It seems like summer just started & I am pulling out dying plants & turning beds to get ready for winter. Yuck. The problem that I find with tomatoes & cold fall weather is that they get bland & mealy. They don’t really get a fair shot in taste tests. But I suppose that if they can’t ripen in time to be good in my area, they aren’t worth growing in my garden. This August & September have been unusually chilly, so maybe some of these deserve another growing season!
LUCKY CROSS – An accidental cross grown out & stabilized by Craig LeHoullier. Possibly Brandywine & Tad. Good. Meaty with not a lot of gel. Hubby really like this one. He thought that it was very tasty. Great for sandwiches. He also says that it is fleshy – which creeps me out. I liked it, but was hoping for a bit more sweetness. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 7.5
EARLY KUS ALI – A small round red Chinese saladette sized tomato. Supposed to be prolific, but wasn’t a great producer in my garden. In its defense, it was put out very late in a so-so prepared bed. Kind of bland today. Very tomatoey, not really sweet or zingy. A good tomato, but the saladette size isn’t my favourite. I prefer the hearts, beefsteaks & cherries! RATING: Hubby 7 Me 7
TUXHORN’S RED & YELLOW – This is a late plant produces only a couple of tomatoes in my garden before it is done. But I grow it for the taste. Today this one is bland. The one that I had last week was fantastic. That is the problem with the late season bi-colours. Once it gets cool they lose their taste, but they don’t get ripe until a few days before it gets cool. RATING: Hubby 6 Me 6.5
FIRST MATE – A regular leaf version of Captain Lucky. Captain Lucky is a potato leaf cross from Lucky Cross. Tomato ancestry is like The Young & the Restless. We tasted this one earlier in the summer & rated it 9&9.5. This is a great example of a tomato that likes heat to develop its flavour. Today it is just another bland one. RATING: Hubby 6 Me 6.5
ANNA RUSSIAN (NOT) – Supposed to be a pink heart. I only had 2 seeds of this one & was really looking forward to it. One plant got shmucked while transplanting & the other gave me a bicolour beefsteak. This one was sweet with no zing. Also good – but not great. I won’t bother saving the seeds, as there are other bicolours that I like better. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 7.5
BRAD’S BLACK HEART (NOT) – Discovered by Brad Gates this is supposed to be the 1st black heart. Mine is not. It is a red round saladette. Has a definite zing. A good tomato – tasty, but it looks very red to me. Not sure that this one isn’t crossed. Not saving the seed to try again with this one, although it is OK. I am not big on the saladette size. RATING: Hubby 8 Me 7.5
A lot of these last tomatoes were crosses. To avoid crosses you should isolate plants with a bit of distance or bag the blossoms. To bag the blossoms just get some of the little mesh wedding candy bags from the dollar store & tie around flowers before they open. You can take the bag off after the blossom has set fruit. Just make sure that you mark the bagged fruit! July was too hot this year for me to bag anything. The heat killed all of the bagged blossoms.
JUSTINE HEART (NOT) – This is supposed to be a heart-shaped tomato. Not my plant – it is an oblate shape & it is very bland. Nothing special. Neither of us particularly disliked it . But we also didn’t really like it. It didn’t taste like much earlier in the year either. No point in saving the seeds to try a grow out. I will try again next year with different seeds. RATING: Hubby 6.5 Me 6.5
GIANNI – An Italian elongated plum. The blandest of the day. Earlier in the season they were very good. The fruits are solid & meaty with few seeds. Luckily, I made tomato sauce with the rest of the ripe ones last night & it was excellent. Cooking really brought out the flavour. A definite grow again next year. RATING : Hubby 6 Me 5.5 Cooked Hubby 9 Me 9
HUANGE SE CHIEH – A small plant with OK production of a saladette sized round white tomato with Chinese origins. The colour is “moonlike.” Eeek – I thought that maybe this one got a bad review last time because it was over-ripe. Nope. I don’t like it at all. Sour. Too zingy with no sweet to balance it. My least favourite of the year. Pretty little fruit though! RATING: Hubby 6 Me 4
MAZARINI – A large pink heart from Russia. It ripened a bit later than most of my varieties this year & had decent production. Today it was bland. Not much to it. Cooked down it is sweet & zingy. A great sauce producer, although it is kind of juicy! Earlier in the season I really enjoyed this one & rated it much higher for fresh eating. RATING: Hubby 7.5 Me 7
KOSOVO – Glenn Parker, a U.N. worker collected the seed for this one in the Kosovo region of the former Yugoslavia. The fruits are large & the plant has good production. I loved it. Every tomato I have tasted has been outstanding. Very pretty fruit. Gorgeous colour. Sweet, tangy & robust. Russ loved it as well. The best of the day by far. RATING: Hubby 9 Me 9
OLIVE HILL – An heirloom tomato from Kentucky. A potato leaf pink beefsteak on a large plant. I planted this one in a not very good spot, fairly late & the fruit matured very late in my garden this year & wasn’t very productive. I think that I will try it again, but not next year. The list is already too long! The taste was good, but not great. It had lots of zing with very little sweetness. RATING: Hubby 7 Me 7
GOLD MEDAL (NOT) – This one was supposed to be a large bicoloured beefsteak that does well in cooler climates. Mine grew out as small oblate red tomatoes. Very late in the year & not very tasty. Bland with just a hint of sweetness. Not a keeper. The true tomato was the winner at the 2008 SSE Tomato Tasting. RATING: Hubby 7 Me 6.5
THE WINNERS: The clear favourite today was Kosovo. I wish that the bicolours & heart-shaped tomatoes would ripen a bit earlier. I think that the unusually cool August & September have really affected the taste this year.