The New Artisan Cherry Tomatoes

cole_robbie(6)January 7, 2014

I am probably going to try these this year. I guess I will just buy the mix of all of them. Customers seem to love buying cherry tomatoes in one box of mixed colors. I have never tried to include a green-when-ripe variety, though. I'm not sure how that will go over.

Last year's cherry mix that did so well was a normal red cherry, black cherry, and a Chinese heirloom yellow cherry called "Chang Li." The Chang Li is the only heirloom I've had that outgrew and outproduced hybrid varieties. I did not have an orange cherry. I know Sun Gold is popular, but I have not tried it, probably will this year. White Cherry looks intriguing as well.

For the vendors who sell mixed cherry tomatoes, what varieties do you use? Has anyone tried including a green-when-ripe cherry in the mix? Anyone trying the new Artisan cherries?

Here is a link that might be useful: Artisan Tomatoes at Johnny's

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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Yes I am love with those Bumblebee tomatoes. Several catalogs carry them. I recommend Sungold, Pink cherry and Black cherry as I prefer those for taste. I also grow Matt's Wild cherry and pick it as little bunches. Those are the sweetest but not fun to pick.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2014 at 3:52PM
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randy41_1

sungold, black cherry, and sweet chelsea are the ones i grew last year. no problem selling them but it was a bad tomato year around here and the supply was short.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 6:07AM
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ekgrows

Black cherry, sunsugar, yellow pear, snow white, tomatoberry, green grape, cherry roma, peacevine. No more currant types - a huge pain to pick. Have done green Dr. frosted in the past, but I have had cracking issues with them. Too bad - they are really yummy. Going to try green egg yolk this year as well.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 10:31AM
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brookw_gw

Sunsugar is my bestseller period. I also plant Sungold, choc cherry, black cherry, jelly beans, snowberry, rainbow bells, red and yellow pear, sweet million, topaz, choc stripes, tigerella, red and green zebra,riesentraube, and violet jasper. While the Indigo series has become popular, I have found them to be the worst tasting, nastiest textured tomato ever--and I've tried them at all stages of ripeness. They are unique and pretty, however. I must add that the majority of all the specialty tomato sales are to restaurants and my personal customers. Sales of these at the farmers market are pretty slim.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 11:44AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

We grow lots of cherry tomatoes, this year production was down (not sure why), but demand was also down some, but production went up at the end of they year and so did demand.

We grow Sweet Gold, Sungold, Tomatoberry, Golden Sweet (yellow grape), Sun Peach, Yellow Pear, Red Pear, BHN 624, Favorita, Black Cherry, Red Pearl, and Sun Green.

While the green, when ripe, are really good, they are pretty bad when they are picked too early. I grew 2 or 3 plants last year of the SunGreen (same breeders of the SunGold) but they were very big for cherries.

Not sure if I will try the Artisan or not. I would have to not plant some of what I am growing now and I am not sure what I would get rid of.

Jay

This post was edited by jrslick on Wed, Jan 8, 14 at 14:37

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 12:20PM
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cole_robbie(6)

great lists and pics. thanks.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 12:40PM
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kelise_m

Last year I grew Black Cherry, Orange Paruche, White Cherry, Yellow Mini, Esterina, Sakura, Bambino, and a BHNsomething or the other from Johnnys that was a red grape/cherry cross. I'm constantly experimenting with new ones in the lineup. Orange Paruche and Yellow Mini are the ones are consistently satisfactory for me throughout the seasons. Still searching for a perfect red, although so far Sakura is my favorite. The blacks all have the same problem, late and then splitting. I wouldn't grow the whites at all (taste) except I noticed that customers always grab the boxes that have a white one showing. They do make a nice contrast and also the flavor improves in late fall. I haven't grown any green ones. I did grow a red zebra years ago before I was a market farmer and it was a dud, low yielding, and chewy (!) The few I did get were gorgeous though!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pile of cherry tomatoes last August

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 2:29PM
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cole_robbie(6)

Thanks. I notice Johnny's has Sakura. I will try it.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 4:27PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

I tried Sakura last year and I wasn't impressed. It also is much larger than the other cherry tomatoes that I was growing. It was more like Mountain Magic in size, large marble to golfball. It didn't fit in very well with the others in the mix.

