Good tomato for food pantry donation

asarum(z6 Boston)January 22, 2014

This year I want to grow some tomatoes to take to the food pantry. Usually I grow heirlooms for my own use, and don't mind cracking etc. However, I am now looking for a red or pink variety that produces good looking, fairly high yield tomatoes. I am looking for some suggestions. I have some leads from catalog reading, but would love to hear about any that you have personal experience with.

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I don't personally grow tomatoes, but a local farm that grows produce for food pantries grows the following varieties (I've volunteered there):

Big Beef Tomato, Sun Gold Cherry Tomato, Indigo Rose Tomato, Red Pearl Red Grape Tomato, Rose de Berne Tomato, and Granadero plum tomato.

Do you already have a food pantry in mind? You might want to call to see if there is a kind of tomato they'd prefer (i.e. grape tomatoes vs. beefsteak etc.) good luck!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 7:42PM
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In addition to my heirlooms which I keep, i always plant a few Celebrities, Jetstar, Supersonic or Ace55 for give-aways. Since these varieties produce when EVERYBODY has surplus tomatoes, consider Burpee's Long Keeper so you can donate later in the season, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 7:56PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

You want to grow a hybrid if looks are part of the equation. I highly recommend Better Boy if you want something that looks like it was purchased in the grocery store. The flavor is very good. For taste and good looks, my vote hands down is Brandy Boy. It's a hybrid of Brandywine and to me tastes just as good. It's not a perfectly round tomato but it has a much more uniform shape than Brandywine without all of the weird cracks and such that you find with heirloom tomatoes. The yield is also much higher. I'm a big fan of Cherokee Purple. Other than the purplish color associated with them, I find the shape to be very round and consistent without many imperfections. The taste is hard to beat.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 10:00PM
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I grow Early Girls and Better Boys. I get high yield, consistent round fruits without cracking, and good taste. The early girl is a smaller tomato - maybe 2" maximum diameter.

For cherries, I grow sungolds. They are a yellow cherry. Super sweet. High yield. Though they do crack if they get over ripe. Definitely a tomato that you can leave on the table for snacking. Kids love them. Last summer, 6 sun gold vines gave me a quart of tomatoes every 2 days.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:42AM
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asarum(z6 Boston)

Thank you all for the suggestions! I have just retired and have to revamp my gardening plans. I used to grow lots of Sungold and take it into work where people ate them as a snack food. Very popular! At least with my work schedule, I ended composting many split Sungold tomatoes. I will still be growing them and see if I can improve on the harvesting.

This is a good year to test out various food pantry choices, so I will probably pick 3 or 4 of the above suggestions. One unfortunate effect of retirement is more time to gaze at the seed catalogues. My list is already longer than usual. I am telling myself I will have so much more time to tend the seedlings, etc.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:37AM
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I haven't grown tomatoes lately, but I love an older variety called Marglobe for having beautiful (if not very exciting!) perfect looking fruit.

When my kids were young, they didn't want to eat anything speckled or unusual; a yellow tomato, or one with a split skin, would never get eaten. Marglobe was, at the time, a good choice for flavor, yield, uniformity, and overall health. Not sure if it's still around, I think it was one of the older tomato varieties.

I'm guessing that some food pantry clients may also have kids with food preferences like mine had.

Kudos to you for supporting your food pantry like this, by the way!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:31PM
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asarum(z6 Boston)

Thanks, Diggingthedirt! My aim was to grow for a group that would include the non-adventurous and those who may not be used to the funky nature of home grown. I will keep Marglobe in mind.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 12:01PM
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