Taste test winners and losers so far this year

californianJuly 13, 2011

First the disclaimer: This is based on my taste buds and my soil and my growing techniques and southern California weather, and the seeds I used.

Winners, definitely grow again:

Cherokee Purple-best tasting tomato so far

Brandywine Suddeth-close behind, but distorted looking fruit, this was the first year I ever had good results

Juanne Flamme-best small tomato, pretty early too

Isis Candy-sweetest Cherry

Stupice-OK, but worth growing because it is earliest tomato to ripen

Momotaro-very sweet, but not prolific

Cherokee Green, mixed results so far, some fruit was fantastic, some just so so. Hard to tell when ripe other than a squeeze test

The following are disappointments and I will not be planting them again:

Black Cherry-OK, but not sweet enough for me

Sun Gold-so far not as good as Isis Candy, expensive seeds, hope it gets better, was very good in previous years

Japanese Black Triffele-watery

Earl of Edgecomb-spitter, sour

Caspian Pink-Almost all fruit got sunscald, hardly any taste

JDs C-Tex-OK, and early for a big tomato, but just so so taste, was supposed to be dark colored, but mine were red

Neves Azorian Red-Biggest fruit, and keeps kicking them out, but so so taste

The following I haven't made up my mind on yet:

Kelloggs Breakfast-was one of my favorites last year, but this year lots of catfacing

Rose-first tomato picked was OK, hope they get better

Marianna's Peace-last year was one of the best, this year so so so far

Brandy Boy-OK, but not as tasty as Brandywine

I have several more varieties I planted late and which haven't ripened any fruit yet so will report on them later.

BTW, I use no pesticides or fungicides, and knock on wood, so far I have had no disease and hardly any insect damage. Also, as the season progresses my opinion may change as more fruit ripens completely.

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unless you plan on sharing your opinion does not matter

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 3:16AM
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I'm jealous that you've gotten so many ripe tomatoes so far! All I've gotten are my cherry varieties & a Burgandy Traveler that my 3 yr old dropped on the concrete. I should be getting another Burgandy Traveler in a couple days that I won't be handing to my daughter. Other than that many of my plants are just setting fruit & I should be having regular good tomatoes end of August. I hope some of your questionable varieties start improving for you. My Sungolds have been pretty good although thicker skin than I remember from last year. The black cherry variety that I have isn't as good as I expected. I just barely picked Yellow Pear & Green Grape & haven't tried them yet but will taste test them all tomorrow.

Looking forward to the Burgandy Traveler, Celebrity, Big Beef, Black Prince, Black Krim & Kelloggs Breakfast which will ripen first. Hillbilly, Orange Russian 117, Orange Strawberry, Prudens Purple & Yellow Brandywine are just starting to set fruit. Cherokee Purple, Brandy Boy & Ace were planted as an afterthought & aren't even blossoming yet so we'll see.

Can't wait for my own taste test which is about a month out!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 3:44AM
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Thanks Californian. Always good to know others experience. I kept mixing up my toms so not so sure what is what!!! Goose Creek however is fabulous! Like you, not terribly impressed with black cherry. I have seeded some Evans Purple Plum (or is it pear??) for fall maybe it will be better. My BW Suddaths produced pretty well but also very big splits everywhere. We have had pretty unusual weather in Ca this year! LInda

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 10:27AM
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Us northern gardeners cannot comment on this year, but last year my favorite experience was with Amish Oxheart. Extremely meaty, rich taste off one of the earlier tomatoes off the plant. Unfortunately not every tomato tasted the same but enough good ones for it to make it back to my garden. Also really enjoyed Giant Belgium and Granny Cantrell.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 10:50AM
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lelia(Northern Cal)

Taste is such a funny thing when it comes to tomatoes, because how a particular variety does depends so much on all the variables in the garden. But I think these "polls" are useful, because if a lot of people are praising a particular variety, you obviously stand better odds of having it do well yourself.

