Joisey tomatoes?

emmers_m(9a/Sunset 7 N Cal)February 9, 2014

Since I will probably be spending the rest of my life growing and tasting even a fraction of the tomato varieties I would want to, I had the thought to interject now a specific pursuit for the agricultural heritage of my area.

I've lived in New Jersey all my life and gardened for the past 5 years and I haven't even grown Rutgers yet - are Rutgers and Ramapo my best bets for 'Joisey' tomatoes? What other tasty tomatoes were developed in or popular in New Jersey?



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The subject of Rutgers came up on another forum. I have never tried it, even though I received several free packets over the years when I lived in VT. It looked like a big red boring tomato to me - ooops!

I was advised to grow Rutgers and find out for myself how good it tastes. Many people really like it! Apparently, Rutgers is used as some kind of standard by which to judge all the others. ie better than Rutgers, smaller, bigger, earlier, later.

It is now available as an Open Pollinated tomato, so if you find you really like it, you can save the seeds.

Just a thought.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 11:32AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Below is a Google search for so called Jersey tomatoes which I think you'll find interesting.

They are loosely defined in one of those articles as being round and red. LOL

The only two that come to mind that were developed in NJ that were available to the public were Rutgers, now with about 7 versions, as well as Ramapo F1.

I had grown Ramapo F1 and liked it but then it went out of production. I was able to get some seeds for the F1 both from Rutgers itself, thru contacts there, as well as one person in NJ who had sandbagged some F1 seeds.

So I was able to dehybridize it with direct comparison to the F1 at each selection. Since Ramapo had only two parents it took me only out to the F3 to get something stable. Thus the OP that many now grow. I sent F3 seeds to someone I know who was a commercial farmer in NJ who now works for Homerland Security on the Canadian border, and he said that he couldn't tell it from the F1.

Also, Campbell Soup CO was in NJ and they developed many varieties, but they were mainlyfor their own company, but soon some of those varieties became availale to the public and I know of one long list naming them and some sources.

One of the Joisy links indicates a KC- I forgot the number, and I was offering that one in my recent seed offer elsewhere, now closed.

So other than Rutgers and Ramapo F1 I don't know of any other varieties bred in NJ, the farmers there grfew lots of other varieties that were bred elsewhere, and of course there are all the Campbell ones to consider, which were bred as processing varieties, also used as canners and by some for fresh eating.

I just went to Tania's excellent site to see which Campbell ones she lists and found that the one I mentioned above that I was offering in my seed offer is KC-146, seeds available at the place she lists as to seed availability on that page.

Here are the others, but I didn't check any others for seed availability:

Hope that helps,

Carolyn, who grew up fearing cars with those light yellow Joisy license plates . Crazy drivers in NJ. LOL

Here is a link that might be useful: Jersey Tomatoes

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 1:43PM
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As an alumna of Rutgers (back when that campus was known as the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences) and Jersey-born, I have grown Rutgers and Ramapo, as well as a few other Jersey-bred tomatoes.

To me, Rutgers just doesn't taste like I remember it back in the '60's. I even saved seeds from my own plants for a couple of years - I'm thinking my original seeds were not the best to start with. The good news is Dr. Orton and Peter Nitzsche obtained original seed stock from Campbell's Soup of both Marglobe and JTD and are growing out a "retro" Rutgers. Keeping my fingers crossed that will be a success.

Ramapo, for me, was not that great a producer, so I quit planting it.

Marglobe was just OK, so that didn't make the cut.

JTD has been a good canner/all-purpose tomato - nice flavor and prolific.

Rutgers is offering KT-146 this year - one of the varieties developed by Campbell's - and supposedly the best before it was "improved". I may try that one this year. I still have a few spots open in the garden plan. I did grow Campbell 1327 for a couple of years. It was very good, but I tried other varieties the next few years.

I have not tried Moreton. So many tomatoes - so little space.

Jersey Devil (I think it originally was from a Metuchen seed company?) is a very good, but very late paste tomato.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. You might want to consider attending the summer tomato tasting at Snyder Research Farm in Pittstown. It's usually in August. Enjoyable day and you get to talk to a lot of NJAES faculty and staff. They love to talk tomato :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Rutgers-Snyder Research Farm

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Rutgers is my go-to, old standby that I plant every year as did my Dad back in the 50s.
John A

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 9:30AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I have not tried Moreton. So many tomatoes - so little space.

Jersey Devil (I think it originally was from a Metuchen seed company?) is a very good,


Moreton Hybrid was bred by the Harris Seed Co in Rochester, NY. It wasone of the first hybrids made avaialable to thepublic alongwith Big Boy F1 and Better Boy F1, which have acommonparent of an heirloom variety from themidwest called Teddy Jones.

I happen to think that the Harris bred hybrids, the ones bred early on are some of THE best tasting ones, and that would include Moreton Hybrid, Supersonic F1 and Jet Star F1.

And yes, Jersey Devil was developed by The Tomato Seed Co in Metuchen, NJ and then moved to GA and then folded. I used to get their catalog, paper, printed in red and green. ( smile)

Below I linked to Tania'spage for Jersey Devil, and I'm not so sure it was that old, but the SSE acquistion number listed would take it back only to the 80's so it's possible. And quite a few companies offer Jersey Devil for 2014 if you click on seed availability at that site.

J T D has been available from Mike Dunton at Victory Seeds but I don't see a listing for it for 2014, but that could also be b/c Mike has not yet submitted to Tania his current listings.

Marglobe was not developed in NJ but it was grown widely there for many years. And when I looked at the above page I saw that Mike at Victory seeds lists it, so it looks like he had sent Tania his updates and he's not listing J T D for 2014.

