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2011 Tomato List

April 13th, 2011

I spent the afternoon yesterday seeding all of my tomatoes, peppers, basil, parsley, marigolds, and other herbs & flowers. I narrowed down my tomato list, leaving off a few that I’ve grown for the past 3 years and adding a few new ones to try. I’ll be happy when I have the new garden area finished and I can grow a lot more varieties of tomatoes just for fun and to see what they’re like.

Here’s the list of the tomatoes I’ll be growing this summer. I added images where I had them of each variety. One this I want to do this year is to take photos of the foliage and the tomatoes from each kind I’m growing. Hopefully I can do a post on each kind to give you a review.

Yellow Cherry – indeterminate, regular-leaf, vigorous and tall tomato plants that yield copious amounts of 3/4-inch, round, yellow cherry tomatoes that are loaded with delicious, fruity, sweet/tart flavors (source: Sand Hill Preservation)

Tess’s Land Race Currant – Deliciously flavored currant tomato that originated from Maryland’s southern shore. The tiny fruit of this variety vary in color; most are deep red but some are also rose, gold and yellow. The flavorful fruit are popular with chefs and home gardeners. The sprawling vines produce clusters of these intense tasting miniatures. (source: Baker Creek)

Lemon Boy – A popular hybrid tomato, particularly with commercial growers, known for its uniform, lemon-yellow colored fruit which generally grow to about eight ounces. Borne in clusters, the fruits are a treat to the eyes and have a nice mild, sweet, tomato flavor. The plants are vigorous and are resistant to several common tomato pests so they are quite easy to grow. The vines also tend to be quite productive. Maturity: 72-75 Days, Determinate (source: saved seed)

Brandywine Tomato – 80/100 days, indeterminate – It is by far one of the best known heirloom tomato varieties. There is a lot of lore surrounding the ‘Brandywine’ category of tomatoes. Reportedly it is an old Amish heirloom, dating back to 1885 and named after Brandywine Creek in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The disease tolerant, regular leaf plants yield fruits that are red, globe shaped, and full of flavor. (source: saved seed)

Silvery Fir Tree – Traditional Russian variety with distinctive carrotlike silvery-gray foliage on compact 24″ plants. Heavy crops of round, slightly flattened 3-3½” red fruits. Unique decorative variety that is a real eyecatcher. Does well in hanging baskets or on patios. Introduced by Seed Savers International in 1995. Determinate, 58 days from transplant. (source: Seed Savers)

Henderson’s Crimson Cushion – The Crimson Scarlet Brother of “Ponderosa” has huge size and delicious rich flesh. Said to be introduced in 1892 by Peter Henderson, the flesh is very thick and of great quality. This is probably the tomato that made red “Beefsteak” type tomatoes famous. (source: Baker Creek)

Cherokee Purple – Given to heirloom tomato collector Craig LeHoullier by J. D. Green of Tennessee, it is at least 100 years old and was reported as originally grown by the Cherokee Indians. The fruits are large (twelve to sixteen ounces), dark pink with darker purple shoulders. Excellent complex flavor, slight sweet aftertaste, perfect slicer for tomato sandwiches! Try this one for real old-time tomato flavor. Indeterminate, 80 days. (source: Baker Creek)

Winterkeeper – 10 oz. fruits, solid green until storage then turn a pale yellow outside and red inside. (source: Sand Hill Preservation)

Principe Borghese – The Italian heirloom that is famous for sun drying. Small 1-2 oz. grape-shaped fruit are very dry and have few seeds. They have a rich tomato taste that is wonderful for sauces. Determinate vines yield clusters of fruit in abundance, perfect for selling in fresh markets and making specialty products. Determinate, 70-75 days. (source: saved seed)

Goldman’s Italian American – Unique, beautiful and large tomatoes that have a squat, pear shape, being ribbed and pleated. These have a bloody, intense red color when ripe. Thick, red flesh is perfect for delicious sauces and preserves. Found at a Roadside stand in Italy, by Amy Goldman and named after her father’s grocery store in Brooklyn. This variety has good flavor, fresh or canned (source: saved seed)

San Marzano Tomato Lungo #2 – For canning, paste, and a killer spaghetti sauce, it’s hard to beat ‘San Marzano’, a sought-after heirloom from the Campania region of southern Italy. A highly prized Italian heirloom tomato for its fruit with firm pulp and thick skin, used in the concentrate industry as well as for canning ‘peeled’ tomatoes. This is truly the Italian standard for sauce and paste and a heavy producer. The fruit are long, often mistaken for large peppers from a distance. Fleshy with few seeds, often with ‘dry’ seed cavities, and with an authentic flavor that will take you back to Italy. A vigorous grower (we couldn’t believe the size of the harvests even in zone 5), vines start bearing later in the summer but then come on fast and furiously, producing heavy, 3½-inch-long tapered fruits in clusters of five or six. ‘San Marzano’ is low in sugar and acid, which gives it superior flavor when cooked. The vigorous plants are extremely prolific and produce until the first hard frost. Indeterminate, 80 days. (source: Baker Creek)

