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.