What a lot of tomatoes! Ripe a week late for the Buffalo-Niagara Taste Fest…. Oh well…. This time our daughter T also helped in the tasting!
This year’s main ripening time seems to be the 1st weekend in September. Due to the number of plants in the ground, I have had a lot of tomatoes since the 1st week in August – but this weekend I am finally over-run with them. The bonus is that most are really starting to taste rich & scrumptious now. The problem is that my hubby & tasting partner is starting to lose interest in the rating part of the eating (:
CHEROKEE GREEN – A large green when ripe beefsteak, which seems to ripen suddenly & rot quickly. Argh!!! Decent yields on a tall plant. Very amber/yellow outside & very light meat for a GWR (green when ripe) inside. The taste is good. A touch bland but still fairly sweet. The green-when-ripes don’t seem to be as tasty as last year. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 7 T 8
CARBON – A saladette sized black tomato. Mainly round fruit with OK yields on a fairly short plant. Similar in colour to Gary’O Sena in my garden, sort of like a washed out looking black tomato. An OK taste today. A little blah. Sweeter than most of the other black tomatoes but not as rich & deep tasting as other blacks. RATING: Hubby 7 Me 7 T 7
NEVES AZOREAN RED – The seed originated in the Azores & was selected for its size of fruit. Nice job, as mine are all huge & easily over a pound! It isn’t a tall plant, but has OK yields. It didn’t go over very well with hubby & T. They say it is too bitter, I say tangy. I think it would make a great compliment to bacon on a BLT! RATING: Hubby 5 Me 7 T 6
BERKELEY TIE DYE HEART – The colour of Berkeley Tie Dye in the shape of a heart. From Brad Gates farm. The first fruit on the plant aren’t hearts – but it looks like the later ones are starting to change shape a bit. Tasty, very zingy, but we all want a bit more sweet. Not bland! Just like a regular Berkeley Tie Dye. RATING: Hubby 7 Me 7 T 6.5
AUNT RUBY’S GERMAN GREEN – A tall plant that is tied up all over, as the large fruit keeps weighing it down. Needs a lot more support next year. Hubby says zingy, I say sweet. Nice texture but it didn’t have the richness or balance of acid zing/sweet for any of us to rate it very high. T says pretty good but not great. RATING : Hubby 7 Me 7 T 7
ARBUZNYI – Already reviewed earlier in the season – but the colouring is much better this time of year. The stripes are very prominent & the colour is striking. Hard to miss it in the garden. Very short – but not in a great spot. It wasn’t as rich tasting as last review, a bit mealy. I didn’t like the aftertaste. Odd since it looked far nicer. RATING: Hubby 7 Me 6 T 6.5
When we are doing the tastings I cut a small piece – the size depends on the amount of tasting that we have to get through! I make sure that there is skin, seeds & gel as well as the “meat” of the tomato. Tough skins make a tomato less appealing to me & often the gel gives a lot of the taste. Often we alternate colours – but sometimes it is fun to directly compare all of the same colour.
