simply as an example of an epidermis mutation.

The only difference between a pink and red tomato is the color of the epidermis, speaking of color only. The mutation that changes that is not uncommon. Red flesh with a clear epidermis equals pink while red flesh with a yellow epidermis equals red . I maintain several varieties in both the pink and red forms.

So, with the two CP's they are otherwise identical except for exterior color.

There's also a Cherokee Green that you may run across which is scrumptious, but not yet available commercially and I don't think Craig has yet listed it with SSE, but maybe he did for the 2004 Yearbook. I forgot. It was sent to him by someone else and understanding the genetic mutation(s) that led to it is difficult.


Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Cherokee Green wasn't in last years Yearbook...maybe here in a week or two, we'll see if it's in this year's. I'm anxiously awaiting mine.

The best way I can describe the difference in color between CP and CC would be that the outside color has more of a dusky cast to it. Carolyn has described it as muddy...and that seems as close to what I see as anything out there.

The interior,for want of a better description looks more like a 'rotten' tomato than CP. The gel in the locules looks darker,but the meat is the same color. As she said, it's a mutation in the skin color, so a sliced one shouldn't vary much from the original.

Growing conditions can vary, and your location and conditions will affect how dark or light the skins are...and I assume the gel color too...but I defer to Carolyn's expertise on that item...I don't know for sure about the gel.That's just an assumption on my part. And it may just be individual tomatoes with darker gel,and another group of tomatoes might show CP with the darker.

I've found that years with excessive rainfall will make my 'off colored' tomatoes duller.This goes for the bi-colored ones as well. So conditions will determine if there is a huge difference between the two.

I know that CP has a rosier cast for want of a better word.I grow it every year...It's the only tomato my DH will eat.

Bushland, TX(Zone 6a)

Can anyone tell me which old variety,would have the less
seeds and thinnest skin?

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

A lot of the pink potato leafed tomatoes have few seeds and are nearly solid when cut. They have thin skins. So do bi-colors. That is a lot of the reason you don't see ripe ones in the supermarket...they do not ship well. Also another reason you see hybrids there as opposed to heirloom. Hybrids have been bred to have tougher skins so that they will withstand shipping.

One thing about skins that I've found...as the season rolls on, and temps heat up, skins get thicker. Early season tomatoes are much more fragile than the ones you get in August.

This could be a combination of temps and water supply, but something does it.

Is this an example of what you are looking for? This is Pruden's Purple. A pink PL tomato.

Thumbnail by melody
Bushland, TX(Zone 6a)

Hi Melody
Thanks for all the info,thats the type of tomato.I'm looking for,good looking mater!!

Seattle, WA(Zone 8a)

gosh, doesn't that make you hanker for a BLT? :)

Bushland, TX(Zone 6a)

Man!Ain't that the truth!!!

Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Me too folks!

I'm in the process of printing up some of my photographs for a presentation I'm doing next week at the Extension office and drooling all over the place...even bought some horribly overpriced grape tomatoes at the supermarket to munch on while I work!

While I'm, suffering, I might as well give ya'll a 'taste'(pun fulley intended) of what I'm seeing.

Here's a bi-color...(favorite type of mine)This one is called Old Flame, or Flame.

Thumbnail by melody
Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

Here's a bi-color...(favorite type of mine)This one is called Old Flame, or Flame

You know the background on that one, don't you Mel?

Crazy mixed up series of names on that one. LOL


Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

Sigh....I've heard Mennionites from VA....heard it called Hillbilly...a couple of other stories that I can't recall at the moment. What is the truth?? I'd love to know for sure, 'cause this tomato sure does like it here in West KY.

Incredible length of time to ripen...mid to end of July for me.Over 90 days from transplant, but I can't complain...they sure are good.

Salem, NY(Zone 4b)

OK Mel, the truth!!

Renee Shepherd introduced a variety called Olympic Flame the year the Olympics was help in LA.

What she offered was a selection done by Patty at SBD from a known gold/red bicolor although that is generally not known and the name of the variety was never disclosed.

The US Olympics Comm threatened Reneer with a lawsuit re using the Olynmpic name so she changed it to Old Flame.

Then folks started calling it just Flame.

So there are three varietiwas out there:

Olympic Flame
Old Flame

and they are all the same and all derive from that selectin made from a known bicolor.

Some misguided person added the name Flame to Hillbilly which was wrong.

Hillbilly existed long before Olympic Flame or it's offspring existed.

Then I went and messed up the situation by sending seeds of Jaune Flammee to Linda Sapp at TGS and in a rush left off the Jaune, so she listed it just as Flammee. And even after I told her of the error she continued to list it that way.

And since some folks forget that Flammee is spelled that way they sometimes spell it just Flame. Sigh

See what I mean on mixed up mess of names? LOL


Benton, KY(Zone 7a)

I've never heard the Olympic connection...this makes sense.I'm always suspect on the stories stating 'Amish or Mennionite heirloom' anyway.Glad you were here to straighten that one out. Adding it to my notes for the Extension office talk. I knew Hillbilly was a variety in and of itself,but sometimes they seemed to be mentioned in the same breath.

I also love Jaune Flammee...great little tomato, and early in my garden. Is it actually French? You didn't tell it's history in your book, and I'm curious.

For those of you who have never seen that one....here's Jaune Flammee.The color is actually a little darker than this shot. But you can see the reddish centers well.

Thumbnail by melody

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