Opalka vs Amish Paste?

ladykitsuJanuary 25, 2008

Okay, This is only my second year with my garden, so I'm looking to expand my horizens past the Roma.

We do about 95% canning, so I was looking for a good paste...already read the paste suggestions which lead me to finally ask this question ;)

I had *planned* on doing Romas (as a known factor) and then trying the Amish Paste, as my "new" one because I heard it was really tasty, etc, etc....BUT alot of ya'll on the paste rec thread seem to LOVE the Opalka (as well as others of course).

So have any of you grown both of them? If so which did you like better? I havn't ordered seed yet so I have time to change my mind ;)

Thanks!

Laura

Oh and ... the others I'm growing this year will be

Fox Cherry

Pink Oxheart

Purple Russian - because I want to try a different colored one each year ;)

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HoosierCheroKee(IN6)

Lady K,

I have grown both, side by side, in 2006. Opalka by far is the superior to Amish Paste, in my opinion. Opalka has a thinner, more tender skin, a deeper red color both inside and out, is sweeter tasting, more flavorful overall, has denser flesh, fewer seeds, far less gel and open space inside, has a more sturdy growth habit and better leaf coverage. I grew Amish Paste from two sources and the Opalka from just one source. That about sums up my experience, except to point out that Opalka is Polish in origin, which may explain its superiority!

Bill

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 11:05AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree. Opalka consistently out-performs Amish Paste. There have been numerous discussions about the two here and Opalka always comes out on top.

Dave

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 12:51PM
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tom8olvr(Z5 MA)

Agree... Opalka... if you only had to space for one - but both really are quite good... Opalka I think is probably BETTER for what you're looking for.

Tom-

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 3:42PM
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gtomato(z7 N Carolina)

Haven't grown AP yet but Opalka was a DUD for me two years in a row. Won't grow it again. AP is on my grow list this year.
Fruits didn't get big and taste was blah!! Very dry last year though.

Greg

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 8:39PM
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kimpossible

Opalka, hands down. There will always be someone who has a bad experience/bad growing conditions, but I believe in this case that that is the exception, rather than the rule.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2008 at 11:02PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

YEs, I've grown both Amish Paste and Opalka, and I don't even consider AP as a paste tomato; too juicy and seedy for me.

So I'm another one who likes Opalka, and even though I'm the person who first introduced it I have a hard time understanding why so many folks want to use paste tomatoes for sauce, etc.

And as for canning, there are other varieties, non-pastes, that I think are great, I mean, why use a paste tomato for canning? ( smile)

Just me own wee opinions here. LOL

Carolyn

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 12:13AM
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HoosierCheroKee(IN6)

Well, with most paste tomatoes I've grown, they were kinda mealy and dry. So, they weren't really the best for fresh eating ... so canning seemed the logical use. But with Opalka, not a single tomato made it to the kettle since they are so tender skinned, fine fleshed, sweet and flavorful, that we used them all for salad tomatoes ... and several for seed saving.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 9:47AM
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ladykitsu

Alrighty...I think that did it...between what you guys think and some more in-depth digging for those threads Dave mentioned. I think I'll grow the Opalka this time ;)

Carolyn - I like using paste tomatoes because the cook down faster, so I still get more of that "fresh" tomato flavor....But last year I had *SO* many Brandywine I tossed them in the pot also ;) Those brandywine plants produced like rabbits :D It made for a tasty sauce though, just took forever to cook down.

Thanks ya'll!
Laura

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 10:19AM
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tomatomike(z7NC)

A word of caution...I tried Opalka several times from various sources and until last year I did not have the real McCoy. Even if you purchase it from a catalog it might not be right. I could not agree more that it is the bomb, but try to get someone here that has good seed to trade with or get seed from. Only then will you be sure of what you get.

Mike. who spent almost 10 years trying to find "pepper tomato" from a friend in S. Ohio, which surely must have been Opalka (finally!!)

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 2:07PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Mike. who spent almost 10 years trying to find "pepper tomato" from a friend in S. Ohio, which surely must have been Opalka (finally!!)

