tomato tasting results

Here are the results of the 2008 Fairweather Farm tomato tasting.
There were 38 ballots cast. And the winners are:
#1 – Sungold
#2 – Rose de Berne
#3 – Purple Cherokee

Best Flavor
WINNER: Rose de Berne (7)
RUNNERUP: Sungold (4)

WINNERS: Ananas Noire (6) and Black from Tula(5)
HON.MENTION: Lillian’s Yellow (3), Peron (3), Rose de Berne (3)

Best Red
WINNERS: Rose De Berne(11) and Stupice(9)
RUNNERUP: Peron(5)

Best Purple/Black
WINNER: Purple Cherokee(17)
RUNNERUPS: Black Cherry (5) and Black from Tula (5)

Best Orange
WINNER: Tobolsk (9)
RUNNERUPS: Kellog’s Breakfast (5), Tangerine (5), Lillian’s Yellow(5),
and Sungold (5).
HON.MENTION: Plum Lemon (3), Ananas Noire (3)

Best Cherry
WINNER: Sungold (13)
RUNNERUPS: Gardener’s Delight(6), Tiny Dancer (6), and Peacevine (5).
HON.MENTION: SunSugar (4), Gabrielle(3),

Best of the Best
WINNERS: Sungold (7) and Rose de Berne (6).
RUNNERUPS: Purple Cherokee (4) and Stupice (4).

While Sungold won “Best of the Best” by one vote, Rose de Berne beat Sungold both in Best Flavor and prettiest. So I suspect bias, due to the order of questions in the survey data isn’t fair… cherry tomatoes are right before the Best of the Best.

Overall the votes were all over the map this year; for example, out of 30 entries, 19 different tomatoes got votes for best flavor, but 17 of those had just one or two votes each. Only three varieties got no votes in any category: Talledega, Green Grape, and Odoriko.

The entries:

Peron Sprayless
Rose de Berne
Super Fantastic
Red Brandywine (Karen)
Momotaro (Karen)
Odoriko (Karen)

Paul Robeson (may not be true to type, red not purple/black)
Purple Cherokee
Black from Tula

Lillians Yellow Heirloom
Plum Lemon
Kellog’s Breakfast (ElizabethR)

Ananas Noire
Marz Round Green

Tiny Dancer
Dr. Carolyn’s Pink
Matts Wild Cherry
Sungold (both Lisa & AlanS, and we didn’t ask people to differentiate)
Peacevine Cherry
Green grape
Gardeners Delight (AlanS)
Black cherry (AlanS)

I had picked a Palestinian, but it was a beauty that weighed 2 pounds
1 oz. so we just admired it rather than cutting it up. Someone brought
in a single small Garden Peach, which we also set aside to look at.

tomato tasting results

We had our biggest tomato tasting this weekend. Had about 25 tomato varieties for tasting, and about 41 people wrote down opinions.

The clear winner was Ananas Noire! It came first in best flavor, prettiest and best overall. Best red was Rose de Berne, best yellow/orange was Tangerine, best purple/black was Black Prince. Best cherry was a tie between Peacevine Cherry and Sungold.

Some other interesting notes:
– Tiny Dancer was third in cherry tomatoes and second in yellow/orange.
– 18 different tomatoes got one or more votes for best flavor… and 13 different tomatoes got one or more votes for best overall; which goes to show how different people’s tastes are. We had kids, parents, young folks, old folks, all age groups except about 10-20.
– Thessie-O and sub arctic plenty got “yuck” comments.
– Brown berry was much favored over Black cherry.

Alas for the ones that got sick and were pulled out… no brandywine or big rainbow this year 🙁

Early tomatoes – variety trial report

It’s time so start tomato retrospective (as I clear out the dead tomato plants – one of my least favorite chores). We plant a large variety of tomatoes, and usually we take careful records of which ones people like and their opinions. This year was so hectic we only have good data in the category of early tomatoes. But that was a good trial.

The early tomatoes tested this year were Stupice, 4th of July, Polar baby, Silvery Fir Tree, Early Pick, Oregon Spring, and Red Robin – all red tomatoes. The best find was Polar Baby – wow, it’s early. It’s unclear which of 4th of July, Stupice and Early Pick we’ll grow; Early Pick and 4th of July have better flavor, but Stupice is open pollinated. Silvery Fir Tree and Oregon Spring are out. Red Robin only if I’m inspired to experiment more in containers – it wasn’t really worth it.

