Big Zac Hybrid Tomato

hudson___wy(3)December 30, 2013

Has anyone grown this tomato plant? I have an interest in growing Big Zac tomato plant this year but would like to hear reviews from those who have grown it?

Here is the write up for Big Zac:
"Grow huge, prize winning, beefsteak tomatoes. Big Zac was bred by Minnie Zaccaria, a New Jersey gardener whose goal was to hybridize an enormous tomato with heirloom flavor. The tomato resulting from her efforts is outstanding in every way - meaty, delicious and true-to-type each time it's planted. It consistently yields 4 to 6 pound beefsteak-type fruits. It's impeccable ancestors include both red and pink heirloom beefsteak-types. Indeterminate."

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

If you do a search here for Big Zac hybrid you'll find lots of reports from folks who have grown it.

And no, it does NOT consistently grow fruits in the size range given, more like 1-3 lbs for most folks and some with smaller fruits.

And that's without disbudding and the other things that those growing for competion size fruits do.

Carolyn

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 10:12PM
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lubadub(5B PA)

Hudson:
I believe you will be quite satisfied with the results you get growing Big Zac. With the usual care of the plant you will get lots of 3 pound tomatoes which are quite tasty and have won at least one taste contest that I am aware of. I love the taste but taste is a very subjective thing. If asked, Carolyn would have to admit that she has never grown Big Zac, tasted Big Zac or, for that matter, ever seen a Big Zac up close other than maybe in a picture. Try growing them and you be the judge. Carolyn, where are the black daylillies you promised me maybe 10 years ago? Marv

    Bookmark   January 3, 2014 at 6:12PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I believe, You don't have to personally experience something to qualify to make a judgement and/or express an opinion about it.

What Carolyn said is about the CONSISTENCY issue. How can one call it CONSISTENT, if it produces fruits any where from under one pound to over 6 pounds ? And she did not make any comment about the taste

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 4:46AM
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lubadub(5B PA)

Seysonn, Carolyn is perfectly capable of defending herself whenever that is necessary. You have been on this blog long enough to know that and to also know that in the past Carolyn has said she does not like the taste of Big Zac. Also, I think you do have to personally experience something to make the best possible judgement about it though the fact that you have not does not exclude you from having an opinion. Even my wife falls into that category. Carolyn has an opinion and she is certainly entitled to have an opinion. I have a differing opinion. And I am also entitled to mine as are you.Carolyn is very very knowledgeable about tomatoes and I value her and her opinions though we may not always have the same opinion. We get along quite nicely though not always agreeing. I value her. She knows that. This is not about Carolyn. This is about Big Zac. And is not "Experience the best teacher?" I would hope that Carolyn is not offended by my not agreeing with her about Big Zac. We have had this ongoing difference of opinion for a good while. When Carolyn posts about Big Zac and I have a different opinion why should I not post it? Readers need to hear it all, differing opinion when they are out there. Hudson needs to know it as well. Hudson asked the question. Now Hudson can make an informed judgement and not just walk away without hearing both sides. I know you are Carolyn's friend. I would like to think I am one too.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 8:52AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

Marv, actually I have grown Big Zac F1 and did so the first time it was offered at TT when Wayne Hilton owned TT before he sold his stable of companies to Jung's..

I grew it once.

And I knew about Big Zac way before that b'c there was a newsletter that Bob Ambrose in NJ was putting out at the time and he had article after article about Minnie, with pictures.

But then the blurb at TT said to rogue out the wrong plants, which shouldn't be necessary with an F1, and shortly after that they stopped offering it.

Someone at GW asked Minnie to come and explain, and she did, saying that one of the parents of Big Zac had been lost by whomever TT had doing the hybrid.

I still maintain that feedback over the years has not indicated that folks get anywhere's near the sizes that Minnie got. But nor do most folks disbud, or look for fused blossom, renamed megablooms, by someone. ( wink)

And yes, Marv and I have our differences over the years, why not, neither of us are shy retiring folks, LOL and we remain friends.

Marv, I though it was bulbs for black tulips that I offered you, ahem, not daylilies. LOL

And if you don't know who Marv is, please look at the link below to know that his passion is growing LARGE tomato fruits.

