Best black, beefsteak and oxheart tomatoes?

Ohiofem(6a Ohio)December 30, 2011

I have a very small garden in Southwest Ohio where it's humid and often hot. Two years ago, I had great success growing Rostovas, Paul Robesons and Mariana's Peace. Last year was not so good, and my yields were very low due mostly to a very wet June and a long, hot spell in July. This summer, I'd like to grow the same or similar heirloom tomatoes, and I'm hoping you'll help me choose the ones with the best taste and yield. My favorite tomatoes are pink beefsteak types, but I also love oxhearts and black tomatoes. Of course, I want high yields since I can only grow a few plants.

If you had to grow only one of each of the following, which would you choose?

Pink beefsteak: Mariana's Peace vs. Earl's Faux vs. Mortgage Lifter

Oxheart: Rostova vs. Anna Russian vs. Kosova

Black: Paul Robeson vs. Cherokee Purple

If you have alternative favorites, I'd love to hear about them as well.

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I live in SC Ohio about ten miles from a greenhouse that sells Estlers ML. I prefer it to Radiator Charlie, Brandy Boy or any other large pink that I have tried. Very prolific and I weighed many that were 20oz or larger last summer. I have seed of Giant Belgium but have not grown it yet. Cherokee Purple is the only black I have grown. The taste is as good as advertized.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 3:57PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Pink Beefsteak - ML from your list. But Brandywine is the one I'd use.

Oxheart - Kosovo (note spelling).

Black - Cherokee Purple or Black Krim.


    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 4:25PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I'd love to get my hands on the Estlers. Can you post or email me the name of the place that sells it? I've grown Giant Belgium from free seed offered by TGS, and liked the taste. It held up well to all the disease of last summer, but wasn't very productive. I think I got about 10 tomatoes from each plant last summer. Half were more than a pound.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 4:35PM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Pink beefsteak: Mariana's Peace vs. Earl's Faux vs. Mortgage Lifter
Oxheart: Rostova vs. Anna Russian vs. Kosova
Black: Paul Robeson vs. Cherokee Purple


I have many tomato friends who grow tomatoes in OH and for sure this last season was not the best.

I have to put those varieties up there to compensate for a short term memory problem.LOL

Well you asked, and I have grown all of the pink beefsteaks that you list but would definitely suggest you consider:

Tidwell German
Omar's Lebanese
Large Pink Bulgarian.

I'm a heart lover and I just want to note that what Tomatofest is selling as Rostova, and TGS sells the same, should NOT be heart shaped. The original was a red beefsteak and it kinda morphed into a heart. I sent the last of my true Rostova seeds to Linda at TGS, so fingers crossed.

Anna Russian is fine, quite early for a heart and Kosovo seems to do well for everyone. But you've got all pink hearts there, discounting the wrong Rostova, which should be a red beefsteak, so let me suggest what I think are some great tasting and performing red heart varieties.

Linnie's Oxheart
Indiana Red
German Red Strawberry

...and some great ones to look for in the future since I don't think that any seed sites are yet offering them, but I didn't check:

Fish Lake Oxheart
Granny's Heart
Kukla's Portuguese Heart

I send seeds for new varieties to several seed sites where I know the owners well and have for a long time, for trial. Some can offer them if they like them, for the next year. Others need to subcontract out so it normally takes two years.

As for so called blacks , I've grown a lot of varieties and they just aren't my faves with a few exceptions and those would include:

Black Cherry
Indian Stripe
Black from Tula
Noire de Crimmee

If you want to find seed sources go to Tatiana's excellent resource where you'll find a page for each of the 3,000 varieties she has pages for, and scroll down on each page to find seed sources when available.

When on the Home page, see link below, go down to where you see the clickable link to searching for varieties alphabetically, which is the best search there when you know the name of a variety.

Tania herself sells seeds for about 600 different tomato varieties.

Hope that helps/


Here is a link that might be useful: Tatiana's Tomato Base

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 5:25PM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Earl's Faux
Cherokee Purple

I suggest trying Russian Persimmons.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2011 at 11:47PM
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Pink beefsteak: Stump of the World
Oxheart: Kosovo
Black: Cherokee Purple

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 11:10AM
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Beefsteak -- Just plain old 'Beefsteak" whch is the only tom my Mom ever grew. For both nostalgia and flavor, it's my fave for a BLT.

Heart -- Kosovo, one of the very best tomatoes, not just hearts.

Black -- Black Krim. At WinterSown, many people donate back seeds of their favorites. Black Krim arrives here several times a year and it leaves here in SASEs several times a week, it is one of the most popular tomatoes on the list.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2011 at 11:48PM
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Pink beefsteak: Earl's Faux
Heart: Danko
Black: Carbon

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Ohfem, I too am i SWOhio, and have always had luck with the Cherokee Purple here. Last year, a new winner emerged for me - Arkansas Traveler. Even with the crazy, wet spring it was a prolific producer and all fruits were picture perfect. The taste wasn't as good as the Cherokee Purple, but it was pretty good! I will definitely be giving the AT another try this year, to see if it was a fluke. Now if I could just find a paste tomato like that.....

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 6:44PM
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If toy like Black tomato, try Chocolate Stripes from Tomato Fest. It ranked No. 1 at Tomato Fest and most popular black tomato in 2010 and had great demand in 2011. I grew them and they have very distinctive sweet/acid taste with wonderful color. Most of my tomatoes were robbed by Squirrels last season, this season I got a poison pill plan for them.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 5:35PM
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