The Data:

(note on dates: we had an exceptionally late, wet, spring this year – lots of rain in May and June. With our cold nights and clay soil, it takes tomatoes a while to get started and most production is in August, September and October. Official last frost is April 30, locals say May 15 is tomato-safe, but last couple of years we’ve had killing frosts in late May. This year we had no frosts after April 25 or so. And the killing frosts in late October were right on time – though we were spared the usual regular light frosts earlier in the month.)

Stupice (OP/Peter’s Seed)
seeds started early March, planted in garden 4/30
first ripe 7/20
Small red salad type. Very sweet (“too sweet”). Productive for a long time.

4th of July (Hybrid/Burpee)
seeds started early March, planted in garden 4/30
first ripe 7/20
Small red salad type. Great flavor, much more flavor than stupice but not as sweet (“too sweet”). Productive for a long time. tends to crack.

Polar baby (OP/Peter’s seed)
seeds started early March, planted in garden 4/30
first ripe 7/2 (maybe before, I wasn’t checking!)
entered in county fair 7/16; won first in “red tomatoes”
Very small plant. Tomatoes were small, red, sweet but not much flavor – only worth it since they are remarkably early, several weeks before any others. Gave up producing in midsummer.

Silvery Fir Tree (OP/
seeds started early March, planted in garden 5/14
first ripe in august
Medium-small tomatoes, larger than salad type. Nice foliage. Terrible flavor in our trail. Not productive, had disease problems.

Early Pick (Hybrid/Burpee)
seeds started early March, planted in garden 5/14
first ripe 7/29
Medium-small tomatoes, larger than salad type. Lots of flavor: more flavor but less sweet than stupice.

Oregon Spring (OP/Pinetree)
seeds started early March; planted in garden 4/30
first ripe mid-july
Medium-small tomatoes, larger than salad type. more acidic, less flavor, consistency not great.

Red Robin (OP/
seeds started early March; planted in pots in late April
First ripe late June
entered in county fair 7/16, won first in “cherry tomatoes”.
Very small, compact, designed for containers.
In container outside: very small, very flavorful tomatoes. In greenhouse: much larger, watery and bland. Haven’t tested in the ground.

Tomato report 2004

I grew too many tomatoes of too many varieties this year – over 30 types, maybe 50 plants. I went a little crazy after last year’s fun with 15 or so varities… It was hard to tell all of them apart and keep track of what was what. Lots of very happy chickens around here, though, and a turkey with a terrible tomato addiction.



