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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?

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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.