Indeterminate tomato variety with Roma flavor, for Northern CA?

homey_birdApril 19, 2011


Roma tomato is my absolute favorite and most of the recipes I love turn out great with its flavor. This year I've planted a bunch of those. However, just learnt that they are determinate type; which means that they will all fruit at once.

In addition to a huge crop, I'd also like to mix these with an indeterminate type which will keep producing continuously throughout the season. Is there a variety that is close to Roma in flavor (or even better! hahaha!!) - and indeterminate in production? What is the harvest time?

Thanks in advance! I will post on Tomatoes forum as well but would appreciate the feedback here.

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I have personally grown/tried over 200 different tomato varieties over the years here in Sacramento, and I have no idea what you mean by "Roma" flavor, because all the Roma tomatoes I have tasted are very bland.

Do you like sweet flavor? Acid flavor? Tomato-ey flavor? Good for cooking? Good for salads?

I would be happy to suggest something, but can you be more specific, and also be more specific about where you are in Northern California because there are a lot of different climates (San Francisco? Redding? Lake Tahoe?)

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 1:32PM
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Hi, I am in SF Bay Area (SS Zone 16).

I use tomatoes in cooking (sauces, curries etc). Therefore I need a variety that's good for cooking.

Also, I like sweetish flavor over the acidic flavor personally.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 1:56PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

I cook with whatever tomato I manage to grow. If necessary I just cook longer. If you want crops over a longer season you can stagger your seed-starting and get successive crops of determinants.

'Amish Paste' is indeterminate. It's got a good flavor but productivity is so-so. 'Long Tom' was okay. 'Opalka' has really good flavor, but productivity wasn't great. Both those are also indeterminate.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 3:28PM
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OK, so the next question is: are you buying seed, or are you going to buy plants from a nursery?

If you are buying seed, I would recommend Heidi or New Zealand Paste, both very yummy, and both put out tons of tomatoes.

If you are buying plants, look for any variety with the word "Heart" (Bull's Heart, Oxheart, etc.) because that will be one with good flavor, and a little on the dry side, which is best for cooking. Heart tomatoes don't have as great a yield, but what they do put out are delicious, for the most part.

Most of California has nematodes in the soil, which in my experience most of the recommended "paste" tomatoes will greatly suffer, if not die from. If you do want to buy a "Roma" type hybrid from a nursery, look for one that has an "N", which means it tolerates nematodes, to some extent.

Below is a discussion from the tomato board--but keep in mind most of those people are from the East Coast, with very different growing conditions than California, and so a lot of their favorites (Opalka) can't deal with the nematodes here so they die and/or might not taste the same.

Carla in Sac

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 3:52PM
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Thanks all. I think I will start with seeds.

Last year I started tomatoes from seeds and it was an unknown indeterminate variety. It was your typical grocery store type tomato (beefsteak?) whose seeds germinated accidentally. It did me good; it produced well too; but I personally do not enjoy the flavor as much.

May be I should stop over-analysing. Just throw in what I have and enjoy! After all, no matter what variety, the fact that I let them ripen on the vine makes them taste a lot better than grocery store tomatoes!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 5:11PM
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Good heavens NO! There is a HUGE difference in tomato flavor in the 1000's of varieties, and if you are going to baby these 'maters for 4 or 5 months, spend your time on "heaven on earth" rather than "better than grocery store tomatoes".

Here are 2 places highly recommended for seeds:

Sandhill is much cheaper and has a bigger heirloom selection, Tomato Growers is expensive, but has nice photos and some nice hybrids.

Whichever you buy, you better hurry (like this week!)--We have a longer growing season than most, but you are quickly running out of enough time to start from seed this year.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   April 19, 2011 at 7:16PM
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