Purple Cherokee
– I really liked this last year, though it wasn’t terribly productive.
This year it’s pretty late and not as tasty as I rememeber (maybe location related), and cracking. I’ll give this one more year. Bountiful.
Pink Caspian
– not distinctive. Very large, pink. Fairly vigorus and productive. Probably won’t plant again. Trade.
Prudens Purple
– actually a pink rather than purple. Large. Did poorly on taste tests; won’t plant again. Fairly prolific for large heirloom, fairly vigorous. Trade.
Black Krim
– last year this produced nothing (disease). This year, it is healthy but very late, cracking, not much flavor. May not be in a great location (it was next to the purple cherokee). I’d like to give it another chance, but this may not make the cut. Bountiful.
Black Plum, Black Prince
– I got both these varities in different trades, and they are exactly the same. Early, profilic, vigorous, medium-small to small dark round tomatoes. Excellent flavor; high marks in most taste tests, very sweet and tomatoey. No BER. A lot of cracked shoulders, and split badly after picking. I’ll definately grow this again. Trades.
Purple Calabash
– small, extremely corrugated and flattened, strongly flavored, purple. Most people didn’t like the flavor; one person loved it. Early and prolific. I’d only grow this again for visual effect, it was terrible for consumption. Territorial.
Kellog’s Breakfast
– very delicious, sweet and tomatoy, orange/yellow orange. Scant bearer. Reasonably early. While it tasted great, Rainbow and orange banana were both better. Slightly different flavor from Amana, but otherwise very similar/hard to tell apart. Trade.
Amana Orange
– very delicious, sweet, orange/yellow orange. Scant bearer. Reasonably early. While it tasted great, Rainbow and orange banana were both better. Slightly different flavor from Kellogs, but otherwise very similar/hard to tell apart. Baker.
– Last year these were large, this year they are medium size. Orange/red. Delicious – our neighbor’s consistent all time favorite. Decent bearer. I’ll keep growing this. Bountiful.
– not too tomatoey, but very sweet. Unusual flavor; one taster’s favorite. This year it was a very scant bearer and somewhat late; last year more prolific. Last year was “evergreen” from Bountiful, it’s possible this is “emerald” from Baker. I’ll keep growing it for the mix, but it’s not much use for anything else. (the color makes it dreadful dried or canned)
Tappy’s Heritage
– Large red tomato, reasonably early. Failed taste tests, too acid, not enough flavor. Won’t grow again. Baker.
Omar’s Lebanese
– large red tomato, okay flavor. Late, fairly profilic. Baker. Iffy on growing this again. Baker.
– decent red prolific and vigorous. Doing well late season. Iffy on growing this again. Trade.
Arkansas traveller
– medium-large pinkish round. Flavor not as good as Ace. Late-ish, fairly productive. Won’t grow agin. Baker.
Burpee Burger (hybrid?)
– very large, very red, burger type. Okay flavor. Late, the plant is very small, maybe location related. A fine workaday tomato; might well grow this again. Burpee.
– sweet and tasty medium-large red. Some taste taster’s favorites. Prolific, fairly vigorous, reliable. My old favorite. Territorial.
– sweet and tasty medium-large red. Prolific. It’s difficult to distinguish Peron, Pearson and Medford; this one may not make the cut, but it’s an excellent tomato. Baker.
– very sweet and flavorful red medium size. From purchased start, and it ended up smaller than the others. Fairly prolific; may be less productive late in season. A locally originating variety. My favorite in most of the taste tests. I’ll definately grow this again. Local nursery.
– large pink. This year they are not doing very well on the taste tests. Probably will plant again just since it’s famous. Bountiful.
Joker (hybrid)
– medium small red tomato. A lot of blossom end rot early on. Fairly good flavor. Not vigorous, moderately productive. Probably won’t plant this again. Twilley
Thai Pink Egg
– what a dreadful tomato. Small, unusual pink color and shape, acid, no tomato flavor. Fairly prolific and early, not terribly vigorous. Baker.

Gabrielle (hybrid)
– an amazing find, small meaty grape tomato, excellent flavor. Extremely profilic, not terribly vigorous, fairly early. Late season cracked badly, and generally unhappy with weather. Will definately plant again. Twilley.
Mexico Midget
– “eh”. Very vigorous, small juicy round cherry tomato. Some people preferred this to Gabrielle, but I do the planting so we’re not likely to grow again. Not terribly prolific, maybe the location wasn’t sunny enough, or too much N (it made a lot of plant). Trade.

Principe Borghese
– Got seeds in a trade. Supposed to be a paste type, but they came out basically as a cherry tomato. Very early and prolific; I was happy with them in July or August, but ripped them out early in September. I won’t grow these seeds again, though I may purchase seeds in case it’s a mislabel. Trade.
Viva Italia (hybrid)
– great sauce tomato; lot of BER. Territorial.
Saucy (hybrid)
– good sauce tomato; not sure on BER. Territorial.
Health Kick (hybrid)
– great sauce tomato (large and firm but not much flavor); not much BER. Burpee.
– second year with these, I’m not impressed. Late, not productive, ripen unevenly, some are small. Not much BER. I doubt I’ll plant it next year; still looking for a large OP sauce tomato.
Orange Banana
– sweet, profilic, orange paste type, largish for a paste. A lot of mild stem end cracking/green shoulders, no BER at all. A quiet but hard working tomato, I’m definately growing this again.

Long Keeper
– not entered in any taste tests (none ripe as of october 18!)
Sweet Million (hybrid?)
– planted late; not entered in any taste tests. Plant from local nursery.
Oregon Spring
– badly located; not entered in any taste tests. Territorial.
4th of July (hybrid)
– badly located; not entered in any taste tests. Burpee.
Early Girl (hybrid)
– badly located; not entered in any taste tests. Burpee.