*****

Mike, there are many long red ones that have different names, such as Howard German, Pepper, Sausage, Opalka, Jersey Devil and on and on. So I wouldn't equate Pepper with Opalka/

I've grown most of them, but they really are different in terms of taste and production and susceptibility to Early Blight ( A. solani)

No one has really talked about the smaller red paste types such as Heidi and Mama Leone, for instance, and Heidi is loved by many folks, And then there's Martino's Roma which is also very good for those who like to grow paste types.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 3:01PM
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douglas14(z3/4 MN)

I like paste/meaty tomatoes to add to others, when making tomato juice. I've heard they can make the juice thicker. I like a fairly thick tomato juice. I'm trying Opalka for the first time this year, and can't wait. It also sounds great for salads too!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 12:45AM
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triple_b(BC 5b)

I grew Amish last year but have never tried Opalka. I found AP quite satisfactory, but then that is compared to regular Romas where you have to blanch and peel three times as many. I liked the size of the AP. Me thinks I may have to source out some Opalkas. Canadian source anyone?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 5:05PM
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tomatomike(z7NC)

Carolyn,

I'll rephrase me statement and add that the Opalka was the most like the "pepper tomato" I was given by a friend from Southern Ohio. (He did not garden, just had the tomatoes and said that the source saved the seed and grew them every year)

The only saved seed I had of them did not germinate, so I started trying those described in the catalogs that I thought might be it and the quest for that tomato is what originally brought me to this forum. Of the dozen or so of the sausage/pepper/even cow's teat and "not true" seed, finally the Opalka I grew most matched that great tomato I had. It might not be the pepper tomato from Southern Ohio, but it is the only one that satisfied my quest. Maybe someday I will be able to get some more of those tomatoes or seeds.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 9:16PM
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HoosierCheroKee(IN6)

TomatoMike,

Maybe a coincidence ... but Audrey Jennings, my neighbor's mother, grows a tomato in Chandler, Indiana, that she calls her "Magic" tomato. It very closely resembles Opalka, and she got it from some gardening friends in Ohio over 20 years ago. Next time I see Mrs. Jennings, I'll ask her if she remembers where in Ohio the tomato came from.

Bill

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 5:58AM
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louster(5)

Love Opalka, for everything...it's my husband's favorite tomato for BLT's, and it's great in salsa. As far as why some like using the "paste" tomatoes for sauce rather than any of the others, for me, personally, it's a time issue. I have two small kids, and it's hard to be tied to the kitchen for the time that it takes to cook down really juicy tomatoes into sauce. When the kids are older, though, I plan on doing some experimenting!!!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 10:22AM
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tom8olvr(Z5 MA)

Triple B, I've had good luck mailing seeds to Canada, I have a few Opalka to share. Please give me your e mail address, and I will e mail you and get your address. And same for you, Ladykitsu...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 2:53PM
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ladykitsu

Why thank you tom8olvr! My email address is ladykitsu at hotmail dot com

(I'm not sure if there is a way to privatly message folks here).

Thank you again!
Laura

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 9:27PM
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sanj(Rocky Mtn Z5)

Hi Tom8olvr...I would like to try growing opalka as well. If you have few seeds to share, I would love to have it as well. I could not send you an email; your email is not listed on the forum. My email is listed under my profile.
thanks for listening.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 5:17PM
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John11840(z6/CT)

I grew opalka for the first time last year and was quite pleased with them. Hoosiercherokee was the source of my seed. Thanks Bill. I saved seed last year so I now have a bunch.
John A

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 2:45PM
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reba_nc(z 7)

Arghhhh.......I ordered Amish Paste, Green Sausage (novelty of green sauce intrigued me) and Federle for next year already. Thought about Opalka, name sounded Polish in origin so I thought it might not do as well in my climate as something Italian like Federle. Anyone grown the latter? I'd love a review.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 11:19AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Arghhhh.......I ordered Amish Paste, Green Sausage (novelty of green sauce intrigued me) and Federle for next year already. Thought about Opalka, name sounded Polish in origin so I thought it might not do as well in my climate as something Italian like Federle. Anyone grown the latter? I'd love a review.

*****

Reba, the origin of a tomato variety is not an indication of where it might grow well.

Opalka would grow just fine in NC.

Remember that most of the seed that's produced large scale by wholesalers is produced in the Far East and that seed grows perfectly fine almost everywhere.

I'm in zone 5 and can grow anything from anywhere even if the original variety came from a zone 3 or a zone 10, and so can you. ( smile) In other words, the concept of adaptation to local areas is not a meaningful one IMO.

I'm sorry I can't give you a review for Federle b/c I've not grown it, but if no one answers I can look in one of my SSE Yearbooks and tell you what others say.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 11:51AM
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snoggerboy(RSA)

I live in Southern hemisphere - our season is fast approaching - From all this talk about Opalka I'sure like to lay my hands on a few Opalka seeds. We dont have much for choice in South Africa...

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 12:07PM
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tom8olvr(Z5 MA)

I'm game... give me your e mail address and we'll see how we can get them to you!

abbywheeler@yahoo.com put something in the subject line about opalka.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 12:22PM
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farkee(Florida)

You can't imagine the electricity I use when I use "regular' tomatoes for sauce. You can't go out with the stove on and there is the constant stirring to boot. Fresh taste? forget it. It takes FORVEVER to cook it down. I have lots of time too but still find it a pain. I fill up a big freezer every season with sealed bags of sauce . I have never tried using all pastes either--as I have never grown enough pastes to do anything with.

