On September 20, the Ramsey County Master Gardeners enjoyed sampling 20 varieties of unique tomatoes from our gardens.
Two smaller size tomatoes won top honors
In first place, the beautiful and productive Austin’s Red Pear, an heirloom, great-flavored, 2-inch, red tomato produced in abundance on large vines. The heavy fruit load requires good support when grown in the garden or in containers.
Tying for the top spot was a green when ripe tomato, Esmeralda Golosina, a 5-foot vine that produces 3-6 ounce yellow-green tomatoes with a wonderful, intense, sweet flavor. The variety is noted for its very high brix levels (a measure of sweetness). These tomatoes develop their best flavor when the skin turns yellow-green and the fruit yields to slight pressure. This is one of the tastiest tomatoes in the garden. Disease resistant.
Coming in Second
The second-place winner was Fireworks, an early (60-day) red tomato weighing in at 8-12 ounces with a well-balanced flavor and great for slicing onto your Bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich. It is an open-pollinated variety, a smaller bush size indeterminate plant with high production; expect 60-80 fruit when well-grown. Good for the patio or container.
Tying for second place was a ringer—a cherry tomato straight off the shelf of Cub Foods.
No more will be said.
Third but not least
Third place was shared by Blue Pear, Brandywine Landis Strain, Bulgarian Triumph, Gardener's Sweetheart, Striped Roman, Super Snow White, and Sweet Carneros Pink.
Blue Pear is one of the new anthocyanin-containing tomatoes on an indeterminate, 4–6-foot vine. It ripens at around 75 days with bluish-purple shoulders and a deep red bottom. The blue tomatoes taste awful if not fully ripe. When Blue Pear develops its full color and a slight give when pressed, it has a nice, sweet flavor. The anthocyanin in these fruits is the same healthy antioxidant found in blueberries and blackberries.
Brandywine Landis Strain is one of the many tasty Brandywine varieties, weighing in at 12-16 ounces on large vines ripening at 80 days. The flavor is rich and robust. Brandywine varieties are the gold standard for flavor, against which other varieties are judged. Production is generally on the moderate side, but the variety is grown for the wow flavor factor.
Bulgarian Triumph was a consistently high producer of 2-4-ounce fruit for us. Good, strong yet sweet flavor. Six-foot vines start producing at about 78 days.
Gardener’s Sweetheart is our go-to sweet, cherry tomato. Long trusses of 20-25 tomatoes are produced on large vines starting at about 65 days.
Speckled Roman is a red paste tomato with orange stripes on a moderately sized vine that starts producing at about 80 days. Good flavor for your next pasta meal.
Super Snow White was a pleasant surprise for us this year. A light yellow, ping-pong sized tomato on a good-sized vine, the tomato started producing at 75 days and just kept on pumping out sweet fruit. This would be a colorful salad mixed with three other varieties which excelled in production and flavor for us this year – Tommy Toe (red), Pink Ping Pong (pink), and Jaune Flamme (yellow-orange).
Sweet Carneros Pink is a red-gold striped, gourmet tomato popular in fancy west-coast restaurants. Lots of tomatoes on 5-8 foot vines start producing at around 75 days.
Thank you for all the help in setting this up and for participating; it was fun!