Rutger’s Tomato – Good for canning; also good fresh; large red 8-oz. globes. Good yields and flavor on large vines. A fine New Jersey heirloom. (source: Baker Creek)

Dr Carolyn – 65 days. (indeterminate) [Selected from a sport of ‘Galinas’. Named by Steve Draper in honor of Dr. Carolyn Male who first saved the seed.] The most flavorful yellow cherry tomato we have grown. It has an excellent balance of sugar, tartness and depth of flavor. The pale yellow, cherry-sized fruits are typically borne 6 to a cluster with fruits of uniform size measuring 1-1/4″ x 1-1/4″. The large vines are extremely vigorous, well branched, and provide excellent cover. (source: Southern Exposure)

I think I’m most interested to see the Silvery Fir Tree, I’ve heard they’re really beautiful plants. I first heard about them in the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I’m also excited to try the currant type tomatoes for the first time this year. It will be interesting to see how quickly they ripen since they’re so small. They might be a great option for early tomatoes each year. I’ll never go a year without growing the Lemon tomato as that’s Mr Chiot’s favorite and I’ll always grow Principe Borghese as it makes the most wonderful dried tomatoes that we enjoy all winter long!

Do you have a variety you’re excited about trying this year? Any old favorites you always grow?

34 Comments to “2011 Tomato List”
  1. Kathi on April 13, 2011 at 6:34 am

    Always grow sun sugar ( a hybrid cherry) for my daughter, yellow and red pear tomatoes (love them roasted), and yellow brandywine. I also love a hybrid cross called brandy boy. I used to grow heirloooms exclusively , but now I have loosened my standards to up my yield and find some of the hybrids (like lemon boy and brandy boy) wonderful producers. This year I am trying Abe Lincoln, and Jersey Giant. I always save room for some last minute additions as we have a local tomato plant guys that always has interesting varieties.I couldn’t live without an assortment of cherries. Even during bad years ie, blight of 2009 they still produce.

    Reply to Kathi's comment

  2. kristin @ going country on April 13, 2011 at 7:12 am

    I just posted about my entirely-too-numerous tomato seedlings yesterday. What am I going to do with 100 tomato seedlings? Honestly.

    I always grow Stupice for an early tomato. And San Marzanos for canning. This year the MiL requested Caspian Pink. I don’t know anything about it, so it should be an interesting one.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  3. Rayna on April 13, 2011 at 7:54 am

    This is my first year growing tomatoes and I decided to go with Manitoba since that’s my home province! I was surprised how fast the seeds germinated so they got a bit leggy, going to transplant them this weekend.

    Reply to Rayna's comment

  4. Miranda on April 13, 2011 at 8:32 am

    This is my first year growing tomatoes, so I am going to try several different kinds and see which ones I like. On this year’s list: Roma, Mr. Stripey, Crimson Cushion beefsteak, Super Sweet 100, Green Zebra, San Marzano nano, Yellow Banana, Powers heirloom, Dixie Golden Giant, Black from Tula, Big Rainbow, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine, and Aunt Ruby’s German Green. I’m also hoping to have some Burgess Lemon, Aurum Cherry, and Green Grape tomatoes, but have struggled to get these to germinate. I wanted to grow Principe Borghese and Goldman’s Italian American, but couldn’t find seed. I received most of my seed from Winter Sown, but ordered an heirloom mix from Park Seed and picked up a couple other packets in town. Should be interesting…

    Reply to Miranda's comment

  5. Nebraska Dave on April 13, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Susy, tomatoes tomatoes I just can’t think about tomatoes for another month here. The last frost date is May 15th. I’ve always grown Rutgers which have done well for me. I’m going to try to stagger the plantings this year with three planted regular time and two planted a month later. I’m going to root a branch from the planted three for the later two. I’ve read articles about how a branch sliced off the main plant can be soaked in water to start the rooting process and then just plant them like a regular plant. So either I’m going to get some good late tomatoes or just have three plants this year. Either way it will be enough store some away. The first tomato off the vine last year was around the end of July which was a couple weeks later than normal. It hard to believe that tomatoes were once considered poison isn’t it.

    Have a great tomato day.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

    • Susy on April 13, 2011 at 9:02 am

      Our last frost date is May 15 too – but I like to get mine started so they’re a decent size. Actually I’m really late – usually I start my tomatoes in late March.

      It is hard to believe tomatoes were considered poisonous – so sad for all those people that missed out!

