Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The 2015 Tomato Round-Up

Here's what I grew this year!

Paul Robeson 

Laurel of Heirloom Tomato Plants believes this is "the finest tomato in existence." It does not disappoint. The flavor is just amazing--rich, earthy, and complex. Most black tomatoes seem to be very tasty, but this one is something else.  Our plant wasn't the most productive but I will definitely grow this one again.  Frequently. Seeds from TomatoFest.

Summer Cider

I really like this one. I would describe the flavor as bright and fruity.  (I wasn't sure if I would like "fruity" in a tomato, but it's quite good.)  Good grower (did have some trouble in the heat),  nice big tomatoes.  Nice texture, too.  I'll grow this one again.  Seeds from Marianna's Heirloom Seeds.

Black Yum Yum

I chose this one on the recommendation of a lady in a Facebook heirloom tomato group who had a tomato tasting party, and Black Yum Yum was by far everyone's favorite. It is super tasty. Bright and zingy, with a deep rich flavor. They're generally slightly smaller than a golf ball, but there is quite a bit of variation in size .  Our plant was in a bad spot, being the last on the west end of the row--it got the brunt of the afternoon sun as well as the hot air from the heat pump blowing on it, but we still got a pretty good harvest. I'll definitely try it again in a better spot. Seeds from Marianna's Heirloom Seeds

Pruden's Purple

There's a guy in the heirloom tomato group who's always talking this one up, so I had to give it a try. Great flavor, nice meaty texture. The plant was one of my most vigorous growers at first and then had a little trouble in the heat, and wasn't setting blossoms for a while. We still got some really good tomatoes. Will grow this one again.  Seeds from TomatoFest.

Chadwick Cherry

A great cherry--prolific and tasty! This one became my go-to snack on the way in and out of the house... I'd just wander over and grab a few ripe ones. It's a bit on the larger side, as cherries go, and has a great flavor. Does split in the rain. Seeds from TomatoFest.


Small yellow cherry (the name means "little blond head" in German).  This one needs a lot of space and a lot of support. It starts out as a dense, compact plant, and then it sprawls everywhere. It grows huge clusters weighed down with dozens of fruit. (I was not prepared!) The flavor was not a favorite, though. It's strong and tangy but not very sweet. (Reports vary, though.  There may be different strains, or perhaps the taste is affected by soil or other conditions.) 

Chocolate Stripes

This is another one that I picked after reading the description on Laurel's site.  (She makes everything sound so good!)   It is a tasty tomato, and gorgeous.  The skin is a bit thick.  Supposed to be indeterminate but mine behaved like a determinate plant, for some reason.  I thought I had accidentally pinched off all the growth tips, and I kept waiting for it to sprout some suckers, but it never did.  (This was also the first plant that I pulled up at the end of the season, due to blight.)

Chocolate Cherry

Pretty much everyone who tried this one really liked it.  It's got an unusual flavor--almost a grape-like note, which sounds weird but it works.  It can get a bit sour when over-ripe.  Splits heavily in the rain.  I got the seeds from a swap on Facebook.

Amazon Chocolate

Another recommendation from Laurel.  It's got the rich, earthy flavors of the black varieties, with a bit of tang to it. I didn't like it quite as well as the Paul Robeson.  The first set of seeds I got didn't germinate, so I got these from somebody on Facebook. 

Big Rainbow

I was not impressed with this one. It has a strong tang but really nothing going for it. Not a good flavor at all. I kept trying it and it never got any better. It's supposed to be striped on the outside and have red veins running through the inside, but mine were just all orange, all the way through.  (Good vigorous grower, though. Just didn't taste good.) The seeds were from a packet (Ferry-Morse) that I picked up at Lowe's.  That may have been the problem.  Maybe I just got a bad strain. It's supposed to be a really good tomato. 

Todd County Amish

This is a super-tomatoey tomato. Like someone distilled the essence of tomato flavor and injected it all right here. This ended up being my "extra" plant, and it was in the backyard in not-quite-as-ideal conditions as the others, but it grew and produced pretty well.  Tomatoes were all fairly large, and had this deep star-shaped cracking around the stem.  I probably wouldn't grow it again, but it's just a matter of taste.  (I liked the Pruden's Purple better!)  Seeds from TomatoFest.

Black Krim

(I seem to have missed getting a picture of this one.) It's a popular tomato, and ours did really well, but honestly I found it a little bland after the Paul Robeson.


This one was a bust. Flamme (or Jaune Flamme) is described as having a "rich sweet flavor." It's also supposed to be spherical. I began to suspect something was amiss when mine came out looking more elongated. Gary at TomatoFest agreed that the parent plant probably got cross-pollinated with something else. What I got was not Flamme. These were nearly flavorless, which was really too bad as the plant was incredibly vigorous and productive. If Flamme grows anything like that (and tastes better) it's a winner for sure. I'll have to try again and see if I can get the real thing.

I went a little crazy this year--thirteen plants!  I don't think we'll be able to do that again, as we'll have to practice crop rotation to keep the soil healthy.  It was fun to try out so many varieties.  Now I'll have a better idea of what I want when I have to be more selective next year. 

These were all started indoors, and transplanted outside at the end of May (in the Tacoma, Washington area).  We had a very dry, sunny summer. 

This is a great book about all things tomato!

1 comment:

Heather T. said...

Nice to have such a thorough report! I never did that when I had a space for gardening, but I wish I had. You must be knee deep in tomatoes by now!! =)