Annual Tomato Challenge

Best Tomato this Year

Always in search of the very best tomatoes, every year I plant at least one new tomato variety.  When I had more space for a larger garden I planted several varieties.  Many years I have been pretty good about recording how well they grow and produce, when the ripen and how I like the flavor.  But too often, we enjoy the bounty, the season ends, and regretfully I forget to record anything.

This year I planted four varieties and passed on the grape tomatoes.  I must admit that this has been a disappointing year for tomato flavor and it is hard to pin down the reason.  Too much water or rain and sometimes tomatoes get to large and water filled, diluting the flavor.  I was pretty attentive to the plants this year and stopped feeding them and reduced watering when the fruits were developed and we certainly have not had too much rain this season.  I may have to attribute the poor flavor to the varieties I chose, three of the four I have not grown before.  Perhaps of course they just don't produce the specific flavors I prefer.  However it just seems that they were just not full of flavor, watered down.

Anyway, here is my analysis:

Rutgers Tomatoes


This classic heirloom variety was, and usually is, the first to ripen for me.  They are fist sized or larger, firm, juicy and dark "tomato" red.  The fruits are pretty consistent in size, don't crack dimple or catface.  The classic acid flavor is hard beat.  A great tomato for sandwiches, salads or absolutely anything.





'Tasteful' tomato.jpg

A Tasteful Garden namesake, was the second to ripen in my garden.  I will have to paste their description:  "Outstandingly rich with complex flavor, this dark red heirloom is a bit smaller than many of the very large heirloom beefsteaks but is superior in flavor and texture with less cracking at the stem end."  This is one of the tomatoes that really confused me this year, quite opposite of what is described.  They were enormous, cracked, almost mushy, and watered down flavor.  What happened?



Sara Black Tomato by Midwest Gardening

This German heirloom was next to ripen.  The fruits are good sized, relatively firm, and a little sweet.  These also seemed to have just a bit of a diluted flavor.  It was described as  "robust in flavor, sweet notes and complex undertones and a hint of earthiness" so I was kind of expecting something like a cross between a Brandywine and a Black Krim.  They have not been cracking but I have been getting some deep dimples.


Sainte Lucie Tomato by Midwest Gardening

This French beefsteak was the last to ripen.  They are large and very red with smooth skin and slightly lobed shoulders.  The flavor is rich and sweet with meaty but firm flesh.  And yet, I am not impressed with the flavor.  It just is not as robust as I hoped for but this one I may try again.  We'll see what strikes me next year.


I have to say, this year I am really missing my Brandywine, Black Krim, Beefsteak and grapes!  I just don't know if something happened this season to cause poor flavor for most of my tomatoes or if it is the varieties I chose.  I am growing in a new bed this year, but then I am constantly digging up new beds.  Hmm, I'm stumped.  Any thoughts anyone?


Sharon Dwyer2 Comments