HAYS – A large Bulgarian heart-shaped tomato. Grown in the greenhouse as a late addition, when I ran out of room in the garden. Too tall for the greenhouse. Grow it outside next year, with lots of support. Prolific with large fruit. A tradition “tomatoey” tomato. Tasty, sweet with a nice balanced taste. All perfect heart-shaped tomatoes. Has the creamy texture of a heart. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 8 T 7
NOT ‘O SENA GREEN – Supposed to be a green when ripe but it grew out as a large red with orange steaks. One of the tallest plants in the garden. High yields. Very sweet & tasty. We all really liked it & I will grow out the seeds again next year & see what shows up. I don’t think that it was a labelling mix-up, more likely a crossed seed from a trade. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 8 T 9
LUCINDA – Already listed in the last tasting review – but this one isn’t over-ripe! Zingy, almost sour tasting, but strangely good. The skin is too tough, but it was grown in the greenhouse & it was a tough year inside. A tall, bushy plant that went a little wild. The carrot-like foliage is great & the colours are striking. Seems to be getting quite a bit of BER. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 8.5 T 7
TOMESOL WHITE – The seeds that I was given were labelled White Tomesol. The first of the “white” tomatoes to ripen this year. Planted 6 weeks ahead of White Queen. The fruit is smaller & the plant shorter & less prolific. We all liked the taste of White Queen better last year. Very bland. Will make good salsa with a zingy orange and some Habanero! RATING: Hubby 6.5 Me 6.5 T 6.5
PURPLE HAZE F4 – A cross of Brandywine & Cherokee Purple until F4 which was then crossed with Black Cherry. This fruit is F4 of that cross. It is supposed to be a cherry, but it is more of a mini-beefsteak. Not many fruits on the knee-high plant, which is a pity, as we all loved it. A strong taste, like a cherry tomato. Zingy, sort of with the tang of Sungold mixed with a black fruit. RATING: Hubby 9 Me 9 T8
MALAKHITOVAYA SHKATULKA – Bred in Russia, the name meaning Malachite Box. Medium height, good yields. An excellent tomato. Great balance of zing & sweetness. How green when ripes should taste, but haven’t this year. This was Hubby’s favourite last year at the Buffalo-Niagara Tomato Taste Fest. T has decided that she likes greens better than black tomatoes. RATING: Hubby 9 Me 9.5 T 8.5
GREEN PEAR – Bred by Terroir Seeds. Not very tall or prolific, plus I keep eating them in the garden, so there was only one left to taste. Hubby & T shared it & I rated from memory! Oops. An excellent cherry tomato. Zingy, rich, sweet & very tasty. Grow again – but plant a couple to make up for lack of production. RATING: Hubby 8.5 Me 8.5 T9
LARGE BARRED BOAR – This one was well reviewed in the first tasting. The stripes are much more pronounced now, so I figured I would check the taste too! The same. Hubby loves it. Meaty & flavourful. Rich tasting with zing & sweetness. Like a typical black tomato taste. Gorgeous looking tomato on a medium height plant. RATING: Hubby 8.5 Me 8 T7
There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes to grow. Recently there have been a large number bred specifically for people with not much room to grow. They are dwarf tomatoes & are gorgeous little plants that grow easily in balcony pots! For some background info: Dwarf Tomato Project . I am growing several completed project tomatoes and growing out a few in progress, as seen on this plate!
NOT LEMON BOY F2 – From an oversized bright orange beefsteak that showed up in a cell pack of Lemon Boy that I bought to fill in the garden last year. The taste & colour were both so beautiful, that I decided to grow a few out. Very firm with few seeds. Would make a great canner. Nice but bland. Try again to decide wether to grow again.RATING: Hubby 6.5 Me 7 T 7.5
ORANGE RUSSIAN 117 – One of my favourites of last year. This was a megabloom, resulting in one of the largest fruits in my garden. Hubby says fleshy. Meaty sounds less disgusting. Robust & tasty. Very sweet like a regular heart-shaped tomato. Beautiful fruit on a very tall, prolific plant. An always grow in my garden. RATING: Hubby 7.5 Me 8.5 T 8
BYCHE SERDSTE ORANZHEVOE – A short plant with just a few tomatoes. Paler than KBX. It is meaty, but not as sweet. T & I thought that it was a bit bland. Strangely Hubby, who doesn’t usually care for yellows, oranges or white tomatoes really liked this one. T who loves the yellow/orange tomatoes didn’t like it at all. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 6.5 T 5
