I grew a lot of new tomato varieties this year. I have to be honest, I haven’t been particularly impressed with many of them. This year I have kept all but 2 varieties in a hot house that keeps temps warmer than ambient air temperature to help with the PNW’s cool and short growing season. This summer has been much warmer than average, so I’m expecting that my success with some of these is a result of that, and cannot be counted on in subsequent years.
Here’s my list – ranked by when I was able to pick and eat the first tomato, starting around mid-July.
Ok, so here’s my rundown on each of the varieties
Glacier – Great strong tomato-ey flavor. Hardly bigger than a cherry, but lacks the production capacity. Makes up for it with early and steady production (I always have a few of these every time I go to harvest), long-term production, and flavor. This has a permanent spot in the garden.
Stupice – Nuanced, clean, crisp, and SO good! Very firm flesh, with the seed cavity sometimes being a little dry. Smallish, but a heavy producer and has an interesting creased shoulder shape. Love this little beast.
|That’s a ceramic egg-crate. Should help give some idea of size.|
Oregon Spring – Shit. Don’t bother. The point of this tomato is that you sacrifice flavor for early production, but seeing as it’s the FOURTH tomato to produce in my garden and also the least flavorful, it will not be making a repeat appearance in my garden next year. Also, every single tomato that I got out of this plant was grainy. I couldn’t even bring myself to give them away. I fed most of them to my dogs.
Anna Russian – I have a new favorite tomato. Dark red, thick flesh, few seed pockets, intensely sweet, large fruit and steady production, plus being the earliest full-size tomato to ripen by weeks, I’m planting at least 2 of these next year.
Julia Child – I had high hopes for this tomato, and really only bought it because of the name. Unfortunate. It was supposed to be really good. It is good. Quite good, but not the come to Jesus moment that I was expecting. Perhaps if I had just grown it and thought “ooh,this is a nice beefsteak tomato” I would have been blown away, but as it was, I feel a bit disappointed. Anna Russian was better. And I just harvested my first one last week. Plus, it looks like I’ll only get a 5-6 more fruit from it for the rest of the year.
White Cherry – Don’t bother. Late producing, NOT white, but yellow instead, and boring. I’ve had grocery store cherry tomatoes that taste better, plus it’s not going to give me many fruit. Don’t bother. I think I’m less outraged by this than I was about Oregon Spring because I have so many other great options to soften the disappointment.
Green Zebra – I have mixed feelings about these. They’re SO FUCKING GOOD. Super crisp, acidic, flavorful, interesting. Gorgeous fruit. As they get super ripe, the light green stripes turn into light yellowy orange. My favorite tomato to cut up into chunks, sprinkle with a little salt, and eat with a spoon. But the fruits are small, late producing, and sparse. I think it will always have a place in my garden just because it’s so damn tasty.
Black – BEAUTIFUL dark red crimsony fruit. Huge tomatoes, dense flesh. Everything about this screams heirloom. It’s tasty, but no better than Julia Child (However for me, the appearance pushes it well ahead of Julia in the standings). I still can’t decide whether I’ll grow this next year. Perhaps just for novelty, but I’m likely to only get 5-6 more of them this year and due to my limited space, there are others that I think I’d rather focus on.