Just my thoughts,

Jay

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 4:55PM
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TomatoesAndThings(7A)

I've grow yellow mini, nature bites, sweet olive, indigo and sun gold. I was very impressed with yellow mini. It's taste and quality was great. It also had the highest yields and produced the longest. Sun Gold was the sweetest in fact I had some customers tell me that they were to sweet for them. The indigo was a little to large to mix with the other cherry's and they were slow to come on and hard to sell. The yellow and orange varieties always sold before the red.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2014 at 7:46PM
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barrie2m_

I disagree with Jrslick on Sakura size. I've had plants next to Favorita for the last few years and they are almost identical in size.
The Sweet Treats (pink) are larger and yet still not as large as Mt Magic. Just be careful in selecting some of these new artisan varieties as some are more like saladette tomatoes, a bit on the large side to mix with other cherry/grape types.
I have tried Jasper this year before realizing that how tiny those are. I also dislike picking tiny ones. Of the 24 varieties I grow I can only say that I like the percent of each that I've settled on over that last 2 years. You won't regret a few green types but I wouldn't plant more than 5% of them. I've ordered a few Bumblebee varieties but they may be so similar to Red, Black Zebra that I may regret the investment; those heirloom varieties aren't very tasty, they are as hard as rocks and Red Zebra is my all time Blossom End Rot leader.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2014 at 10:37PM
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rustico_2009

With the mix on Johnny's , it seems like a good way to go, but I am wondering if people will like the torpedo shaped ones and green ones, or be put off because they are not used to those things in cherry tomatoes.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 9:14PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

Bmoser: I am glad to hear someone who had a different experience than me. I still have some seed from last year, so I will try them again and hope for a different outcome.

I agree on your side about disliking picking small cherry tomatoes. The past two years I have planted a second planting to kick in around early September. That helps me keep the size up and then I can tear out the first planting and prep the ground for our fall transplants for winter.

Jay

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 10:23PM
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barrie2m_

Don't get me wrong about Favorita- its my all-time favorite cherry tomato and I'd pay the 1$/seed price of yesteryear although I noticed that Johnnys dropped the price. Sakura is right up there in its ability to maintain fruit size throughout the season. Others who have purchased plants from me of both of these have given comments of praise.

I think that most of the cherry/grape types should be in the 14-24 gram range (28grams/oz) to nicely mix in boxes for marketability. In the case of these new entries that range might be tested so they might be better if presented seperately- sort of what one might do with the saladette or cocktail tomatoes. I'm just curious as to what others do?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:00AM
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myfamilysfarm

If growing cherry sized tomatoes, the one that must be on my list every single year is Yellow Pear. People will pick those out, if given a chance, versus any other. It's a heirloom that tastes wonderful, even to non-tomato eaters.

I have also grown Isis, very pretty whitish tomato with good taste. Snow white has done good for me.

Black Cherry grows very sweet for us, but I've tasted it from other farms and it wasn't worth eating. Possibly our ground. Black Cherry is different that Chocolate Cherry to my taste, so don't confuse them. Many seed companies say that they are the same thing, but not for my experience.

I have a grandson that has become a tomato tasting expert. His favorites are Black Cherry, then Yellow Pear, everything else comes in lower in his thoughts. Both the Black Cherry (I always bought from Tomato Growers) and Yellow Pear will produce more than you want to pick, and sell very well.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 2:04PM
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kelise_m

I've grown both Mountain Magic and Sakura in the same year and they were definitely not the same size here.

Well, I'm throwing a few of the artisan cherries in my cherry tomato row. We should have this conversation again at the end of the season.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 2:39PM
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rustico_2009

Been doting on this a little , I really like the way ek's and Jays tomatoes look in the photos than the Johhny's collection. Much more interesting , the pears look nice.

I have grown a lot of those, or similar but not so much in the same season to mix them....looks good though. That's said I'll do a few from the types that are in the "artisan" collection to see how the are firsthand...good thread!

A friend brought some of the orange jelly beans over this weekend, she still has them producing in her back yard...those were really good. Only $2.99 @ botanical interests.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 11:07PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I bought the Sunrise and Pink Bumble bees. I was afraid either other vendors would have the plants and fruit or customers would ask and I wouldn't have them. I bought 100 seeds of each because cherry tomato plants always sell well.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 5:37PM
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rustico_2009

deleted, possible thread-jack.

This post was edited by rustico_2009 on Thu, Jan 23, 14 at 19:44

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 7:23PM
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cole_robbie(6)

I ended up ordering the variety pack and just got them in the ground yesterday. I also planted Chang Li for a yellow cherry, and white cherry. I will add black cherry soon. I tried to also start Sungold for an orange, but lost the plants.