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: Marv's 5 star book

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 10:31AM
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lubadub(5B PA)

Carolyn:

You are right (as usual), it was black tulips. I could not grow them here anyway because we have lots of wild animals that would eat them. I apologize for not knowing that you had ever grown Big Zac. I have to believe then that you did in fact eat one of the big tomatoes it produced for you. Right now it is very cold here and I am having difficulty getting warm. I even have my boots on. The deer are walking around outside looking for food. I give them some corn which I am certain they appreciate. Happy New Year Carolyn (please note the correct spelling). Marv

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 12:57PM
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pawneepapa(6a KS)

I grew Big Zac last year. The plant was huge. A six-foot-tall cage was not near enough to contain it. Without any special care, it produced a 3-pound tomato plus loads of 1 to 2 pounders. The taste was decent; not my best tasting tomato last year but certainly respectable. It was late to ripen and there were some cracks on the shoulders.

I am on the fence whether to grow it this year but it certainly has the genetics to grow big tomatoes if you are into that.

Daryl

    Bookmark   January 12, 2014 at 1:16AM
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hudson___wy(3)

Hi Daryl,
Thanks for your review! I don't know about you (you must be that way too because you already tried Big Zac) - but it is in my nature to want to try new varieties of tomatoes every year while always giving the bulk of the space in our GH to varieties that are proven producers and favorites for us. I am not into growing for competition - just like to brag a little when we can successfully grow large tomatoes that most folks in Wyoming (in our area) aren't able to grow - when we share with family and friends.

Based on what you and others have said on this thread - I think Big Zac is worth growing (at least one plant) to see how it does in our GH. I know what you mean about being on the fence - we grew several German Giant tomato plants last year and although successful - I would rather try a different variety in it's place this year because it wasn't a "knock out" variety for us. I am guessing Big Zac may fit in that same category - but hey, one doesn't know until one tries!

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 9:53AM
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hudson___wy(3)

Here is an update on - Big Zac Hybrid

We decided to try the Big Zac variety based on comments on this thread (mostly on Daryl & Marv's comments - your book looks interesting from the review I read Marv - wow - a 7.7 lb tomato 26" in diameter - a 53' vine - that is a huge plant - although it wasn't a Big Zac !) to see how it would do in our GH. The season is early and the photo shows some of the tomatoes that have set on just one plant. We only had space for one plant and we started the seedling from seed. All of the clusters shown in this photo are still setting fruit - most clusters have 6-10 fruit on a cluster. The plant is tall - 6'+ and still growing. We noticed that the stems are not as stout as other varieties (but substantial) at this point of the seasons - they must continue to thicken to carry the weight of the fruit.

The plant appears to like it's environment currently and we are anxious to see how the fruit will continue to set and ripen - and then of course the all important - Taste Test!

This post was edited by Hudson...WY on Fri, Jun 20, 14 at 20:57

    Bookmark   June 20, 2014 at 6:03PM
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hudson___wy(3)

The Wyoming night time temps in our GH may be too cold for the Big Zac variety? The plant is doing well but the fruit stops growing and ripens at about 12 oz. The production was average for us. Although it is always interesting to try a different variety - Big Zac appears to do better in warmer climates - IMO.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 9:20AM
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growneat

And......what about the taste?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 10:03AM
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hudson___wy(3)

Oh yes - the all important taste - which is totally subjective - how could I forget that! I can score Big Zac a "7" on a 1-10 scale. It is a thin skinned - pink color - with an acidic - tangy - with lots of juice pockets - taste! And I tasted it without refrigeration - Deeby - so all the natural flavors were detectable. I like this tomato - I wished it liked our GH as much!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 8:49PM
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Deeby

Hudson, I'm proud of you !

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 8:41PM
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hudson___wy(3)

Well - you know Deeby - I have to listen and actually implement some of the advice and suggestions from those who post on this forum to find out for myself - I have to admit that if one is wanting to savor taste - cold temps makes that more difficult - but hot summer temps sure make a cold tomato taste awesome - IMO. In this case - one can have it both ways!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 10:17PM
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Deeby

If you say so... I'm just dreading the day you make tomato popsicles...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 12:24AM
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sharonrossy

Hudson, just curious, although you have probably already mentioned it. What are your temps during the summer? How low does it get at night? We are currently in another heat wave but I've had to start cutting down some of my plants. Weird year.
Sharon

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 10:26AM
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hudson___wy(3)

Hi Sharon - the usual summer high is 90 degrees with low around 50 degrees (August). This week the high is 70 - low 32. We can keep things going in the GH through October without much heat - but we have already pulled half of the early tomato plants - our plants do better in early spring than late fall - we need room to cure our onions too. Where are you in zone 5? (General area).

