Celebrity Tomatoes

noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)June 27, 2011


I know people don't care much for Celebrity tomatoes, but I wanted to let you know that my plants have been going strong so far and are still setting fruits, but not as many.

They are acting like semi-determinates, as the plants are still growing and putting out suckers and blossoms. The tomatoes seem to come in waves, but lately, they are all trying to ripen together. There are more, smaller green tomatoes coming up.

I made a real mistake by not having adequate support for them, as I thought they were bushes and would only need light support, but they have grown all over the sides of the pots and pulled the stakes down because of the weight of the tomatoes.

The taste is not as acidic as I like and not as tomato-y as I like, but they are good enough and are better than what we get from the store. Nice and red and juicy. I will slice and eat one and before I know it, the whole thing is gone.


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dogwind(Z8a TX)

I have not had good luck with Celebrity in the past. But I think the weather was more of a factor than the plant itself. I read on here that some people prefer the flavor of the Big Beef variety over Celebrity. So I planted Big Beef this year. Big Beef has the intense acidic "tomatoey" flavor that you describe. We love Big Beef on BLT sandwiches and margherita pizzas.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 8:42AM
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I too am down of celebrity tomatoes. For several years they didn't grow that good and lacked taste. Plants were not tall. What I would call "bush". Yet some of the best tasting tomatoes I have eaten came from a neighbors bigger celebrity. This year I have one plant and it is out growing the average of the other ones. I am thinking that there are/is a great variation in what people have.
As for big beef, I consider it the "standard" to judge others by.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 9:36AM
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I've always liked Celebrity in the past. It's what I've grown before when I've "played garden". I like that it's a consistent plant and its tomatoes are better than paying $3.50/lb for something you could play softball with. Having said that it'll be interesting to see what I think of it at the end of summer. I'm growing mostly heirlooms this year so I'll be able to really compare tastes.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2011 at 11:36AM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Thanks for the input.

This Big Beef--I notice that dogwind, you say it has the taste I was describing--You are in Zone 8 in TX. Do you know how the Big Beef does in hot, humid weather? I don't know where in TX you live. I live in Lafayette, LA, so it can be either very hot and dry, or very hot and humid. We've only had 17 inches of rain so far this year, which is a drought. Maybe that's why the tomatoes have done reasonably well.

Anyway, if anyone has an idea of how the Big Beef does in zone 9 in Louisiana, I'd appreciate the input for next year Is the Big Beef a bush tomato, also?



    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 3:21AM
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Hi, Vivian. I recently moved to Crowley, but lived in Lafayette for several years.

I grow mostly heirloom tomatoes, but a few hybrids as a backup plan, and Big Beef is one I would recommend for southern Louisiana. I agree with other posters that it does have a more intense taste than Celebrity.

Jet Star has also done well for me and is a pretty good tomato.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 11:28AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I don't grow Celebrity, but they're a staple (along with Creoles) at the farmer's market here.

I'm in Baton Rouge and Big Beef used to be a regular in my garden. I stopped growing it for a few years then tried again last year. Was very disappointed in the harvest. I should try again.

This year I tried Beefy Boy and although I liked the taste, production wasn't great.

The only heirloom I'm consistently pleased with is Cherokee Purple. The rest just don't produce enough for my small garden.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 3:10PM
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noss(Zone 9a Lafayette, LA)

Hi Lew and Natal,

Thanks for the information on the tomatoes. Much appreciated.

How do the Heirlooms do here in bug/disease heaven? :)

I didn't know if I should even try heirlooms because I thought they are not disease resistant, but they look interesting.

I think Lafayette is in zone 9a, but am not sure.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:30AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Vivian, I've tried quite a few heirlooms and been disappointed in the majority. It hasn't been a disease issue for me, so much as very low production and lackluster flavor. I'm also curious about the varieties Lew is growing and how well they produce for him.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 11:04AM
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Vivian-Don't be afraid to try heirlooms. The biggest problem most gardeners experiece are foliage diseases, and most hybrids are just as likely to suffer from those as heirlooms. Probably the most serious disease problem in south La. is Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, and only a few hybrids have been developed that have a tollerance to it, but by all reports they are pretty tasteless.

I always seem to grow lots of extra seedling and would be glad to share with you.

Natal-If you like CP, you might try Indian Stripe, which is very similiar, but produces better for me, and I find the taste better. Some others that have done pretty well for me are Rutgers, Black from Tula, and Box Car Willie to name a few.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 3:31PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Lew, where did you get your seeds for Indian Stripe? I made a note to consider Rutgers next year. Thanks.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 4:29PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

How about Victory Seeds? I found both there.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 5:37PM
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Big Beef is an indeterminate viner. So far as I have seen anyway.

Take care,

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 5:37PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

I am glad to read from other southerners!