I also planted an egg-shaped heirloom tomato called Joe Laurer's Pink German Egg. It has a good story. I am thinking that I could get a few egg cartons to put the fruit in and sell them like eggs, 6 and 12 at a time. It would be an attention-getter for the table.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 10:22AM
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2ajsmama

I started Dr. Carolyn and Galinas for yellow cherries (Ester Hess doesn't look like she's going to survive - CAES told me it might be powdery mildew). SS100, Gardner's Delight, Camp Joy for reds, Cheeseman's for a grape. Green Doctor and I might pick up a Black Cherry but I've got so many "salad" varieties this year on top of the slicers and beefsteaks (trying Orange Minsk and Golden Queen along with blacks/pinks/reds) that I don't know if I have room for more cherry tomatoes.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 4:46PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I hate the taste of Yellow Pear, Sweet Beverley is a good alternative.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 7:08PM
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barrie2m_

When Myfamily posted about Yellow Pear I wondered too but I do know that kids like the bland flavor. Never tried Sweet Beverly but there has to be a limit since I'm at over 30 small fruited varieties already and everyone must agree that they do take longer to pick.

Myfamily, you didn't mention about the Isis Candy yield. I just planted 2 plants of them this year b/c they are pittiful producers for a small fruited type. The one criteria for any small fruited type is that it must produce hundreds of tomatoes per plant.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:03AM
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cole_robbie(6)

The Chang Li is called a Chinese yellow pear, but the fruit are oblong. It's my favorite cherry tomato to eat. It grows like a weed, too, seems to have the vigor of a hybrid. It's the first heirloom tomato that has made me question the idea that heirlooms are for hobby gardeners and hybrids are for market gardeners. I still think that is generally true, but there are obviously still heirloom varieties that can be profitable to grow on a small farm.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:02AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

It always amazes me to see how many people dislike yellow pear, but every year people want to buy the plants, they ask for them in the mixed baskets or even if I would sell them a whole baskets. This year, I planted a few more (5 or 6). I even had a person ask me in January if I was going to have any of those little yellow light bulb tomatoes.

IsIs Candy has a terrible yield. I grew it for two years and never again.

It does take time to pick, but we usually always sell out of the Cherry tomatoes every week, so it does make it worthwhile. Also we are the only person at our market who sells such a wide variety and it sure helps with sales!

Jay

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:26AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Yes those are the people that don't know there is anything better. Like the people that don't realize there are other gold potatoes besides Yukon.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:13PM
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2ajsmama

But Yukon actually tastes good...

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 6:29AM
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kelise_m

I planted two varieties of the Artisan cherrys. They are nice sturdy vigorous plants but they are about half the height of the rest in my row of mixed cherries. So much so that I went back to revisit the catalog to make sure they were actually indeterminate. They are....so time will tell.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 4:30PM
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cole_robbie(6)

Same here, mine are short, too. My white cherry seedlings are twice as tall, so are my sungolds, which I am happy to have just found. They will be the orange cherry in my mix.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 5:34PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I think they are actually semi determinate depending who you ask.

As for Yukon Golds, they taste fine but are known to produce much less than other golds and yes I have tested this.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 10:41PM
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fire80

I'm confused as to what "artisan cherries" are... Are we talking heirloom/open pollinated varieties, or something else?

I grew 3 open pollinated varieties last year - Black Cherry, White Cherry, and Chadwick Cherry. Mixed them all together in the same basket, and they were my best selling item. People love cherry tomatoes, and if you mix varieties for stunning aesthetic effect, people will literally eat it up.

Out of the 3, Chadwick (Peaceful Valley) produced the best, although they were rather large sometimes (up to golf ball size). Black Cherry (Seedsavers Exchange) was the sweetest and almost as prolific as Chadwick. I highly recommend both these varieties. White Cherry (Seedsavers) was rarely white, mostly yellow (unless grown in extreme shade), not a great producer, prone to cracking, and the least productive of the 3. But I do think the contrasting color made the variety pack more appealing.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 11:05AM
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kelise_m

fire80, In this case "artisan" is just what Johnny's is calling their latest new tomatoes. They're striped. They say they are trademarked, and as far as I can tell they are open pollinated. I decided to give two of them a try this year.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 2:41PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Artisan series tomatoes are the new OP line from Baia Nicchia farm in CA. Several seed companies are carrying them. Johnny's did not develop them.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 7:19PM
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cole_robbie(6)

I was confused at first, too. Artisan is the name of the seed company that developed them. Johnny's contributed to Artisan, and is now the main seller of the varieties.

I've exchanged messages with the Artisan owner on another forum, and he is by all indications a great guy. I feel like I am lucky to get to talk to him, and that it shows a lot of character on his part that he will answer questions from someone as small-time as me. I asked him if the plants were indeterminate and would get big, and he said yes, although they start out slow.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:55PM
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barrie2m_

That is an interesting finding. I too noticed considerably shorter transplants and decided to give them a try in an outer row in a high tunnel, 6 1/2 ft. from the truss. So far other cherry/grape varieties are arounf 4 ft tall and Artisan types around 2 foot tall. There are differences in foliage growth- the Tiger series appear to carry the "Whispy" gene; Bumble Bee types almost seem to have dwarf plant compactness. If they do decide to start growing at a catch-up pace I'd be very surprised.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 11:53PM
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fiishergurl

The wispyness isnt so good for me with the high winds and excessive heat and humidity. They seem more delicate than the other cherry plants we have. They were hardened off and had been out in full sun for a month and one day that was windy and high 80's I came home from work to find the tigers had shriveled right up. The bumblebees not as bad. They have been protected and recovering for about 10 days now and should make it but none of the other plants were even affected. I had younger smaller plants of several different varieties that were in the same environment and were fine.

