It is the end of August and the tomatoes are starting to ripen quickly. Hubby has been trying to avoid the taste testing – it fills him up too much. So tonight I am going to make a light meal with tomatoes for dessert (: Joy and Jeanette’s notes from a later tasting are included her as well.
Septoria has hit the garden. I am picking spotty foliage daily, but can’t keep up. It buckets down rain, then there is none. Whiteflies have infested the plants. The dreaded Hornworm has eaten plants. Hubby was drowning them – then I did it myself, now I actually just chop them in half with my pruning shears. But there are tomatoes, plenty of them!
JD’S SPECIAL C-TEX – Reviewed during the 1st set of tastings but had no photo. This actual fruit is smaller than most on the plant, but a lovely deep mahogany colour.From Conroe, Texas this tomato tasted kind of bland again. It was OK but not great. RATING: Hubby 7.5 Me 7
INDIAN STRIPE POTATO LEAF – A black tomato, similar in colour to JD’s but just a touch browner. The fruits look exactly the same as the RL Indian Stripe. Seeds from Carolyn Male in her annual Tomatoville seed offer of rare/new varieties. A large potato leaf plant. Sadly, this one was over-ripe, so I will fill in a rating when I try the next one! RATING: later!
LUCINDA – Another of Carolyn Male’s offerings. This one was grown in the greenhouse & the foliage loves it, the fruit is rotting on the vine. There are dozens of these unusual coloured toms on a gorgeous carrot leaf plant. It is Fred Hempel of Baia Nicchia Farm’s cross with Silvery Fir tree in its parentage. Another one that was over-ripe. RATING: later!
SILETZ – A round red, early & determinate. Mine wasn’t early, the plant itself stayed quite small. It didn’t get many fruit, but it was set back by a late frost & never seemed to really recover. Yet another one on this plate that went over-ripe. RATING: later! Hubby Me
HUANG SE CHIEH – A small “moon yellow” round Chinese tomato. Really pretty, but VERY cracked. Every fruit on the plant is split. Taste – horrible. Sour & tart. Maybe a good curry base? RATING : Hubby 3 Me 1
BLACK CHERRY – A perennial favourite. Sadly only 1 plant survived this year & it isn’t pumping out many cherries. A bit larger than most cherries. It is a sweet but tomatoey taste. Lovely. Hubby’s favourite cherry (tied with Sunsugar). Joy generally doesn’t like the black tomatoes & rates them low. RATING: Hubby 8.5 Me 8 Joy 6 Jeanette 7
FEURWERK – Early in my garden. The first fruits were plain red & I thought that I had a seed mix up. Turns out it was environmental. Which is great as it is producing dozens of small round tasty globes. The latest ripe ones have the yellow “firework” streaks! Tasty. Sweet & tangy with a strong aftertaste. RATING: Hubby 8.5 Me 8.5
STUMP OF THE WORLD – Introduced by Ben Quisenberry. The name is a biblical reference. The taste? Wow. I really loved it. Hubby liked Ben Gantz a bit better in the “pinks” category. It is a full taste, tangy & sweet. Rich. A great day for the big pink tomatoes! RATING: Hubby 8.5 Me 9.5
Several sites feed my tomato addiction. My 2 favourites are Tomatoville & Folia. I find the gardeners knowledgeable & kind. I also love the Buffalo-Niagara Tomato Taste Fest & browse GardenWeb, I Dig My Garden. Sample Seeds and Tatiana’s TOMATObase are great for info & seeds. I like the family run seed shops the best (:
MARMANDE – Slightly ribbed red fruit, supposed to be early but not in my garden this year. It was in the caged area – but was too tall. Prolific. Sadly it was very bland in our tasting. Blah. Better than the supermarket watery tomatoes, but that is about it. It will end up sauce! RATING: Hubby 3 Me 5
LIME GREEN SALAD – Bright green, dwarf plant, lots of fruit, but pulled just after picking due to septoria. Tom Wagner’s creation. Hubby thinks that maybe this one was a bit under-ripe. It was nice. Sweet but not a strong taste. It will get another chance next year! RATING: Hubby 8 Me 8
