Tomato taste test results for California, surprise!

californianFebruary 8, 2010

Someone posted this on the California forum. I notice that many varieties that get WOW recommendations on this forum for the country as a whole get just mediocre ratings under California growing conditions (low humidity, no rain at all in summer, hot to warm days and generally cool nights in the sixties, many areas have clay soil). I also notice Cherry tomatoes take all the top spots for taste. I know from my own experience that cherry and small to medium sized tomatoes do best, large tomatoes almost never produce much edible fruit, usually rot or get sun scald before they ripen. I just bought five varieties of the most highly rated tomatoes on this and other forums, I hope I am not disappointed.

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instar8(Z 5 N.IN)

Here, i'll post the link...I just traded for the #1 cherry, hope it likes our unpredictable summers...

Here is a link that might be useful: CA tests

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 3:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Obviously many of us have and would dispute some of the results - especially all the cherry varieties topping the list. Perhaps it's the totally self-contained yet popcorn size that appeals. Who knows?

"Taste" is a purely personal thing but it looks like there must have been a fair number of uneducated tomato palates there doing the tasting.

California growing conditions (low humidity, no rain at all in summer, hot to warm days and generally cool nights in the sixties, many areas have clay soil)

Those growing conditions, in addition to the "rot and sun scald" you mention, are certainly not unique to California. One can easily compensate for most of them IF they become problems and the ability to "fine-tune" one's garden and growing conditions can make all the difference in gardening success and in the taste of a tomato.

But to each his own. ;)


    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 4:00PM
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Oh, I believe it, except for finding Green Zebra way up there with cherry tomatoes. Obviously, the tasters preferred sweet over anything else.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 6:02PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

I tend to ignore almost all taste charts such as this one and I've seen that one for several years.

First, the worth of any taste testing depends on what the competition is.

Second, it also depends on how many folks actually voted and how many did they vote for since if there were much fewer ballots of some varietis and many more for others it can skew the reults quite strongly.

Third, varieties grown just a few miles away from where the varieties entered in the tasting were grown can taste quite different.

yes, I've held my own taste testing events in the past so I know that there's lots of variables involved, which is why I don't pay much attention to taste test rankings. ( smile)


    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 6:15PM
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zeuspaul(9b SoCal)


Early Girl edges out Neves Azorean

Yellow Pear trounces Celebrity


    Bookmark   February 8, 2010 at 8:49PM
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Californian, I think that's the stereotype of coastal CA. However, I have not found it to be true. I live about 12 miles from the ocean and last year harvested at least a dozen tomatoes over one pound. All were sweet. No sun scald. Cherokee Purple, NAR, Persimmon, Black Krim, Omar's Lebanese all produced large sweet tomatoes. Lots of them.

For years I avoided most beefsteak varieties because I'd been told they didn't do well. *shrug* But clearly this is wrong. And it's not just me. Many have similar results, and some you'll find posting here even do much better!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 2:24AM
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When I saw Early Girl rated high, I exited the list and never went back.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 10:02AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I give tomatoes to people in summer and I've found they pick by sight. I was giving them tomatoes every week so they could have learned which ones tasted best. My friend who gives me manure picked Celebrity every time and wouldn't try the pinks. Some others would pick out all the biggest. They would pick Black Prince last because they weren't sure what was "wrong" with it.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 10:25AM
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slo_garden(9 CA Coast)

I don't think that one can make any generalizations about growing tomatoes in California based on this one taste test. Some of the rankings in this test seem odd to me as well. California is a big state with many different climate zones. I've been growing large beefsteaks just fine for years without sun scald. Apparently, I didn't get the memo about only being able to grow cherries and small tomatoes. Perhaps if you live the desert and interior regions it is a problem.

helenh, I've often wondered what effect color and appearance have on taste tests. Do people respond more positively to "pretty" colored tomatoes and thereby give them a higher rating? That could explain the relatively high rating of Mr. Stripey in this test (LOL).

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 11:53AM
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instar8(Z 5 N.IN)

That's exactly what i was wondering a lot of the dark ones ended up low...because people don't know that they taste good? and are they labeled? Some names sound better or just familiar (and therefore better?), numbers would be more objective , if there really is such a thing in tomato taste.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 2:52PM
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post never showed so re-doing

Totally unbelievable
I have been to many taste tests as I am sure many of you have - many use a 1-5 and all entries must be complete to be counted - only one left in So CaliF OC - Rodgers Garden with 150 plus varieties and the results are usually close and fairly predictable

I wish I had a list of the testers as I would not want to accept any of their recommendations - EVER


    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 3:34PM
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azruss(8b Tucson)

"low humidity, no rain at all in summer, hot to warm days and generally cool nights in the sixties..."

Except for no rain, which can easily be compensated for by irrigation, these sound like perfect tomato growing conditions. Besides, only inland California is really low humidity. Coastal is generally moderate or moderately low humidity. Ahhh, what I'd do for cool nights in the 60's during summer!!!

Don't know what this list was about or who/how many created it, but it's worth about the time it took me to type this message. (Isis Candy finishing first... ROTFL!)

(formerly CARuss)

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 6:43PM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Sometimes timing and climate makes a lot of difference. Here are the winners (favorite tomatoes) from a tasting at UC Davis in 2004. Note that the two top vote-getters among plum tomatoes have been discontinued. And little tough-skinned Fourth of July was the favorite slicer. In my own garden, I have found it to taste better than many other tomatoes in really hot weather. As I recall, the UC Davis taste test was in about September, so the weather could have still been quite hot there.

Plum tomatoes: Barbara Hybrid VFFN - 22 votes for favorite in its category. Jeweled Enchantment (no longer sold)- 7 votes, Viva Italia (still sold) - 5 votes.

Salad/slicers: Fourth of July - 36 votes, Bush Early Girl - 14, Jetsetter - 7

Gold Tomatoes: Sweet Tangerine VFN - 29 votes, Brandywine Yellow - 18, Dr. Wyche's Yellow - 9

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 1:58AM
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If Juliet is in the top 10 and Early Girl beats NAR I'm not biting into this. I use Juliet for batting practice.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 8:53AM
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