Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tomato Taste Test

Yesterday I ran a taste test with 4 of the varieties we are growing this season. From Left to right, these tomatoes are a Big Boy, Ramapo, Red Lightning, and a 4th of July. The winner, hands down, was the Ramapo. Here are some notes about each of these varieties:
  • The Big Boy produces big nice tomatoes. They have a nice mild flavor, not to sweet and not too acidic. There are quite a few seeds inside and the meat of the fruit stays fairly moist. I have not been overwhelmed by the yield of these plants, but it does make sense that they would sacrifice quantity of fruit when yielding big tomatoes.
  • The Ramapo are fairly big, lightly sweet, meaty tomatoes. They have great tomato flavor an wonderful texture. This is an Heirloom variety from Northern New Jersey that we got from Sue's Dad. Unfortunately we have only the one plant, but hopefully we will be able to have more next year. I am attempting today to save the seeds from these for next year and I will report back on how I am doing this later.
  • The Red Lightnings are very pretty tomatoes. Unfortunately, they scored last in our taste test. The skins are too thick, the flesh is too dry, and the flavor is fairly bland. They have had a fairly good yield per plant and have lovely yellow stripes running down the medium sized tomatoes, but otherwise they are nothing special. If you also factor in the fact that Sue bought 6 seeds for $2, this variety is not worth trying to grow again.
  • The 4th of July tomatoes were basically the same as the Big Boys for flavor and texture. These are smallish to medium tomatoes and the plants, as the name would indicate, produce fruits earlier than other varieties. This year they should have been called 4th of Augusts because of the slow growing of all hot weather plants, but they have been churning out the fruit for the past month. They are the highest yielding tomato plants we are growing this summer.
In addition to those 4 we are also growing an Early Girl (which has not yet yielded a red tomato), Romas and sweet 100s. I think next year we will replace the Red Lightnings and Big Boys with something else and possibly try a different variety of saucing tomatoes. I would anticipate that we have at least another month of tomatoes based on all of the green fruit still on the vine.

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