Green Zebra Cherry or Michael Pollan? COMPARE

kristimamaFebruary 20, 2012

Hi everyone,

We have a space in the garden where I usually grow Green Zebra... which is extremely prolific for the sheer quantity of tomatoes it puts out but we're not crazy about the flavor. I don't like them green/too tart... I wait until they have yellow skin, and by then they are a bit mealy.

But I still would like to add a green tomato (or green stripe) in the garden to complement the mix of tomatoes I grow.

I just heard about the "Michael Pollan" tomato, but also saw that it tends to get BER?

I also saw a few references here to the Green Zebra Cherry (rave reviews mostly). Some say it is just a cherry-sized Green Zebra... others say it bears no resemblance in flavor to Green Zebra.

So... I'm wondering for those who have grown any or all of these, how do you compare them? What do they taste like? Is GZCherry also susceptible to BER?

Are there other green/yellow striped cherry sized tomatoes I'm missing?



PS.... just in case it matters, here's the list of tomatoes I'm growing this summer:

-Maglia Rosa

-St. Pierre

-Hillbilly (Or German Stripe, if I can find it as a start)


-Haley's Purple Comet

-Jaune Flamme


-Rose de Berne

-Super Sweet 100

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Green Zebra Cherry I got from A friend in Germany several years ago. It was found in a mixed box of cherry tomatoes at a local store and was traced back to the NEtherlands and that's all that's known.

I sent seeds to many seed places where I normally send seed for trial as well as SSE listing it.

I'm sure that Manfred named it Green Zebra Cherry b'c it does resemble Green Zebra, However I don't like the taste at all of Green Zebra and love the taste of GZCherry.

I haven't grown Michael Pollen, but have grown many on your list includihng Maglia Rose as well as Blush, both bred by Fred Hempel in CA.

With respect to BER ANY variety can exhibit BER b/c the factors that can induce it are so many and so different, so I don't pay that much attention to the worthiness of a variety related to BER b'c if a variety has it one year, it amy not the next year. The exception would be paste varieties which are very prone to BER as well as Early BLight ( A. solani)

If you want to add a larger green when ripe variety please consider Cherokee Green and Green Giant, which I think are two of the best around. And there's also Green Doctors which is a green when ripe cherry as well.

Summary? GZ Cherry was named that b'c it looks like GZ but there's no known relationship between the two as I noted above.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 4:55PM
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Thanks, Carolyn. Very thorough response, and I love all the background. I have never had any BER with any of the varieties I grow here in the Bay Area... but I steer clear when I see the warning.

How would you *describe* the taste of the GZ Cherry? Is it sweet or tart, fruity or tangy?

I know taste is so subjective, but it helps to get a first hand description. After having grown "Spike" last 2 years and finding it WAYYYY too tangy, I'm careful now. LOL

Yes, I grew Blush one year when Fred had it at the Berkeley farmer's market, but I didn't like the "pineapple" flavor. Most people RAVE about blush. They're pretty, but I prefer the flavor of Maglia Rosa much more... and since it a little shorty of a plant (compared to indeterminates) I ususally grow a few whereever I can shove them in, including pots.

I'll check out the others you mentioned, too.


    Bookmark   February 20, 2012 at 8:44PM
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Hey kmama, I grew Michael Pollan last year. It was a small plant for me, nothing like the GZ in terms of production and size of plant. No problem with BER. And the taste? Meh, I don't think I'll grow it again, no room here to give ALL tomatoes that disappointed a second chance, wish I could. It was on the tartish side, for me.
Like you, I'm not that crazy about GZ either, but grew them just for the sheer abundance. I need colorful fillers for my multi-colored salsa, that's why. Cherokee Green tasted a bit better, but if you don't pick it at the right time then it's way mushy. I liked Drs Green Frosted, but its a cherry. I don't use cherries in salsas.
I am still looking for that one green tomato I can't live without...haven't found it yet. But that's okay as I'll probably still use the green as a back-up singer, not a star.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 12:20AM
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tom_wagner(z7 WA)

Interesting how many links I find to "GREEN ZEBRA" through the Google Alerts for that name. I used to go to Garden Web for years but confine myself mostly to my own forum tatermater in order to concentrate on my work almost exclusively.

