The Tomato List

July 5th, 2009

Taking advantage of this rainy Sunday morning to catch up on some recordkeeping. I began this post on May 31, so you can see that my recordkeeping is badly in need of updating. To that end, I’m trying out yet another system – myfolia.com. I’m impressed so far, but it does involve a lot of data entry. This morning, I entered all the tomatoes.

However, I had already compiled this list of tomatoes and their catalog descriptions, so I’m going to go ahead and publish this post. But I have a feeling that this may be the last blog post of its type that I ever write because Folia does a much better job at this sort of thing.

I sowed all the tomato seeds on April 4, but didn’t get the plants in the ground until May 31. The weather has been OK, not great. Not much heat so far this summer. Lots of rain after planting, then a short dry spell. Last week we got about .5″ of rain all at once and we’re getting a good soaking rain this morning. Most of the plants have small fruit by now, but I don’t see much of anything on Persimmon, Virginia Sweets, and Green Zebra. Poor Green Zebra was cut down by a cutworm 10 days after planting. I stuck the cut stem in the ground and it rooted and grew, but obviously has been set back by the experience.


The Returning Veterans. These are all plants I’ve grown before and liked enough to plant again. The descriptions are from various catalogs, not necessarily the source of my seeds. Photos of the green fruit were taken yesterday in my garden.

Black Prince: Deep garnet round fruits really load up on these plants that stay fairly small. Tomatoes are medium-sized and full of juice and good, rich flavor. Originally from Siberia. This variety should be a favorite in most gardens. Indeterminate. 70 days.

Kellogg’s Breakfast: HEIRLOOM Indeterminate An heirloom from West Virginia preserved by Darrell Kellogg, a railroad supervisor, in Redford, MI after receiving seed from a friend. An extremely large, sunny orange beefsteak with an outstanding flavor that is just unforgettable. (79 days)

Kellogg’s Breakfast produces some cat-faced tomatoes, but the taste is fabulous.

Black Russian: Cordon (Indeterminate). These medium sized black tomatoes grow on compact plants bearing plenty of dark mahogany-brown fruits, with a delicious blend of sugar and acid. Tomato Black Russian has a distinctive, complex flavour that has to be tasted to be believed.

Black Russian. I agree about the flavor of this one,
but I get very few unblemished tomatoes from it
I keep growing it because I love the flavor
of the few good tomatoes I get.

Matt’s Wild Cherry: The wild tomato with luscious taste.
These small cherry tomatoes are packed with more taste than you can believe. 5/8- 3/4″, deep red, round fruits have a tender, smooth texture, and loads of sweet, full flavor. High sugar content (118 Brix). Though the taste is superior, it doesn’t yield well and the fruits are soft, so grow on a trial scale at first. Teresa Arellanos de Mena, a friend of former Univ. of Maine AG faculty members Drs. Laura Merrick and Matt Liebman, brought seeds to Maine from her family’s home state of Hidalgo in Eastern Mexico. It’s the region of domestication of tomatoes, and where these grow wild. Matt gave us the seeds. Indeterminate. Days to Maturity or Bloom: 60

Matt’s Wild Cherry

Striped/Speckled Roman: (81 days) Indeterminate Developed by John Swenson, this tomato is a cross between Antique Roman and Banana Legs. The fruit are quite uniform and we noticed few disease problems. The are about 3 X 5″ and quite heavy. The red color is flecked with short attractive orange stripes. The dense tomatoes are great for paste or processing, but flavor is so good you’ll also want to eat them fresh.

German Johnson: 76 days. (Indeterminate) [Popular heirloom tomato from Virginia and North Carolina.] This is one of the four parent lines of the ‘Mortgage Lifter’ tomato. It is very similar in flavor. Pink-red fruits average 3/4 to 1-1/2 lbs. with generally smooth tops. Good for slicing or canning. Fruits have few seeds. Plants are very productive and fairly resistant to disease.


Rookies. New to the garden this year. I chose them for various reasons. Recommendations from fellow gardeners always have great influence. In general, I like strongly flavored tomatoes which are not too sweet. While reading catalogs over the winter, I often found myself noting which tomatoes were said to have “great taste”, “assertive flavor” and the like.

Copia: These very beautiful tomatoes are a stunning combination of fine-lined golden yellow and red stripes. While visually exciting, the real treat comes when you cut them open. Their gold flesh is streaked with red and is very juicy, flavorful, and sweet. A stabilized cross between Green Zebra and Marvel Stripe, these tomatoes weigh about one pound each, They were named in honor of Copia, the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts, in Napa California. Indeterminate. 85 days.

Copia. It appears this one is going to be a “cracker”.

Virginia Sweets: NEW FOR 2009. This heirloom variety is simply one of the best tasting, best producing gold-red bicolors we have ever grown. On top of that, the tomatoes are stunningly beautiful and enormous, weighing at least 1 pound each. Golden yellow beefsteaks are colored with red stripes that turn into a ruby blush on top of the golden fruit. Flavor is sweet and rich, and harvests are abundant. Indeterminate. 80 days.

Green Zebra: A unique and delicious salad tomato. 3 oz. green fruits ripen to amber-green with darker green stripes. The light green flesh is very flavorful, sweet yet zingy. This one is a real taste treat. Indeterminate. 75 days.

Lida Ukrainian: mid, SD, RL, prolific set of globe shaped 4 to 6 oz. fruits, very meaty, very good taste on the assertive side, meaning not mild.

Bloody Butcher: early, Ind, PL, deep red salad tomato, 1 to 3 oz. fruits, good taste, high yields. Resembles Stupice in both plant habit and fruit size, but fruits are a darker shade of red. Fruits start early and bear until frost.

Break O’Day: early, Ind to SD, RL, very good yields and excl taste, globe fruits of about 8 oz. Originally from a cross between Marglobe and Marvel in 1923 and introduced in 1931.

Noire des Cosebeuf: mid, Ind, RL, high yield of 6 to 8 oz. dark pink/purplish oblate fruits, scalloped shoulders, assertive taste.

Noire des Cosebeuf. This one will have an interesting shape, if nothing else. So far no cracking, catfacing or other uglies.

(The Other) Persimmon: 88 days. (Indeterminate) [Introduced about 1982.] Beautiful persimmon colored, rose-orange fruits range between 12 and 16 oz., though early fruits can weigh up to 2 lbs. Ripens from the blossom end to the softly dented light green shoulders, gradually acquiring a rose orange hue. Vines are vigorous, well branched and produce 1 to 2 fruits per flower cluster. ‘Persimmon’ is one of our personal favorites for inviting color and rewarding flavor.


Lastly, I’d like to recommend a couple of my favorite sources of information about tomatoes and other plants.

Tatiana’s TomatoBase. A wiki about hundreds of heirloom tomato varieties. Also, peppers, garlic and other vegetables, but the tomatoes are the main thing.

Tomatoville. A forum for tomato growers. Some of the big name heirloom tomato growers participate.

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