tomatoes 2011

And the winners are:

  • Black Krim: I grew this last year in our terrible tomato year and it was the most stalwart and generous producer.  Small to medium-sized pinky brown tomatoes, not the prettiest but the flavor was great and they continued to ripen on the vine late into the fall.
  • Marbella: New variety for Territorial.  Heart-shaped red main season tomato.  A workhorse, I hope.
  • Chocolate Stripes (grafted tomato): I thought I’d shell out 4-5 times as much for a grafted tomato this year just to try it out.  A sucker born every minute.  But I couldn’t find this particular variety anywhere else in town, so it’s worth a try!
  • Amish Paste (3): Yield and plant health for these paste tomatoes are not as good as my favorite variety so far, Saucey, but the taste was much better off the vine and in sauce.  Also problem with blossom end rot, which I’ll preempt this year if I can.  If it’s a bust this year, then next year I’ll try Opalka.
  • Green Zebra: My husband has been begging for these for years.  Probably easier to grow and better yield than the big ol’ heirloom greens I’ve been babying.
  • Sungold: Goes without saying.
  • Japanese Black Trifele: I really like black tomatoes, as you can see.
  • New Hampshire Red Pickling:  Abundant Life says this little red pear tomato has a thick wall and smoky flavor that holds up for pickling. I found information about its hybridization here:

Some tomato growers in southern New Hampshire produce green tomatoes for pickles. The variety Red Pear which has been used for this purpose has an indeterminate plant with fruits distributed at some distance along the stems. The cost of harvesting green tomatoes for pickles is comparatively high because of uneven maturity of fruits. For this reason, we decided to produce a red-pear tomato on a determinate vine which would be earlv and which would produce a large crop at one time so that the cost of production could be reduced. The ordinary red-pear tomato was crossed with Fargo Yellow Pear, a variety produced some years ago at North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station.

The F^ -hybrids had a long vine and red fruits, and were productive and early. Seed from them gave many kinds of plants: some were determinate, some long, some with red fruit, some with yellow, some with uniform fruit color and some with fruits having green butts, some late, and some early. Selections were made from the early fruiting types with a fairly small, pear-shaped, red tomato. Since this is a comparatively simple breeding project, only two calendar years were required to complete it, during which time one generation was raised in the field each year and two in the greenhouse. The final result is New Hampshire Red Pickling Tomato from which one can pick a thousand tomatoes of pickling size per plant at one time. The variety has met with favor (Albert F. Yeager and Elwyn M. Meader, UNH Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 440 June 1957).

If any of these don’t work out, I’ve also got my neighbor’s saved-seed Cherokee Purple seedlings, which seem to yield more and more each year (perhaps thanks to cross-pollination with my Frankensteins.)

By the way, it’s still a touch early in the Willamette Valley to be planting tomatoes, especially with this cold wet weather.  I’m keeping the seeds warm and dry in a sheltered area for another week or so.

Other tomato varieties to consider for Eugeniuses: Celebrity, Legend, Taxi, Black Cherry, Early Girl, Brandywine.  I’ve never been impressed by any of the ultra- or extra-early varieties, or any of the Italian plums, as far as taste goes.


5 thoughts on “tomatoes 2011

  1. Suzi Steffen 7 May 2011 / 8:27 am

    Ha, as I read this, I thought, “You’re planting TOMATOES? We’ll surely have a freeze soon, then,” and then I came to your “by the way … ” which, yeah. This has been a chilly little spring — which might save all of us from planting our tomatoes and beans (I have some Rio Zapes to plant!) too soon. Thanks for the recommendations. We don’t have a lot of room and usually go with just a few tomato plants, but we’re about to purchase a backyard & then WOOOOT! tomatoes and corn! I’ll use your recs as a guideline.

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  2. Eugenia 7 May 2011 / 8:47 am

    Thanks, Suzi! I added another paragraph about other varieties of sterling repute in the Willamette Valley just for you.

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  3. Dave Taube 7 May 2011 / 9:20 am

    I tried to start lavender seeds in a small pot in my kitchen last fall. The lavender didn’t sprout, but a tomato did. I transplanted it and put it in a window in my entryway and it’s around eight feet tall now, with a few blossoms. It’s very spindly and not very strong, but I just put it in my greenhouse and I’m waiting a few more weeks before putting it outside. This could be one monster tomato plant if it keeps growing all sumer.

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  4. Brooke - in Oregon 23 May 2011 / 7:43 am

    I LOVE the Japanese Black Trifele, such a amazing flavor. If the green zebra’s don’t work try Aunt Ruby German Green. We like these much better and they did quite well last year along with the Pineapple tomato which was so yummy. I agree Black Krim is a great performer and to me has much better flavor than the purple Cherokee. I am trying Isis Candy, Black Cherry, Red Fig and Amish Gold which is a cross between Amish Paste and Sungold. (just to name a few) I am a tomato freak! lol

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