BEAUTY FAMILY DWARF (Cage bed plant)- Not labelled in the picture. From the Dwarf Tomato Project. Hubby hated it. T said pretty good. I said not bad. definitely a bit bland, but a nice tasting green. The plant is particularly hardy, fight septoria all summer & seems to be winning. Its disease resistance may rate a grow again status. RATING: Hubby 5 Me 6.5 T 7.5
BEAUTY FAMILY DWARF (Greenhouse plant)- From the Dwarf Tomato Project. This one is juicier than the outside grown plant. More of a “green” taste as well. A green when ripe with a brick-red blush radiating from the bottom. Similar taste to the outside grown plant but not mild. T really liked both of the dwarf plants, but this one is better. RATING: Hubby 7 Me 7 T 8
DWARF EMERALD GIANT – A 2011 release from the Dwarf Tomato Project. Not so good today. The dwarf tomato bed was covered in septoria, so I’m not sure that we are getting the true taste from the plants in that area. Most ended up with very few leaves. We all liked the Beauty dwarf better. Kind of bleck. Bland with a not great taste. Not a spitter though! RATING: Hubby 6 Me 6.5 T 6.5
COYOTE – A wild species of Mexican currant sized fruit, not technically a true tomato. Currant sized. Tasted a bit like White Currant at this point in the year – but as sweet or prolific as White Currant. T loved it. It is now in her lunch bag. I liked the taste better than White Currant early on – but the production problems mean it likely won’t get a place in the garden next year. RATING: Hubby 7 Me 7 T 9
The differences in taste amaze me. Each growing season contributes its own twist on the taste. Many are mealy & bland earlier in the summer & become beautiful tasting later in the season. Everyone’s taste buds are unique. I don’t like White Currant – but it was voted the 2nd best tomato at the Buffalo-Niagara taste fest. Bleck! I turn it into Tomato Chutney to hide the taste (:
ABSINTHE – An Alan Bishop Cross. A very tall plant with good production. The 2nd best tasting green when ripe today – Malakhitovaya Skatulka rated higher. I think that I will grow both next year! Rich & tasty with a hint of spiciness. Great texture, meaty, tasty and juicy all the way through. Taylor was our only so-so rating. RATING: Hubby 8.5 Me 8.5 T 7.5
INDIAN STRIPE – A monstrously ugly huge fruit on a medium-sized plant. Watermelon coloured inside. OK production this year. Grow again next year side-by-side with Indian Stripe Potato Leaf – and grow which ever produces more fruit after that! Worth a couple of spots in the garden. Strong tasting, tangy and sweet. Meaty with few seeds. RATING: Hubby 8.5 Me 8.5 T 8
GARDEN LIME – A medium height plant with decent production. I 1st tasted this while making sauce. Mmm.. sweet but not as rich as the other greens. I gave it an 8.5. It tasted even better at the Buffalo-Niagara Tomato Taste Fest where I would have given it a 9. Today it is bland. I think that I need to let it ripen longer for a more intense taste. RATING: Hubby 6 Me 7 T 7
BRANDYWINE SUDDUTH – Already rated highly in an earlier tasting, today was nowhere near as good. Put hubby in a bad mood & he rated it very low. Ignore this review & grow it yourself (: a short plant in my garden with tons of production. I think that this variety’s taste seems to really dependant on the growing conditions. RATING: Hubby 4 Me 6.5 T 7
KBX – The potato leaf version of Kelogg’s Breakfast. A medium height plant with low production in my garden. Too bad because the taste is outstanding & strong. T says that it tastes a bit like a cantaloupe with zing. Tangy, yet sweet. We all loved it. A definite grow again. The colour is absolutely amazing. Deep orange. (:RATING: Hubby 8 Me 8.5 T 9
NOT DOROTHY’S GREEN – This was supposed to be green when ripe, but it grew out as a round pink! Although production is good, the fruit cracks very easily & most is spoiled. Not very good tasting either. It has an odd aftertaste that none of us could place. It is sweetish with no tang or richness. Blah. I won’t save seeds from this one. RATING: Hubby 5 Me 6.5 T 6.5
I got a brand new pressure canner this week & am very excited. Sunday will be canning day. I will process a few of dozen jars of tomato sauce, a mountain of salsa (hubby’s favourite), tomato chutney – a great thing to do with the tastes & textures that aren’t may not work for sauce or salsa. I will dry thousands of cherry tomatoes to be rehydrated (usually with olive oil & wine) to add to winter cooking.