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Daedre Craig on April 13, 2011 at 9:16 am

      My last frost date is a couple weeks later that yours (May 30th), but I started my tomatoes this week. I usually start them about 7 weeks before planting out.

      Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  6. songbirdtiff on April 13, 2011 at 8:59 am

    I am a beginning gardener, so I’ve opted to start with hybids mostly. I’ve got early girls, beedeater, jelly bean, and romas. I am doing brandywine this year because I have heard they are easy to grow for heirlooms. I really want to move toward the more natural tomato options, I just need a few years of learning before I do that.

    Reply to songbirdtiff's comment

  7. Daedre Craig on April 13, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I’m trying Principe Borghese for the first time this year. I got a dehydrator for Christmas last year, so I’m looking forward to drying hundreds (maybe thousands) of tomatoes this summer and fall!

    Also new to my garden this year will be : Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Japanese Black Trifele, Bloody Butcher, and Cherokee Purple.

    Reply to Daedre Craig's comment

  8. MAYBELLINE on April 13, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Al Kuffa is very reliable in zone 8-9. It’s a toughy.
    I’m excited to try Rutgers, Santa Clara, and Tigerella. My seedlings of Beefsteak and Cour Di Bue did horribly. Some things are simply meant to be.

    I would like a recommendation of a canning tomato with very few seeds. Any suggestions?

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

    • Susy on April 13, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Goldman’s Italian American has very few seeds and is huge and meaty. It produces a lovely velvety sauce with great texture. I really really like this variety and would highly recommend it. You’ll probably have to few a few extra plants as they don’t produce tons of tomatoes, but the ones they produce are huge! They’ll probably do better out in CA where it’s warmer, I think our cool summers make it less productive for us.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • MAYBELLINE on April 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm

        Thanks for the recommend. I’ve had my eye on Goldman’s for a couple of years. It’s in the queue for 2012 unless I find a plant at the Tomato Ladies stand at the local Farmers’ Market.

        to MAYBELLINE's comment

  9. Britt Mattson on April 13, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Warning….Tess’s Land Race Currant needs to be planted where it is allowed to go crazy! They are wonderful but will take over where ever they are planted. I’m planting them again this year but away from everything else. They live up to their name. Enjoy!

    Reply to Britt Mattson's comment

    • Susy on April 13, 2011 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks for the tip – I’ve heard they’re “rampant”. They’ll be planted on the new garden area so they’ll have plenty of room to ramble. Can’t wait to see how big they get!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. David Grist, Gardener's Supply on April 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Thanks for sharing such a well-curated list. I will share this with Vermont gardeners who are finally able to start planting tomato seeds. Can’t wait to see that Silvery Fir Tree. I’ve always liked Black Krim, which is another Russian variety, I think.

    Reply to David Grist, Gardener’s Supply's comment

  11. Andrea on April 13, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I’m cutting back on varieties this year.

    I’m doing Sweet 100 for cherries.

    Paste will be Roma, Amish Paste, San Marzano and Italian Market Wonder.

    Slicers are carbon, mortgage lifter and Tobolsk.

    Just for fun are costoluto Genovese and Zapotec Pleated.

    Reply to Andrea's comment

  12. Amy on April 13, 2011 at 11:38 am

    I excitedly planted some of these last year in my garden, but it turned out to be a terrible summer for gardening, cool and showery. I replanted my tomatoes once, but they still never took off. I think I got 2 ‘Oregon Springs’.

    This year I plan to try again with a small hoop house in a different location. I’m curious, though: Do you find your heirlooms cross pollinate? I’m wondering whether I need to separate some from the others.

    Oh, and I love the idea of the Silvery Fir Tree in a hanging basket. I might try that, too.

    Reply to Amy's comment

  13. Melissa on April 13, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Your Pictures are so beautiful! I can’t wait until my tomatoes really get going. I put my first seedlings out about 2 weeks ago down here in the South. They are doing well. I’m growing cherry toms- orange, red and yellow. San Marzanos, Illini Tomatoes and maybe some brandywines if I can find the room!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  14. Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig on April 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    I haven’t been gardening long enough to know any favorites yet…but I will say we grew a grape tomato last year that was SO good and grew SO huge! It crowded out the cherry tomato and the early girl to the point that they stopped growing! This year we’re trying a few heirlooms we found at the garden center as well as a few common tomatoes that we know will produce until we find heirlooms that are reliable.

    Reply to Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig's comment

  15. marcyincny on April 13, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    I am over the moon to be growing a Rutgers hybrid, Ramapo, again this year. Apparently a lot of other people were also disappointed when it disappeared years ago and pressured Rutgers to bring it back. I hope it’s only half as good as we remember it. I’m trying several new-to-me varieties this year but sticking with Jaune Flammè, Isis Candy, Carmello and San Marzano 3.