This year I am thinking of pouring off half the juice???but I sorta hate to do that, seems a waste but I also don't want to cook it to death for hours and hours. ALso wonder about using 1/2 paste and 1/2 regular 'good tasting ' toms--thinking it might taste better but still get thick quicker.

I didn't really have successful crops of Amish Paste or Opalka but too many people rave about Carolyn's Opalka not to give it another shot. I have another very good seed source.

I also like Speckled Roman --I am guessing that is what I tried in the fields at Rodale Organic Research Farm last year. Not sure it is is considered a paste but I think it would be very good in sauce.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 1:26PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I didn't really have successful crops of Amish Paste or Opalka but too many people rave about Carolyn's Opalka not to give it another shot. I have another very good seed source.

*****

Farkee, it's not MY Opalka, it belongs to the Swidorski family from Poland and they brought seeds with them when they came to America.

My seeds were from Carl Swidorski, a colleague of mine where I last taught.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've introduced hundreds of varieties to the SSE Yearbook initially and I don't consider any of them to be mine. (smile)

Just a wording problem as far as I'm concerned but I know what you're trying to say, I do.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 7:25PM
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ddsack

>>>This year I am thinking of pouring off half the juice???but I sorta hate to do that, seems a waste but I also don't want to cook it to death for hours and hours. .>>>

Farkee, pour off the clear juice after the solids settle, but don't discard it. Just freeze it separately, it makes great soup stock for vegetable or beef soups.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 9:53PM
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reba_nc(z 7)

Ordered my seed from SSE. Anybody got Opalka seed they want to trade? I've got Lots of veggie seeds and herb cuttings!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 10:01PM
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deeluzon

Farkee,

i've had success from roasting any/all types of toms for about an hour and then processing just the toms, themselves (much of the liquid will be in the roasting pan). straining some and not some, i then freeze the leftover liquid (some as ice cubes) to use all winter long. it's very handy to have the juice and cuts the sauce-cooking time enormously.

i'm trying opalkas for the first time (spotted my very first tiny fruit today!!!) and, relieved by reports that limpness is a not worrisome characteristic, i'm looking forward to 3 plants worth of yumminess in a couple of months!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 11:30PM
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lilacs_of_may

I'm still a tomato newbie, and I'm experimenting with several different types, mostly paste tomatoes.

I had trouble getting the Amish Paste to germinate this year. Took a couple tries, so my AP hasn't even gotten to the point of forming flower clusters yet. My Opalka has a problem with blossom drop. Only one tomato has formed so far. But that might be because it's my only tomato plant in a black container. It's been so hot here, anyway, and the black pot is no doubt absorbing even more heat.

Haven't had a chance to taste either of them yet. I'll let you know in a couple of months. :-)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 12:49AM
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snoggerboy(RSA)

tom8olvr - Tom
Thanks for seeds offer - I sent PM to your email addr. Opalka does seem to be an excellent tomato.
Our Roma's are still bearing fruit halfway trough winter here. We havent had a frost yet. Fruits are small but the diy Earthbox may be that is keeping them going.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 5:25AM
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tom8olvr(Z5 MA)

Reba NC - you can e mail me too - address is above. I have some left from what I bought for 2008 season.

:)

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 8:24AM
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farkee(Florida)

ddsack and deeluzon, thanks for the tips. I will freeze watery juice and also try roasting.

Carolyn, Only meant that hopefully the unsolicited seeds sent to me from a dedicated Opalka fan will be close to your original introduction but I get the important distinction. You are only passing on a variety and getting it into the mainstream to 'save' for posterity. But my original seeds may be fine too-could have been that particular season or whims of the tomato gods. Plus I keep forgetting that pastes aren't necessary all that good tasting.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 4:52PM
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grandad_2003(9A/sunset 28)

So I tried what was supposed to be Opalka this year based on the favorable reviews in this 5 year old thread.

Results are small plants (not spindly), with small sized fruit which more resemble San Marzano. In short, I believe my purchased Opalka seeds are something other than Opalka.

I also tried Amish Paste as a comparison this year. Plants are tall spindly; two to three times the height of the "Opalka" plants. Production looks OK - fewer fruit but much larger than the supposed "Opalka".

I may try Opalka again next year but if I do so will definitely need to find a different source for the seed.

This post was edited by grandad on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 9:54

    Bookmark   June 10, 2013 at 3:58PM
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wcthomas

There is a lot of faux-Opalka seed out there, and I received the wrong seed on my first two attempts from commercial sources. Finally got the right seed from Tomato Growers Supply (TGS) and have saved my own ever since.

TomNJ/VA

    Bookmark   June 11, 2013 at 8:33AM
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