DONSKOI – A very tall plant. A red Russian heart. Fantastic for sauce. Meatiest of the year. Ran one through the saucer – barely needs cooking down. Sweet & tasty fresh! T & Hubby don’t agree. They think that it is a traditional tasting red tomato with nothing extra. I will grow it again anyone – no one complains about the sauce in winter! RATING: Hubby 6 Me9 T 7
DWARF JADE BEAUTY – A 2011 Dwarf Project release. I have had a hard time getting a ripe one to try. In the septoria filled bed, the fruits fall off & rot before turning colour. This one was horrible. Worst tasting of the day. Next year I will grow all of the dwarfs in planters & move them away at the 1st sign of leaf disease. Try it yourself – I would bet that it would be a great tomato under normal conditions ): RATING: Hubby 5 Me 5 T 5.5
INDIAN STRIPE POTATO LEAF- A new variety, seeds from Carolyn Male. Indian Stripe did really well in our taste test today, so I had high hopes for this one. It was good – not quite as good as the regular leaf fruit, but the taste was pretty much the same, just weaker. I love the potato leaf plants. They seem sturdier to me! RATING: Hubby 7 Me 7.5 T 8.5
PURPLE HAZE F4-Oops – already pictured & described on the 1st plate today (:
REBEL YELL F5 – Rob Gee’s cross of Stump of the World & Bear Claw. Massive plant with tons of tomatoes. A great taste. Hubby says it is just another traditional “tomatoey” tomato. He wasn’t fond of traditional today. I loved it. It is meaty with a great sweet/acid balance. I will grow this again for sure. All reports are that it seems very stable already at F5. RATING: Hubby 7 Me 9 T 7.5
MATT’S WILD CHERRY- Another wild Mexican currant sized red. The plant is kind of short – but seems to be picking up production as the cool air of fall hits. Very sweet & juicy, sort of a typical cherry tomato taste – didn’t put hubby off like the other traditional tastes today. (: T loves cherry tomatoes. Worth planting again, maybe by the fenceline garden. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 8.5 T 9
ANANAS VERT – Seeds from Belgium, French name (: Green Pineapple. A small plant with fruit that often rot on the vine this year. I have not been happy with the production or strength of the plant. T, who usually loves the greens didn’t particularly care for this one. It had an almost musty taste. Mealy. Strangely Hubby liked it! RATING: Hubby 7 Me 6.5 T 6
CUOSTRALEE – A french family heirloom. Large fruited red. A very tall plant, especially since it was planted very late this year. Production isn’t the greatest – maybe would improve in a better spot in the garden? Hubby’s favourite red so far. Very sweet & tasty. We all really enjoyed it – had it for dinner too! RATING: Hubby 9 Me 9 T 8.5
TASTED BUT NOT PICTURED ON PLATES:
LITTLE LUCKY – Craig LeHoullier’s accidental cross of Brandywine and (likely) Tad. A tall plant with quite a few fruit. Every tomato has tasted the same & every palette has loved it. Kind of rare in my garden! T & Hubby described as fresh & Summery. Fruity with a zingy sweetness. The hands down favourite of the day. RATING: Hubby 9 Me 9.5 T 9
LITTLE LUCKY HEART – The same pedigree as Little Lucky, but the heart shape was found by Reinhard Kraft. Possibly a mutation, but likely Yellow Oxheart or Ukrainian Heart were part of the cross. It has the exact same taste as little lucky & the plant also looks the same. Just a bit more productive this year. I think this fruit was just a tad under-ripe. Still excellent. RATING: Hubby 9 Me 9 T 9
DR.WYCHE’S YELLOW – I’m not sure that this is the correct tomato. It seems more bi-colour in my garden. I can’t find any others who have had the reddish streaking on the blossom end. There is no streaking inside. Hmmm… It was pretty plain in our taste test. I won’t grow this one again – Maybe try again with a different seed source? RATING: Hubby 6 Me 7 T 7
THE WINNERS: The clear favourite was Little Lucky, with Little Lucky Heart a very close 2nd. Malakhitovaya Shkatulka, Cuostralee and KBX were also highly rated today.
I was very well-organized today & even got a shot of the cut up tester plates & leftovers to be canned!
The rest ready for canning today!