So I'm not sure my artisans will make it through the summer here but thats whay I only germinated one seed of each type. If yhey dont make it I will try again in fall when conditions are more favorable here.

Has anyone tasted any of the artisan tomatoes?

Ginny

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 4:57PM
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cole_robbie(6)

My artisan cherries have caught up to the other varieties. The row in this pic is all non-red cherries; the half closest to the camera are the artisans.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2014 at 3:47PM
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barrie2m_

Picked a few ripe ones, mostly Sunrise Bumble Bee and the flavor is good. But my Bumble Bee plants are still quite short and another issue is the profuse suckers on various leaf positions has me disliking the plants more than before. The Purple Bumble Bee fruits so far are notably larger than Sunrise or Pink. I'll admit the "Catseye" color scheme makes the box of tomatoes very attractive for market sales.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 6:01PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Just a small comment. When I've seen boxes of cherry tomatoes in mixed colors in the grocery store, I wanted it until I saw the green cherry tomatoes in it, then I left it there. I realized that it was probably ripe, but I don't grow green tomatoes in my own garden and I don't eat fried green tomatoes and I just would prefer a mix of yellow's, reds, purples, orange. Just one person's opinion. :-)

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 6:11PM
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fiishergurl

Anyone have any updates on the bumblebees and tigers?

Ginny

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 9:55AM
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cole_robbie(6)

I've picked a few, just enough to eat. The pic below includes some other varieties like White Cherry and Pink Egg.

I think the green ones are actually my favorite to eat. They would be fun to give to customers who tell me they won't like them.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 1:40PM
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kelise_m

I'm not too impressed with them yet. I'll be taking my first cherries to market next week but the Artisans won't be ready for at least another two weeks. The shortness of the plant and the profuse suckers are annoying. So it remains to be seen if the taste is worth it. If they do taste good I think it would be a good plant for the home garden, something to consider if you grow starts to sell.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 8:51PM
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rustico_2009

I have the green tiger (torpedo) and the red bumble bee they both are really nice and taste good. I am not selling them but if I did they would accent pints of mixed cherries not go as stand alone baskets, or maybe do 1/2 pints and charge almost as much or as much as a pint of more prolific types. They just are making a good amount of tomatoes but not like many others. Also my first time seeing such wispy kinds of plants.

My favorite eating cherry this year is the red jelly bean. really neat looking egg like shape and great taste a little crunchy which is different.

The yellow pears are coming out almost orange and taste better this year than in previous years and are not cracking. These were plants I bought at a hardware store! Yep, I held water back. The plants are not as vigorous but the tomatoes are way better.

All my tomatoes taste great this year, I gave them a lot less fertilizer( compost) and didn't spoil them with water.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 12:51AM
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barrie2m_

My only update after picking hundreds is that the yield is so-so, fruit size is variable and longitudinal splitting with Green Tiger is a bit of an issue.
Would I plant them again next year? Probably, but sparingly. I do notice customers seem to prefer them, often refering to them as "Heirloom" varieties.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:01AM
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cole_robbie(6)

I took my first batch to market last Saturday and sold them all. They were a hit. I put a sign on them that said "Artisan Cherry Tomatoes." I didn't get any flack over the green when ripe being included in the mix, which surprised me.

My 81 y/o grandma loves them. She kept saying how pretty they were. She tried a purple bumble bee and said she loved the taste, and that is coming from a fellow tomato snob like me. We're used to great-tasting tomatoes, so we are not easy to please.

I had thought there would be lower yield from the Artisans, but I think it's about the same as my other varieties. They do ripen about 1-2 weeks later than the others though.

I did get blossom end rot from not watering enough, but my other cherry varieties in the same row got it just as badly, even Chang Li, which I thought was invincible to BER. Next year, I am going to run two pieces of drip tape on each row and also buy a timer for watering to try to get more consistent moisture levels.

Another thing I have to get better at for next year is pruning to a single stem. My seedlings had the top freeze out in the greenhouse, and grew into bushes that flop onto the ground. Picking is more difficult, and stink bugs are bad. Pruning to a single stem and getting all fruit as far as possible from the ground is definitely the way to go.

Overall, I'm happy with the Artisans, and I will include them in my cherry mix for next year.

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by Cole_Robbie on Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 14:09

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 11:14AM
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