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 12:27PM
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sharonrossy

Hi Hudson, I'm in Montreal, and growing season is now coming to an end, although we are having unusually hot, humid weather. Nighttime lows have been in the 60's except for a few nights a couple of weeks ago. The temperature can swing like crazy here at this time of the year. We usually plant out by the end of May and from time to time, have had tomatoes go until end of September. But I can see the change already and only the cherries and NAR are really continuing to produce. Not sure any of the bigger ones will have a chance to do anything at this point. Your onions look scrumptious. I'm still getting loads of cucumbers. Everytime I pick a Brandy Boy I think of you, because mine held such promise and just did so-so, but that's on me.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 7:31PM
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jmmeisner

To me, Big Zac seems like the way to go for giant tomatoes. Been watching them grow for about 10 years.

This post was edited by jmmeisner on Fri, Sep 5, 14 at 20:52

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 8:43PM
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hudson___wy(3)

I agree jmmeisner - Big Zac is the way to go for giant tomatoes! We grew them just to see how they would do as a slicing tomato - not worrying about size - they did alright but not as prolific and good tasting as other varieties - IMO. But Big Zac would be a good choice should we grow for size!

Sharon - we have never been to Montreal but I know it is a beautiful area! Last year we planted Cherokee Purple in July and had tomatoes in the GH until mid/end of October without heat (photo). We didn't take the time or make the effort to do it again this year - although it can be done. Our cukes are also producing well right now and we have some sweet potatoes yet to dig and a bunch of Geraniums we have propagated - and still some Brandy Boys that are producing. We are winding down in the GH though and have so many projects to complete before winter!
I have bragged a lot about Brandy Boy this year - but it has been such an awesome variety for us. If BB doesn't perform in your area - I hope you do find that awesome variety that loves your growing conditions!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2014 at 3:16PM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

I'm harvesting the last from an open pollinated Big Zac plant right now. I don't know if hybrids from the original cross exist and if so who has the reliable source. Anyway I have one of the many available open pollinated ones.

The BZ vines were very strong and vigorous and filled out very nicely in large area, suspended by chords. Not as thick stemmed as Cherokee Purple... the largest tomatoes were closest to the main stem, further away from it they were about 75% the size but reasonably consistent. I have a great deal of rain and humidity and most of the BZ's cracked rendering it a frustrating variety here.

Production was lackluster in total weight. The biggest BZ was only 13.2 ounces, and most were coming in at 11 ounces each. The taste was nothing I'll remember long, even though harvesting was done vine ripe (and I lost some to pests and cracks left on too long). They set reasonably well in the heat for me.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2014 at 6:54AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Well, if it is a hybrid and one of the parents has passed away (RIP) then how can you propagate it ?

My Cherokee Purple and Ananas Noires produce fruits 13 to 19 oz. and the taste is great. Unless you grow BZ for production and taste, not for competition, that sound like a good choice.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2014 at 7:41AM
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lubadub(5B PA)

The parents of Big Zac have not passed away. Big Zac F1 can be purchased at Totally Tomatoes. Check their online catalog. I believe the crosses are being made in Japan though I am not certain. Growers have been growing seeds from the original cross, F1 Big Zac, and are now out to F8 and F9. The new world record, 8.41 pounds was set by Dan MacCoy in Minnesota using some of these seeds. Minnie Zaccaria now has a new seed named ZacZilla which is a triple cross that has been given to the giant tomato growing community to see how they do with it this next year. Marv

    Bookmark   October 14, 2014 at 10:04AM
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PupillaCharites(FL 9a)

seysonn, I have to agree that given a choice between Cherokee Purple and Big Zac with standard growing methods, CP will be more fun, more flavorful and more productive than my BZ experience with whatever I do here.

I'm not abandoning the BZ variety though since there is something cool about knowing what people have done with it. Just, not every season.

As for the "hybrid" situation I've previously expressed my opinion about the fine line between a cross and hybrid in the commercial seed business, and at this point it really doesn't seem to matter since the OPs are racking up the records. Though not a BZ groupie, the excitement can be fun and contagious of some of the other members who have had fun with it.

That said, I think Cherokee Purple has potential for giant tomatoes and maybe someone can send one to Marv (Thanks for reminding us that the missing "parent" who I call lovingly "Elvis" was allegedly resurrected from the beyond) who no doubt would show the world its first 5 pounder if he didn't want to grow them to eat. Both CP plants I started from seed in early August produced a very large "terminal" fused blossom as a premier into flowering. Terminal is in quotes because these are thick stems that sort of both grew up in a triple thick stem, so I don't know what the scientific word is for having a three lane hot wheels track going up in the main stem from the get go, with a remarkable fused blossom pit stop in the middle lane ;-) Twice for twice.

PC

    Bookmark   October 14, 2014 at 11:35AM
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