    Reply to marcyincny's comment

  16. Shannon on April 13, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    For the first time ever I am starting seeds of Brandywine and Pink Love Apple. I am excited to try both and hopefully I get some great fruit this season and can make some great BLT sandwiches among other things :)

    Reply to Shannon's comment

  17. Jennifer Fisk on April 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I too grow the Brandywine and San Marzano. I also love the Prudens Purple for sandwiches and am trying Amish Paste this year. They are all about 1 inch high but I can already taste them.

    Reply to Jennifer Fisk's comment

  18. Beegirl on April 13, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    Gosh, I only grow a few. Roma – standard and hooked on the Cherokee Purple. Guess I need to branch out a bit..

    Reply to Beegirl's comment

  19. Kaytee on April 13, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I love tomatoes. And the greatest part is that there’s so many varieties out there! Out of your 13 and my 13, we only have two that overlap! Out of all the types I grew last year, I was really only happy with two of them to grow this year (Rutgers and Polish Linguisa). I’m really excited to see how my Jersey Giant and Jersey Devil plants do, as well as the Big Mama plants that I started back in January!

    Reply to Kaytee's comment

  20. Kathi on April 13, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    PS Just came back from grocery shopping and bought a package of Glacier Salad Tomato seeds.They bear fruit in 5o days supposedly. Had to try them here in chilly northwestern Ct.

    Reply to Kathi's comment

  21. Patricia on April 13, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Thanks for your list. I love seeing what other tomato enthusiasts are trying. This year, I’ve started Goose Creek, Paul Robeson, Anna Russian, and Martino’s Roma. I’m also hoping to try Japanese Black Trifela and Black Cherry, if I can trade for them with someone local. Let’s cross our fingers for a good year!

    Reply to Patricia's comment

  22. Bonnie on April 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I can’t tell you how excited I am to see this post. I haven’t gotten my seeds started yet and thought I was WAY too late (live just south of you in Lake Milton). My delay was for a good reason – baby #2 joined us in Feb and the sleep deprivation is kicking my butt – but I thought for sure I’d have to buy plants at this point. Luckily, I found a packet of plum tomatoes (don’t remember the variety at this time) since I’m sure I don’t have time to order the seeds I dreamed about…but I’ll just plan better next year! So, I will get my seeds planted this weekend! One variety will have to do :)

    Reply to Bonnie's comment

  23. Jessica Swaray on April 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Just wanted to say I grew Silvery Fir Tree tomatoes last year (and also got the idea from Barbara Kingsolver’s book-I just loved that book!). I got SO MANY tomatoes from them it was overwhelming, but good. Love them.

    Reply to Jessica Swaray's comment

    • Susy on April 14, 2011 at 10:26 pm

      Glad to hear you liked them, makes me even more excited!

      Reply to Susy's comment

  24. Kris @ Attainable Sustainable on April 16, 2011 at 12:11 am

    My all time favorite for eating out of hand is Green Zebra. I had really good luck with Goliath a couple of years ago, but I don’t have those planted this year. My space is pretty limited now, so I’m focusing on roma tomatoes (I have San Marzano, too) for canning.

    Reply to Kris @ Attainable Sustainable's comment

  25. Carlie on April 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Beautiful! It’s so fun to read somebody else’s tomato list. I hear The Old Farmer’s Almanac says we’re in for a hot summer so it will be a good year for the tomatoes as long as we can keep them watered through the heat.

    I am growing:

    Sungold (the best cherry in the world)
    Brandywine, Pink
    Silvery Fir Tree
    Earl’s Faux
    Mortgage Lifter
    Neve’s Azorean
    Cherokee Purple
    Kellogg’s Breakfast

    …and next year, I’m going to make sure to try growing Pineapple because I think they are the most beautiful slicer toms around.

    Reply to Carlie's comment

  26. Edible Garden Update | Chiot's Run on June 8, 2011 at 10:56 am

    […] having and being super busy I haven’t been able to get over much in the last month. I planted the tomatoes and peppers that I started from seed. I also reseeded the beets that got washed away in the huge […]

    Reply to Edible Garden Update | Chiot’s Run's comment

  27. Michelle on August 22, 2011 at 12:13 am

    I’m going through your old posts about tomatoes…I’m wanting to figure out some new varieties to try next year.

    I came across this list…which is very helpful. But I have a question. How is it you saved seed from a hybrid plant? I thought that hybrids don’t reproduce? Am I misunderstanding this?

    Reply to Michelle's comment

    • Susy on August 22, 2011 at 12:57 am

      I have saved seed from hybrid plants with luck. Sometimes they will lose a few of their disease resistant traits. I have been saving lemon boy seeds for many years with success. They might revert back to one of their parents, which may reduce some of it’s disease resistance. I think my lemon boy’s from saved seed taste better than the ones from the original seeds.

      Reply to Susy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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