Wednesday, April 25, 2012

2011 Tomato Review

Since I didn't start any tomato seeds this year except the one that I just planted (and still has not germinated yet *sigh*), I'll be buying all of my tomato plants as starters this year.  Tomato starts are just starting to appear at the local nurseries here in Portland, Oregon.  A lot of local nurseries sell the coveted heirloom varieties but they sell out fast.  I have found a good selection of heirlooms at both Portland Nursery and Farmington Gardens in the past.  In the next few weeks, I'll be on the lookout for my favorites and maybe a few new varieties.

I have already started snatching up my favorites as I see them since these are smaller plants and cheaper than their larger counterparts.  I thought I would take the opportunity to make notes on the tomato varieties I grew last year as I make my wish list for must finds this year.  For 2011, I managed to harvest 83.29 pounds of tomatoes and these were the varieties I grew.

2011 Tomatoes
Ananas Noire (aka Black Pineapple)
Pretty tomatoes with tie-dyed colors of green, pink, red, purple.  Moderately productive but not my taste.  Fruits were a little acidic and not very tasty.  Will not grow again

Black Plum Cherry
I thought this would be a cherry tomato (small) but it really ended up being a small plum tomato.  The plants were productive and the fruit was sweet yet tangy.  Good tomato but I probably would trade it for a full sized tomato.

Cherokee Purple
One of my staples.  Love the deep colors of rose to purple and the sweet and rich flavor.  Productive plant.

Early season tomato that was very productive throughout the growing season.  Produced my first ripe tomatoes.  Taste was less than impressive.  Will look for another early tomato to try this year.

Green Zebra
I love love love green zebra!!  It has also worked it's way into my staples.  Very productive smaller tomatoes (about 2 inches) but very tasty!  Flesh is green and has just enough tart to make it interesting.  Not a lot of acid like you would think it should.  It's a nice change in the garden and the colors are gorgeous!

Kellogg's Breakfast
I grew this for the first time last year.  I loved the colors (yellow to orange) and the flavors (sweet with a  hint of tang).  Large beefstake tomatoes that I would grow again!  In fact I've already found a starter for this year!!

Paul Robeson
I love black/purple tomatoes.  This one has earned it's place in my garden every year.  Last year, it was my first ripe main season tomato and has been highly productive 2 years in a row.  It sets fruit at lower temperatures so it's perfect for the Pacific NW.  Colors are red to purple with green shoulders.  No problems with cracking here.  Fruit is sweet with enough balance of acids.

Beautiful large yellow fruit.  Taste is sweet with a hint of the tropics.

Roma & San Marzano
Both of these paste tomatoes grew okay for me.  I think I like the San Marzano better.  I will try to look for other varieties to try this year.  On my wish list for this year is Heinz or Amish Paste.

Sun Gold
This has always been one of my favorite cherry tomatoes.  Very productive and sweet!!  This is always in my garden!


Shannan Deshazer said...

This is an awesome post! Great descriptions.

Do you only grow heirloom varities? If you are open to hybrids, I really like Stupice as an ultra-early tomato and last year Legend grew reliably and acid was pretty even. Both of these I'm growing this year.

I grew San Marzano last year for hte first time and they were terrible! almost completely unproductive. I'm sure it had a lot to do with the weather, but still, some of my other tomatoes were so much better. There is a saucing tomato called 'Cuore di Bue' from Territorial Seeds that I started. I'm really excited about this one - I hope it grows well. Too bad I'm pretty much out of room because I would love to try some of the varities you mentioned. I'm very familiar with the territorial seed catalog and I recognize almost all of the tomatoes you mention. I've always wanted to try Kellogg's Breakfast so if I can find a start, I'm doing it!

This year I'm growing: Pineapple (love that one!!), Cher Purple, Chocolate Cherry, Legend, STupice, Big Beef, and Cuore di Bue.

Charmcitybalconygarden said...

This is a fantastic post Holly! Thanks so much for the review. I read somewhere else that the green zebra is fantastic...OK....too much to add to my list of plants:)

scrapper al said...

My favorite paste tomatoes are Amish Paste and San Marzano, but both are hit or miss depending on the year/location/etc. I think Amish Paste is more reliable than San Marzano.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

I have never tried any of the tomato variety on your 2011 list. But I just bought Green Zebra tomato seeds. Hearing your good review about this tomato, I am looking forward to grow it next spring.

~Holly~ said...

Shannan: I grow cherry tomatoes, one early variety, paste tomatoes and everything else is a mix of a few new and a couple of tried and true. Most are heirlooms. I love colorful tomatoes and ones with complex flavors. Also being a productive plant doesn't hurt! I'll have to look into Stupice and Legend for next year. I did Glacier and although it was early and stayed productive through the season, it was just ok tasting. Let me know how the Cuore di bue grows. I did pineapple last year and they were big, pretty and yummy! I have a lot of tomato seeds so if you're looking for anything in particular, email me.

~Holly~ said...

CCBG: Thanks! I hope you find it helpful. LOL! I love love love green zebra. Although it doesn't have a traditional tomato taste, I love the color and flavor. It's also very productive!

scrapper al: I've been dying to try amish paste but all I could find this year was grafted plants. It was expensive but I bought it to give it a whirl. Supposed to be highly productive. We'll see. I had ok results with san marzano last year. I panicked and bought another one this year. I'm not very optimistic so it's getting kicked to the curb if it doesn't produce! =0)

MKG: Oh, I hope you love Green Zebra as much as I do. They're so pretty...lime green with yellow.