The Bay area around San Francisco is where the GREEN ZEBRA tomato took off after folks were buying the seed of it starting nearly thirty years ago with my little catalog. The GREEN ZEBRA is now forty years old!

The tartness is legendary but that very trait is part of the "LOVE IT OR HATE IT" dichotomy.

I was surprised to see interest in the GREEN ZEBRA CHERRY tomato and I see several references of it maybe coming out of the Netherlands. I am not surprised...I sent a GREEN ZEBRA selection I called ZEBRA COLT to the Netherlands for trial or was it ZEBRA FILLY? I would have to beg some seed off of somebody of GZ cherry to compare to my old varieties.

I don't claim any connection to the varieties but since my varieties were known to have escaped detection and renamed....I don't care anymore since I am releasing many new Green fleshed tomatoes right and left in my current online catalog. Some new ones coming up soon are GREEN BRANDY, CHADDS FORD GREEN and many more.

One of my more tart green tomato varieties is called TART AND is even more tangy than GREEN ZEBRA AND has a hp pigment gene that intensifies the green flesh.

With thousands of envelopes of tomato seed going out lately....I must limit the number of what I can handle. If I get more organized I will list hundreds of new GREEN ZEBRA derived might take years to do so....but....

Others are promoting my Green Zebra lines such as in France....FAVORIE DE BRETAGNE is now F-5 and is from a combination of GREEN SLEEVES, TEXAS WILD and GREEN ZEBRA.

I hope to release "BLUE GREEN" next is a green fleshed tomato with a dark blue shoulder.

Tom Wagner

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 1:41AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

How does GZ Cherry taste to me? Sweet with no tang, no fuity taste at all. Very different from Tom's Green Zebra.

AS to Maglia ROse and Blush, I found that they both needed to be fully ripe to get the best taste.

Tom, If it were me, and it is, I wouldn't automatically assume that anything you might have sent to Kees Sahin was reused, renamed, etc. I once had a list of what you sent the first time, but you never sent the followup varieties.

There are many seed companies in the NEtherlands as you know and there are also many associated places where they raise fruits that are sent all over Europe for commercial sale, such as the small box of mixed cherries that Manfred found in a local store in Germany.

The only exception I can think of would be the origin of Green Sausage, which I first saw being offered by a Swedish Company, which could possibly have been from your Chile Verde or similar.

Kees died quite a few years ago now, as you know, Elisabeth still runs the company, but the only ones I know of that they bred were Snowberry, Bloody Butcher and now I've forgotten the few others which I could find if I went to their website.

Green Doctors was a spontaeous mutation from the variety Dr. Carolyn, and I like it and its clear skinned mutation called Green Doctors Frosted. NEither one tastes like your Verde Claro or Green Grape.

And now I'm thinking of the time we spent together at the Hortus Nursery in Pasadena for their Tomatomania when you drove down from Bakersfield where you were living at the time and brought with you two plants of Green Grape b'c at the time, for some reason that still escapes me, Green Grape had morphed into a det from the original indet, and you'd seen that yourself when you were in the Netherlands.

We all know that taste is both personal and perceptual and that other factors play a huge role such as how plants are grown, what amendments are used and how much, what the soil is like and what the weather is like in any one season, which is why I encourage folks to grow what appeals to them and find out for themselves how any variety does for them as they grow tomatoes.

Carolyn, who also remembers offering you seeds of several varieties at a different message site a few years ago, but you never replied, and I tried twice, but if you want some Green Zebra Cherry seeds you can send me an e-mail at and include your address and I'd be glad to send them to you. Right now I don't think I have any fresh seeds of either Green Doctors or Green Doctors Frosted,I may, I'd have to check, but they can be easily found where you normally post or go to Tania's superb tomato data base and look at the several sources and I know Adam Gleckler has both at his site as does Jeff Casey at his site, Casey's Heirloom Tomatoes of Ardrie ( sp?) in Canada. The frosted version was found by three folks at about the same time, Jeff Casey, Neil Lockhart and I believe it was Lee Goodwin, but I may be wrong on...

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 7:51AM
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I can only comment on the Green Zebra Cherry that I having growing now. It is very prolific and the fruit are sweet and juicy. The one thing I have noticed with mine is that if left on the vine a bit too long they start to split, it is either because I have overwatered or that they have a fairly thin skin. This plant is growing in Southern California.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 10:46AM
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