I prefer stronger tasting tomatoes rather than mild ones like the yellows, but last year I planted late in a cool summer when the tomato harvest was meager-to-non-existent, and found that Dr. Wyche's Yellow was one of those knockout tomatoes. Lucious, fantastic. So I planted more this year, and planted earlier, with black plastic mulch. I've changed the garden conditions, which means it may not perform nearly as well this year (nothing ripe yet), but then maybe another variety will stand out.

This is such fun to me. I love hearing how different varieties perform in other peoples' gardens.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 11:56AM
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I'm in S CA as well. My fav by far this season is Moscvich. TONS of them and a really great flavor. I think my other varieties got cross polinated with my Martino's Roma. I've vowed not to do sauce tomatoes again. I'm not a canner and the only thing I like to make with them is bruschetta-and there is only so much of that you can eat. I need some good slicing tomatoes for next year.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 2:23AM
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Moscvitch is a keeper for me also! Linda

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 10:59AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Lots of variables effect taste ... no denying that.

Californian, I've grown a few on your winners list that were anything but for me ... Brandywine Sudduth, Jaune Flamme, and Stupice. I tried Black Cherry this year for the first time and won't bother repeating.

On the other hand, I've been growing Sun Gold since 1999 and it's by far the most flavorful tomato ever!

My 2011 Review:

Bradley (extremely low production)
Church (tomatoes took way too long to ripen)
Black Cherry (harvest was so-so ... not much flavor)
Black Krim (3 strikes you're out ... will not grow again!)

Sun Gold
Cherokee Purple
Viva Italia
Brandy Boy
Sweet Tangerine

On the fence:
Beefy Boy (low production, but may give another chance)

New Contenders for 2012:
Jet Star
Indian Stripe
Marianna's Peace (May give another try since it's been a few years since last grown.)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 1:31PM
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californian, I have to second Juanne Flamme. This year they were my earliest, very prolific, and the flavor was that of a late season tomato. I was pleasantly surprised.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2011 at 1:43AM
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I have to cast a third vote for Juanne Flamme. (Please, someone, tell me how to pronounce it!) I'm in northern Kentucky, getting a few ripe toms here and there, but still waiting for the beefsteaks to color up. Juanne Flamme is giving me two or three ripe tomatoes a day, and they have that full-on, slightly tart big-tomato taste. It's a big, healthy plant with lots of fruit. I definitely will plant this one again.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 5:56AM
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OK, just gonna grade for taste here, not production or disease resistance. 1 to 10 scale and I have never had a 10 because I'm saving that for the perfect one someday LOL:
Pork Chop 9.5
Dana's Dusky Rose 9
Gary O Sena 9
Top Sirloin 8.5
KBX 8.5
Amazon Chocolate 8.5
Pink Berkley Tie Dye 8.5
Cowlick Brandy RL 8
Cowlick Brandy PL 8
Purple Dog Creek 8
Claude Brown Coral 8
Wild Bill Big Red 8
Terhune 8
Marianna's Peace 8
JD's Special C Tex 8
Orange Minsk 8
Mrs Benson 8
Bear Creek 8
Big Zac 7.5
African Queen 7.5
Terrasenko6 7.5
Claude Brown Yellow Giant 7.5
Yamal 7
Indian Stripe PL 7
Defiant F1 6.5
Still waiting for first ripe:
Couilles de Taureau
Granny Cantrell PL
Barlow Jap
Liz Birt
Rainey's Maltese
Why you say I have all higher scores? I try and not grow crappy varieties...;-)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 8:37AM
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Californian (OP) said:

"Black Cherry-OK, but not sweet enough for me"

Funny how different tomato lovers have different taste. Frankly, I absolutey love the acidity of Black Cherry, and can't pass it w/o taking a handful when out hunting hornworms. Somehow they remind me of my boyhood in New Jersey in the Fifties stopping at the veggie stands for fresh tomatoes on the way home from the shore. Btw, veggies in New Jersey - you bet and I dare say they're terrific, but I digress .....