Celebrity and Rutgers have been my go-to tomatoes the last three years; the ones that I could count on no matter what the weather brings. After having my soil tested last fall, I realized that my beds were very low in nitrogen, so that made these two all the more impressive. Both of them produced at least some tomatoes all the way till frost which surprised me since they are determinates.

This year, I have only one Celebrity and all the rest are heirlooms. I added a pound of blood meal to each bed (8'x3.5') in early spring, plus 3 or 4 inches of home-made compost. I also mulch heavily with pinestraw.

I have fabulous plants this year! And no sign of the usual early blight so far. Here are my evaluations of the ones I am growing so far:

Brandywine: Utterly delicious tomato. The fruit are lovely and big and the plant is producing more than I expected. I am probably picking 2 or 3 per week so far.

Aunt Ruby Green: Hard to say whether we like this one best or Brandywine. The fruit are very large, and the taste is a bit more acidic than Brandywine. It's producing more fruit than Brandywine.

Cherokee Purple: Very good tomato, but not as flavorful as the two above. Huge fruit. But very prone to cracking. Production is probably equal to Brandywine.

Black Krim: Huge fruit. Much heavier production than the above. We like the flavor of Cherokee Purple a bit better, but it's still a good tomato. Several of the fruit have developed soft mushy spots. Don't know what that's about.

Still waiting for the first ripe ones of German Johnson and Orange Jubilee. Some of the GJs look to be two pounds or more. Orange Jubilee has nice sized fruit and a whole lot of it.

I also have in pots Juan Flamme and Sungold. Juan Flamme is only okay. It's so highly rated, that I am disappointed. But it was early and it is loaded with fruit. We can't keep up with Sungold's production. Its little cherries are delicious.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 6:36PM
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donnabaskets(Zone 8a, Central MS)

Oops. I am also growing "Rose" this year. It was touted by Horticulture magazine as being equal or even superior to Brandywine. It definitely makes more fruit. The fruit sizes are comparable and every one has been perfect: no splitting, rot, mushy spots, etc. However, the flavor is absolutely not as good as Brandywine, at least to our tastes. I will likely grow it again, though.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 6:43PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Donna, good to hear you're having so much success. It's a different story in my garden. :(

I tried Black Krim again this year. First time was years ago and I think I got 2 tomatoes. This year only one.

I've tried a number of Brandywines and it's pretty much been the same sad story. I now grow Brandy Boy as an alternative.

Do love Cherokee Purple and Sun Gold. I'm going to give Rutgers and Indian Stripe a chance next year. And I'm also going to do a soil test this fall. It's been years, so I guess it's time. Thanks for the nudge!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 12:35PM
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dogwind(Z8a TX)

Vivian I live in Dallas so we have been very hot and dry lately, and not extremely humid. I planted Big Beef based on its availability in the nursery and based on recommendations from others in this forum. So far it has been what I would consider an average producer in a not very good year, weather-wise. Our spring was too short and the lack of rain in April, and extreme heat in May in June has helped limit production. At peak my indeterminate Big Beef had about 12 tomatoes on it at once, then stopped producing fruit when the heat got to be too much. The maters have been blushing gradually and we think they taste very good. I watch them carefully, am totally organic, and I think I have tended them about as well as can be done. To compare, I grew Super Fantastic right next to Big Beef, and it has produced about the exact same number of fruit, but has a reputation around here as being a prolific variety for production for some people. But SF is a slightly smaller, less acidic, less "tomatoey" and more seedy. So I won't plant SF again, but Big Beef is now on my top 5 list with Roma and Cherry 100, which is the only variety that I have found that is capable of bearing fruit in very hot weather.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:38PM
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zackey(GA 8b)

We grew yellow or golden Jubilee a few years ago. The flavor was awesome!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 6:36PM
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I want a nemitode free tomato. I've heard this is one of those. Is that true.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 2:48PM
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Celebrity is nemitode resistant, as is Big Beef and a number of other hybrid tomatoes.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 11:47PM
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The past 2 years have been so terrible weather-wise for my area (eastern Ontario) that we couldn't do anything in the garden (clay loam - impossible with all the heavy rain we're having and takes forever to dry out) so this year I'm doing some container gardening. Just a few hot peppers, spices, and several varieties of tomatoes. I couldn't find single pots of Celebrity at the local nursery and didn't want to waste a whole flat, so chose a single pot each of Ace and Glamour. Afterwards, I read reviews that Ace isn't very highly rated, so will probably check elsewhere for single Celebrity in pots and replace the Ace. I've only got a limited amount of room for containers suitable for tomatoes and peppers, so numbers count. And by the time the weather returns to normal and the garden finally dries out, it will be too late in the summer to bother planting anything. Sigh.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 11:55AM
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