Hope that helps,

Carolyn, who treasures the faculty contacts she's had with some faculty members at Rutgers, not just for the F1 Ramapo seeds but also the one who cleaned out the office of ???? and found the original papers for the tomato variety Rutgers from 1928 when it was an indeterminate, but was so called improved and released in 1933 at which time that version was determinate, as it is today.

Here is a link that might be useful: Jersey Devil

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 11:15AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I printed an order form for Rutgers University seeds and mailed it in with a check. The shipping cost is very cheap so why not try them?

Here is a link that might be useful: Ramapo, KC 146 and Moreton

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 11:22AM
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emmers_m(9a/Sunset 7 N Cal)

Oh, this is exciting :)

I've now made a snap shopping decision and purchased Rutgers, JTD and 'Burpee's Quarter Century' from Victory because I recalled that I'd been wanting to order a Dwarf variety from them (Rosella Purple) since last year.

'Burpee's Quarter Century' was described as being from Monmouth County, and so am I - so I couldn't pass that one up.

JTD might be redundant as a parent of Rutgers but the description said it was specifically bred to do well in NJ, and it is indeterminate, so theoretically will contrast with Rutgers there.

I have become confused about the determinancy of Rutgers - I have seen it described as indeterminate, semi-determinate and determinate from various sources (the tomatoBase and Cornell's vegetable varieties have it as indeterminate, for example.) I understand the 'improvement' history, but I'd think all these vendors/sources are referring to the re-introduction by now.

Except those carrying what they are calling 'Original Strain' - Fedco and Southern Exposure, from what I found - which is supposed to be indeterminate. Malna, have you tried that one?

I foggily recall reading a thread or two about this confusion - I will go try to rustle those up. Maybe the Rutgers people have explained it when they said the variety continued to be selected over the years and now many divergent strains exist. I am very excited to see what they come up with when they try to re-breed Rutgers! Hopefully I will have grown the commonly available one by then and will have a basis for comparison. I wonder if they will be going for a determinate or an indeterminate?

I have wanted to make it to Pittstown. Last year was awkward being a Wednesday and I left it until too late to try to rustle up any like-tomato-minded company. Hopefully I can make it this year.

I actually do have in my tomato repertoire a paste called Jersey Giant, which I forgot to mention when posting. Jersey Devil sounds exactly like it - does anyone know how they differ?

It's not extremely productive for me but I grow it because it is the closest thing to a 'sweet' tomato I've grown - odd because I have a number of varieties commonly referenced as sweet. I don't know whether its the Joisey soil or the Joisey tastebuds, but there is evidently some deep-seated recognition of a proper tomato!

I will likely order the varieties from Rutgers as well. I have been reading about their efforts over the past few years and I'd like to support them. I just a) have to figure out how many spots I can devote to these trials and b) have to get over a newfound fear that I'll get 'hooked' on a hybrid and then it will go unavailable again.

Although it sounds like Ramapo will live on as an OP - thank you, Carolyn!

~emmers, who absolutely noticed the post-scripted dig about Joisey drivers :) and feels compelled to point out that it's actually a set of defensive driving techniques learned to fend off the hordes of New Yawkers pillaging our apples, pumpkins and (of course) tomatoes!

    Bookmark   February 10, 2014 at 7:01PM
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If anyone does go to Rutgers Tomato event in Pittstown, we've been successful there for a few years in bringing small zip-locks, and taking home an heirloom slice with seeds, after sampling and finding a yummy one. Out of the 50 or so there, a few have always hit the spot. (it helps to bring some crackers).

    Bookmark   February 12, 2014 at 2:38PM
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No, emmers, I haven't tried the "Original Strain". I can't remember where I got my Rutgers seeds, but I *think* the first few years might have been from a Burpee seed rack at the feed store, then one pack from Agway, then one from some other seed rack somewhere, etc. Twenty years ago, I thought seeds were...seeds. If it said "Rutgers", it WAS "Rutgers".

I should have know better, but I sure didn't. Too soon old, too late smart.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2014 at 6:14PM
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thebutcher(6b (Philadelphia area))

I posted a link that may help from Rutgers talking about the Ramapo and Rutgers ect.... I grew the about 10 Ramapo plants last season for myself and family/friends it did great and tasted great and very prolific. But I am no expert but have been eating Jersey tomatoes my whole life same with others that have tasted them and I and the people who had the Ramapo aggreed it was great.

This year I am ordering Ramapo again (even though I kept last years pack), KC 146 and a Moreton just to compare. As stated above, I read from Rutgers site that they are trying to revive the original Rutgers or close to it.within a year or so. I also hope to make it up to the Rutgers event this year.

Also on that site the order form is for them, it says 2013 but it is updated.

I hope this helps,
Mr. Beno

Here is a link that might be useful: Rutgers U

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 5:45PM
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emmers_m(9a/Sunset 7 N Cal)

I've now received my Victory Seeds order and sent off my Rutgers order form, so I'm well on my way to a Joisey tomato-off in my garden this summer!

I did rummage around in old threads and found some of the Rutgers discussions I'd been thinking of - it seems that there are determinate, semideterminate, and indeterminate versions out there all just labeled as 'Rutgers.' I presume this is due to the continuing segregation the Rutgers NJAES referenced. Victory indicated determinate, so hopefully I'm getting something close to the iconic Rutgers tomato, but for my purposes I don't know that I care about the determinancy overly much. I will be slightly disappointed if it survives the toxic maelstrom of foliage disease that is my garden only to abruptly quit making tomatoes, but I doubt that will be the case.

I will be very excited to see what Rutgers NJAES comes up with for their Rutgers re-intro.

Thanks everyone for your input! Now please make it stop snowing so I can plant tomatoes!


    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 10:03AM
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