Our worst tasting diasppointment this year has been two Yellow Pear - mushy and tasteless. No, I didn't intentionally plant them, unfortunately, the nursery (or their supplier) had them mismarked as Lemon Boys. Aah you say, Lemon Boy isn't exactly a big winner in this forum either but it sure has been good to us over the years - prolific, disease resistant and on the acid side, too - yummmmm .....

Another surprise is Kentucky Beefsteak, not prolific but mighty tasty.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 1:00PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

I'll give Lemon Boy prolific, although I'd rather grow Sweet Tangerine ... has more intense color with basically the same taste.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 1:20PM
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So far this year, Sweetie, Sungold and Apero cherry tomatoes continue to be favorites. Enjoyed a KBX for lunch today on a sandwich - such a rich and delicious tomato.

Big daddy, tell me about Big Zac? I am growing it for the first time this year.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 2:32PM
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Rutgers: 9
Eva Purple Ball: 7
Opalka: 8
NAR: 9
Red Brandywine: 9
Brandywine Sudduths: None yet, but were a winner last year
Marianna's Peace: None yet, but were a winner last year
Reif Red Heart: None yet
Super Sweet 100: 8

Overall things are coming in good, and the earlier fruits were pretty good. As some have stated above, I'll reserve final judgement for the tomatoes that come in for the second and third harvests.

A few other varieties aren't listed because they croaked off due to what appears to be Fusarium, but there's always next year.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 3:11PM
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A fourth vote for Juanne Flamme up here in Santa Cruz area. It didn't produce a lot but it did produce, which is saying a lot up here in Fogville. And it was tasty, explodes in your mouth.

Others that have done well here are listed below.

White cherry - My favorite cherry. Great snacking tomato. Produces a lot! Best when yellow color.

Costoluto Genovese - Sweet mild acid flavor. Very meaty and no seeds. Great for sandwiches or sauce.

Super Marzano - Very firm and meaty. Good flavor and good for salads, sandwiches or sauce.

Would not grow again.
Purple Calabash - Unusual flavor, musky. Strange purple red brownish color. Weird shape. Lots of seeds and juice. Finally got fruit very late in Sept.

Mr. Brown - Didn't produce many - 2! Strong tomato acid flavor. Lots of seeds and juice. Dark green inside but red outside. Finally got fruit late in Sept.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 4:51PM
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I live in Southern California as well and I grew just 7 tomato varieties/8 tomato plants this year (my SunGold died), but our winner in terms of taste and production this year is Big Beef, over Dona, Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red, Jet Star, Jet Setter (tho Jet Setter was second), and Bear Creek. Thank you to everyone in the forum: it really helped when I picked the varieties in March. Went away for a week and here is what we got:

Here is a link that might be useful: Tomatoes from July 16, 2011 harvest

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 5:08PM
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Black krim
Jaunne flamme
Black sea man
Angora super sweet

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 6:54PM
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Cherokee Purple is my favorite for flavor, but very low yield, and Abraham Lincoln is the most productive for me. Last year my garden (along with everyone else in my area) completely flopped due to a very cool summer and the year before that the garden suffered due to smoke from wildfires. I'm hopeful that this year may still produce some decent tomatoes. I ate my first Sweet 100 today (delicious!) and picked my first Early Girl, too.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 12:23AM
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pennypond USDA 10 Sunset 21 CA

Thank you for all the postings, it sure is nice to know what is tasting well in your garden. I started all 12 plants from seed, planted in ground in mid March in Southern California. A longer than normal spring is finally over and tomatoes started to pour in a few weeks ago. So far Cherokee Purple, Sun Sugar, and Wes are definitely taste winners. So happy :)
Disappointed at the fruit size of Legend, and it's not early for me.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 2:05AM
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