CHILE VERDE – Already reviewed in the first round & tasted fresh (blah) – but this was a better picture (: This pretty tomato is also bred by Tom Wagner. It is supposed to be late season – but it was early in my garden. Prolific. Cooked – it was really good. Rich & meaty. RATING: Hubby didn’t taste it cooked. Sweet, meaty rich unusual sauce. Me 8
DICE’S MYSTERY BLACK – Discovered by “Dice” Clayton Weaver from Tomatoville. “Tomatoey” is how hubby described this one. The aftertaste is nice. A bit on the mild side for me. About a dozen round fruits all ripened at once – great for canning! Joy & Jeanette both found it very mild. Not a lot of taste to rate according to them! RATING: Hubby 9 Me 7.5 Joy 5 Jeanette 5
BEN GANTZ – Paul Gantz’s cross of Stupice & Cherokee Purple. Named for his son. A dark pink fruit on a PL plant. Mmmm. VERY strong & tangy, with a nice balance of sweet & acid. Hubby’s favourite pink. I really liked it too. Ended up on a BLT! A grow again, definitely. RATING: Hubby 9.5 ME 9
BRANDYWINE YELLOW – A large dark yellow fruit, very prolific plant for me. This fruit was a strong taste, especially for a yellow. A bit on the sour side. RATING: Hubby 6 Me 6.5
CHEROKEE PURPLE – I reviewed this one in the 1st set of tastings – but it didn’t make the photo shoot. In the 2nd tasting it fared a bit better, but still bland. If you haven’t tried it yourself, I would suggest growing it in your own garden, as I am one of the few who doesn’t seem to like it! RATING: Hubby 7 Me 7
If you can’t pick what to grow, go to a tomato tasting. Last year I dragged hubby to the Buffalo-Niagara Tomato Taste Fest for our wedding anniversary. I promised beer & long weekend in Niagara. I tried about 50 of the varieties hoping to narrow down what to grow – and grew about 140 varieties – OOPS!!! The party was very inspiring. Hubby loved it (: No bribes this year!
WOW CHERRY – Hmm… supposed to be an orange cherry??? Mine are small plum shaped reds – just a bit larger than a cherry. Not a seed mix-up on my end, as I have nothing else like this. Thick skinned. Excellent. Tangy, sweet cherry taste. Prolific, tall plant. It would be perfect for salsa. I think it would stand up very well to the heat of canning. It is a great red colour with an orange glow. It is supposed to be a cross of Sungold & definitely has that Sungold zing! Very versatile little tomato. RATING: Hubby 8.5 Me 9
PAUL ROBESON – Grewn it in the greenhouse this year but it didn’t like the environment. Better producer outside. A Russian heirloom. Great taste usually in my garden. This one was over-ripe & will be reviewed later. RATING: later! Hubby Me
OSU BLUE – Has its own review blog. Meh taste, beautiful plant… Pictured here to show the contrast & size. Since hubby hadn’t tasted it, he tried this one. Horrible. Very sour & bitter. Strangely the tough critics Joy & Jeanette said it was bland but OK. RATING: Hubby 2 Me 2 Joy 5 Jeanette 4
GRUB’S MYSTERY GREEN – PL, early, discovered by Tomatovillan, “Grub” David Lockwood. To me it is a “green” tasting tomato, rich, sweet & tangy with an almost spicy undertone. A bit mild today. Joy & Jeanette didn’t like it. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 8 Joy 6 Jeanette 5 Update – early September: my rating is 9.5. Fabulous & rich!
EARL’S FAUX – Found by Earl Cadenhead, yes, another Tomatovillan. The biggest tomato of the day. Again, hubby liked Ben Gantz a bit better – but loved this one. Sort of a complex taste. Sweet with tang. It had a richness to it that I really enjoyed. It is the kind of classic tomato that most people love. I definitely loved it. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 9
Today was a “pink” tomato day. Favourites were Ben Gantz & Stump of the World. Earl’s Faux was just behind.
If you happen to be reading this soon after it was written – The Buffalo/Niagara Tomato Taste Fest this weekend, September 1st, on Grand Island, NY. The people are fantastic & welcoming. It is a great day. You can try a lot of the tomatoes that I have reviewed – or pick your way through the excellent pot-luck dishes. You can drink beer with my hubby & talk about anything but gardening or chat about gardening with the growers! Kids are welcome.