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Amparo Bertram

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06:42 pm: Tomato report
I have a bunch of things to say about this past weekend, but I'm going to postpone that until I have the chance to get some pictures off my camera. (Darn Warcraft expansion, devouring all my spare time!) As my tomato harvest season begins drawing to a close, however, I thought I'd give a quick summary of my results. I intend to write up a full report analyzing all ten varieties that I grew, including multiple factors such as appearance, disease resistance, and yield, but that has to wait until I get pictures taken of the tenth variety (which is only now beginning to ripen fully).

Here is a list of the top five varieties from this year's trial:

5. Riesentraube
I received a packet of these heirloom cherry tomato seeds free with an order this spring, and I figured it couldn't hurt to try. Most of the reviews say that it's a high yielder, and when I saw its branches frothy with hundreds of flowers, I thought I was in for a flood of tomatoes. Disappointingly, only a tiny fraction of the flowers actually produced any fruit for me. I don't know whether that was due to the temperature or amount of water the plant received or some other factor. It might have produced better in a different year. Regardless, even a small percentage turned out to be a significant number of cherry tomatoes. The flavor is exactly the "classic" tomato that one might expect. If that's what you're after, this is a good variety to try.

4. Japanese Trifele Black
This heirloom produces tomatoes of varying size--some are the compact size of a Roma, some are three or four times as big. The main attraction of this variety is the flavor. It is rich and sweet, making delightful sandwiches as well as sauce. Another benefit is the relative disease tolerance. One downside is that it was comparatively late maturing for me, so I was harvesting many other varieties before these were ready. For someone with a short growing season, it might not be ideal. Also, the frumpy pear shape with green shoulders wasn't as attractive to look at as some of the other tomatoes.

3. AAA Sweet Solano
This tomato is a stunning bright orange that is just fun to look at. It produces consistently medium-sized fruit. For a non-plum tomato, the flesh is relatively dense, so it is not bad for making sauce, and the flavor is decent. It showed some disease susceptibility and suffered a small amount of bird damage, yet still managed to produce a reasonable yield.

2. Sweet Beverly
Unlike the bright yellow in the photo on the web site, this cherry tomato ripened to a glowing golden orange for me. It produces a bountiful harvest of relatively sweet fruit that are quite attractive, looking like strings of Christmas lights on the vine. The major disadvantage for me is that it took longer to mature than the other two cherry tomato varieties that I tried, so I had to wait longer to eat it.

1. Snow White (also available as seeds)
This heirloom cherry tomato blew everything else out of the water. For one thing, the flavor is unbelievably sweet and fruity. It is definitely the best tomato I've ever tasted, and I took advantage of the berrylike sweetness to make jam and dessert tarts with them. For another thing, the yield is incredible. Just one plant produced so much that even with making dozens into jam, there were still too many for me and my parents to eat, so I took a bunch to work to share. (They were universally popular among my coworkers.) It was the first of my tomatoes to begin ripening and it is STILL going strong. To top it all off, the light golden color is beautiful to look at (and not as attractive to birds as red tomatoes). This one is definitely going in my garden next year.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:September 28th, 2012 01:31 pm (UTC)
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Wow, so Snow White is even sweeter than Sweet Beverly? We'll have to be sure and try those next year. (We also need to start our seeds earlier next year; it's getting too chilly now for our tomatoes to want to ripen, even though there are tons of green ones still on the plants.)
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:September 29th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC)
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Wow, so Snow White is even sweeter than Sweet Beverly?

It's distinctly sweeter, and it's also more complex. It's the type of flavor that could really convince someone that tomato is a fruit.
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