Just received my Dona F1 seeds from France. Supposedly they're the "real deal". Looking forward to growing them out to see if they're as fabulous as many claim them to be.
How are they supposed to differ from the Dona F1 seeds sold by US based seed suppliers?
From what I understand DonaF1 seeds are no longer available in the US. The "Dona" seeds currently available are actually open pollinated and per others here on GW are inferior to the original/real Dona F1.
I find listings for these US vendors:
Kitchen Garden Seeds -- F1 -- out of stock
Reimer -- Dona F1 -- out of stock (but when they had it, they apparently charged $3.50 for 10 seeds)
Renee's -- "no longer produced"
TomatoFest -- they'll sell you a generous amount of seeds of something named Dona, but there's nothing whatsoever to say whether it's OP or F1. Good grief.
I found this with something called "Google custom search beta" which lets me search for seeds from online vendors. I copied it from a link on a news forum years ago; it still works for me, but I have no idea if this is the same sort of free custom search Google offers to people with web sites.
I keep it on my Firefox bookmark toolbar, so I don't have to copy and paste the whole address. Yes, it's huge. But it works.
Here it is, if anyone wants it. You'll have to clear the Search field and enter the name of the seeds you're looking for. Any site that has their seed list in Adobe format probably won't show up.
Here's a clickable link:
Google custom seed search
And here's the non-clickable address:
Good to know since I still have some of the Dona F1 seeds from several years back. Guess I'll add a couple plants to my plans for this year.
I grew the Vilmorin Dona F1 seeds last year. Tasty tomato although the skins were a bit thicker than I like. I also grew the TomatoFest Dona OP alongside in the same container and frankly, it was a pretty close match.
Now that is really good info to have Ray. I know Gary Ibsen at Tomato Fest says something similar - that there is little to no difference - but it is good to hear it from another trusted source too. Thanks.
The Vilmorin F1 Donas were more consistent in size than the OP version from TomatoFest (which is what one would expect from an F1 versus an OP) but other than that, not so much difference, as I recall.
How nice to see someone else taking the trouble to get Dona F1
seeds all the way from France. How did you do it? Doesn't sound
like you went there to get them. By mail or online order?
If so, what company and how was delivery? I have ordered
online from lemondedujardin.com before and probably will
again. However, it was expensive and slow, taking about a
month. I think at the time they just weren't expecting any US
order and were a bit floored, but they did fill. It is clear from
your pic of the package that you really do have the real thing
from the only company that breeds and sells them.
BTW, there are NO US based sellers of Dona F1 hybrid
seeds, though if you know something I don't I will gladly be
corrected on this. What there are, are lots of people selling
seeds saved from time to time. These are NOT Dona F1
and the purveyors should know better. They are also not
Dona at all, though as they may have some of the genetic
heritage of the original hybrid, they may be similar.
I have myself saved seeds from a Dona F1 plant and planted
them the following year. This was the year after Vilmorin
discontinued them and I had none left. The result was a
pretty good tomato but not good enough and not Dona as
they did not have the subtleness and complexity of flavor
that the original Dona F1 does have. I predict that you will
be happy you got the right stuff!
@digdirt - If your "old" seeds don't do well for you, let me
know and I can send you a couple of seeds.
@mewste - Do you mind saying how and where you got
One last note - Dona F1, in my experience, is quite similar
to Ramapo F1. I'm sure the genetic line is not the same but
the result is similar. Dona, however, has the added
complexity of flavor and, though I like Ramapo as well,
in my opinion Dona is superior.
sneezer2 thank you for the great information. I am looking forward to finally growing this variety. I did purchase the seed from the person you referenced. I did so online with a credit card. I was surprised how quickly I received them. I believe in less than 2 weeks!! But yes, they were expensive. Thanks again for your input.
Yes, I suspected that. I'll order there again. I was probably the
first American who ever did, in 2010 when I found out that
Vilmorin had brought Dona back. Unfortunately, as far as
I know, no one in US has picked them up. Anyway, LMJ is
OK and probably now they are not completely flummoxed by
a US order.
If you look around the websites of French seed sellers you
find that most of them are not prepared to accept a US order.
I found out though, just by going through the online process,
that LMJ had not ruled it out, so I went ahead.
Interestingly, there is a Vilmorin retail store in Paris and it is
right close to some major tourist sights. I picked up a few
there in 2011.
@gponder. BTW, I do not want to mislead and thereby cause
any disappointment. Don't expect Dona F1 to be one of those
varieties of tomato with a blow-the-top-of-your-head-off
intensity of flavor. There are those and I like them as well
but Dona F1 is not that type. By contrast, it is relatively
mild and that seems to disappoint some folks. I enjoy it that way,
though, because it allows for a complexity and subtlety of
flavor that I have not been able to find anywhere else.
Also, here is another one you might like - Moreton F1. Now
this is a fairly intense one. At least the one fruit I had
was like that. I intend to grow them this year. Carolyn137
has recommended Moreton on this forum. It is a product
of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at
Rutgers University in their program to revive the renowned
"Jersey Tomato" of mid-20th-century fame. That was before
everything was grown in Florida and Mexico. Some of their
results are extraordinary.
Reach them at:
I hope this info is of use to you. See as well a thread I
expect to add as soon as I can finish writing it on
Are the Dona F1 that are now at Reimer, the original? I grew it just for the name, and ended up liking it immensely. Last year I purchased from Tomato Fest, and found it to be different. Does anyone know? THANKS!
Dona F1 and Carmello F1, both French hybrids, were originally offered by Renee Shepherd many years ago and I grew them both.
Honestly I didn't think theys competed with some of the earliest hybrids bred by Harris Seeds or Ramapo F1 either,
Nice plants, uniform red fruits, decent yields and that's about it for me.
I could grow some OP varieties that had the same triats such as Break O Day,and get the same plus better taste IMO.
Right now I can't remembe rwhich disease tolerence genes were bred in, but that didn't matter to me since where I live the foliage diseases are the mainconcern,not systemic soilborne diseases.