Suggestions for choosing a currant tomato

jadie88(7 MD)March 12, 2014

Hi all! My 7 year old son is planning his garden, and he wants to grow currant-sized tomatoes. He asked if I would post his question here for you experts, so here it is (edited for spelling :)

"What is a teeny tomato that tastes the sweetest of all? A) Tess's Land Race, B) Matt's Wild Cherry, C) Hawaiian Currant, or D) something else?"

Any input on these would be great! Thanks.

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Matt's Wild is not a currant variety. see the link below from Johnny's who introduced it, scroll down and you'll see that it is called:

Solanum lycopersicum var cerasiforme, and that cerasiforme tells you it's a typical cherry tomato, not Solanum pimpinellifolium which is the genus and species of currant tomatoes.

I've grown quite a few currant varieties and I don't like the taste of Matt's but do very much like the taste of Sara's Galapagos which is a stable interspecies cross from one of the Galapagos Islands.

I'm the Carolyn referenced in the above link

You'll also note that Tania speaks of the very sweet taste, and I would agree, as in it's the best wee fruited one, partially a currant, that I've grown.

Hope that helps,


Here is a link that might be useful: Matt's Wild

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 2:54AM
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jadie88(7 MD)

Thank you Carolyn! I always prize your responses. Off I go to look into Sara's Galapagos seeds!

Anyone have experience with Tess's Land Race? According to Baker Creek, it originated here in Maryland, so maybe it would stand up to our humid, spore-friendly environment?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 8:00AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

According to Tania's page for it, link below, it still is very unstable, and the pictures show that, so you never know what you are going to get.

Also, according to what I know about landraces, this one is not a landrace at all, just multiple crosses with various varieties, not specified.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tess's Land race

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 10:23AM
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helenh(z6 SW MO)

I like Matt's Wild Cherry. I have planted Sara's also but not in the same year for comparison. Matt's makes beautiful bright red tiny tomatoes. If you try to pick one at a time, you tear the skin. What I do is cut a little spray of tomatoes that look pretty red. On that spray some will be ripe and some not quite ripe. When you get one that is just right, it is very good. They are so tiny and cute that I am sure a kid would like them.

edit expect them to come up again next year. Probably all the tiny ones do that because it is hard to pick them all, they reseed.

Here is a link that might be useful: Matt's Wild Cherry

This post was edited by helenh on Wed, Mar 12, 14 at 12:19

    Bookmark   March 12, 2014 at 12:06PM
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Hi there--
I know I'm late on this but I see you are in MD. I just picked up 2 plants today from Valley View Farms in Timonium-- "Jasper" and "Sun Gold". I believe the Jasper at least would be considered a currant tomato (said 1/2"), and it won some award last year. I'm excited to try these in containers this summer.

Last time we grew tomatoes, I bought 3 types from the same place-- my black and red cherrys (can't remember the variety) did very well but the currant tomato I got at the same time-- "Tiny Tim"-- did not. Maybe it was user error but when I saw they had a second 'tiny' one, I decided to try it.

I tried "Sweet Million"s from seeds that year first, but took the little sproutlings outside too early and killed them all. Very sad. Taking the cheaters route and buying plants now, hehe.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:11AM
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jadie88(7 MD)

Nikki, what are the odds? I live in Timonium and go to Valley View all the time. Fabulous place. I also got Jasper, even though I didn't know anything about it. Their signage about it having better than average disease resistance won me over. I've heard mixed reviews...let's compare notes through the season!

I also bought SunSugar, replacing SunGold. If you haven't grown it before, watch out! It will eat your garden. I grew SunGold in a big Rubbermaid tub with about 15 1.5" holes in the bottom...worked great!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:28AM
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madabouteu(8A - central Alabama)

I'm growing both Sara's Galapagos and Tess's Landrace for the first time this year. Both are showing great vigor and fast growth. Too early for blooms, much less fruit, but I am very impressed by the characteristics mentioned above - much stronger than regular cherry tomatoes I have tries. Fox cherry tomatoes are the only others that seem as vigorous.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 2:31PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

One doesn't call a variety a currant variety just b'c it has tiny fruits.

Our garden varieties are Solanum esculentum ( sometimes called lycopersicon) and currant varieties are called Solanum pimpinellifolium, a completly different species with different attributes,

Jasper is not a currant

Tiny Tim is not a currant although when it was bred it does have Red Currant as part of a parental input.

I don't think I saw Spoon on Tania's list, or forgotto look but it is a currant and was called Spoon when Park Seeds showed many of them sitting in a spoon. LOL But it's just yetanother Red Currant.

A new one that Tania doesn't yet list is Ted's Pink Currant, which I really like and also important since right now it's the only PINK currant one known.

So not all varieties with tiny fruits are currant varieties.

Hope that helps,


Here is a link that might be useful: Currant varieties

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 6:44PM
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LA0417 from TGRC is a currant type that is extremely sweet. I am growing out a selection of LA0417 this year with hopes of crossing it to a larger tomato to bring in significant disease tolerance. It is a decent tomato with very sweet and flavorful 3/8 to 1/2 inch diameter fruits. This is as large as a Pimpinellifolium normally gets. I also have a few other selections from TGRC stock that are good enough to consider planting and growing.

I would also consider Mexico Midget which is an exceptionally sweet 3/8 inch diameter fruit on a very rambling weedy vine. It is readily available as seed and plants.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 9:21PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Link to Mexico Midget below and I'm sure it was on that list of currant varieties I linked to above.

I see SSE as one of the seed sources, but a few years ago folks who got seed for MM from SSE didn't get what they were supposed to so Craig LeHoullier,his name is in the link below sent the correct seeds.

Above Darrel mentioned some LA, etc varieties from TGRC and I just wanted to mention that TGRC is an abbreviation for theTomato Genetics Resource Center and they are not a source of seeds to the general public, just those who, as tomato breeders submit an application stating how they are going to use what they request in their breeding efforts and documenting their previous experience.


Here is a link that might be useful: Mexico Midget

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 10:38PM
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jadie-- how funny! Yes let's def keep each other posted on progress. And funny, it was sun sugar I picked up, I forgot ; )

How interesting that the currant tomatoes are completely different species! I obv know nothing about tomatoes-- I only tried growing them in the first place because a little produce stand not far from me sold little market packs of currant tomatoes and I got tired of spending $5 on them each week (or more). I love them so much! They weren't labeled beyond just "currant tomatoes" so I have no idea what they are really. I know I love roasting them w some olive oil and salt and a little garlic and making that my "sauce". Mmmmm. Sometimes adding other veggies but the tiny little tomatoes are always my fave thing in the mix. Just pop so nicely in your mouth and not all seedy and slimy inside if I eat them raw in a salad. With larger tomatoes, I usually spend a good amount of time cutting that slimy stuff away. I don't have time for that. Plus the tiny ones are so darn cute!!!

I've read up a little now on these Tess's ones and I'd love to try them but don't want to bother w seeds again yet. Hopefully they'll be available in plant form sometime; they certainly sound popular enough!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 10:17PM
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