Vegetables and Fruit forum: The Most Popular Tomatoes (according to suppliers)

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Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
Seed Starter
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DonShirer
Mar 10, 2016 3:23 PM CST
     Recently I was going through the websites of the seed suppliers I've patronized in the last few years to see if I could take some off the list (those shipping charges add up!) but the project quickly got out of hand. I ended up with a list of 1833 tomato varieties from 16 suppliers!

     Unfortunately many of my favorites were only handled by one or two sellers, so it didn't help me very much, but I thought that you might be interested in what tomato varieties were the most popular, i.e. offered by the most suppliers. I feel that my list is a reasonably fair sampling since it includes 5 suppliers offering over 200 varieties each, 7 handling from 50 to 200, and 4 smaller firms listing fewer than 50 types of tomatoes. Except for two companies less than two years old, all are on the recommended suppliers list of the gardening forums I subscribe to.

     So, on to the results:
1220 tomato varieties were offered by only one of these suppliers
312 were offered by two suppliers,
126 were offered by three,
76 by 4,
30 by 5,
24 by 6,
13 by seven suppliers,

     The winners, in third place with 8 or 9 suppliers, are:
Anna Russian, Arkansas Traveler, Brandywine (pink), Costoluto Genovese, German Johnson, Giant Belgium, Japanese Black Trifele, Kellogg's Breakfast, Paul Robeson, Red Pear, Riesentraube, Roma, Yellow Pear.

     The runners up, offered by 10 or 11 of the 16 suppliers:
Aunt Ruby's German Green, Black from Tuila, Hillbilly, Green Zebra, Mortgage Lifter, Pineapple, Prudens Purple and Stupice.

     And the winning varieties, offered by 13 or more of the suppliers:
Amish Paste, Black Cherry, Black Krim and Cherokee Purple.
Did your favorites win ribbons? Only eight of mine did.

     To add to the other useless information from this data mine, B and S were the most popular first letters of those 1833 varieties with about 10% of the total each. I hope that's not a hidden message.
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Mar 10, 2016 8:59 PM CST
Man, you have waaay too much time on your hands. Gardening season needs to get to Conn. and soon.

Besides that, I love stuff like this. From third place up to the winners, I have grown about 3/4 of those varieties over the past 12 years or so. This year only seven are on the list. Lots of B's and S's for sure.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Mar 11, 2016 8:03 AM CST
Interesting. Although, from looking at all three lists I'm not convinced that the most popular means the best.

From the past ten years of growing heirloom tomatoes ~ Noteworthy from your list:
-Aunt Ruby's German Green is at the top of my most tasty & productive green tomato list, Green Zebra is second.
-Black Cherry is my favorite cherry tomato, so far.
-Yellow Pear, although very productive, has hardly no flavor. Makes a good choice for jam or chutney.
-German Johnson is on my worst tomato list. After two tries, the plants grew huge but no fruit the first time and few the second time. The few tomatoes came so late that the beetles ended up getting them before they matured. Never actually tried one for flavor but they aren't worth the space or effort to try growing again!

I see a few that I'm trying this year:
2nd try - Kellogg's Breakfast
1st try - Red Pear and Amish Paste


May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Yan H
Westminster, MD (Zone 6b)
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huang049
Mar 19, 2016 9:45 PM CST
I only grow one kind, Cherokee Purple. Keep it simple, and heirloom variety seeds true to their name, never had to bother with buying tomato seeds anymore.
Name: Linda
SE Houston, Tx. (Hobby) (Zone 9a)
"Godspeed, & Good Harvest!"
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Gymgirl
Mar 20, 2016 12:56 AM CST
7 of my favorites made the list.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Mar 20, 2016 12:05 PM CST
Your information is really interesting but I agree not sure what it really means.

But I am glad you posted and that I found this thread. It starts an interesting conversation.

I found that I had to order seed from far too many sources this year to get all the tomato varieties that I wanted. But I have some really truly unusual ones. Including seed from some of today's modern tomato hybridizers that are not well known.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Mar 20, 2016 3:19 PM CST
I love trying new varieties of tomatoes. I'm hoping to one day grow only my favorites...
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Mar 20, 2016 4:54 PM CST
I try new ones and that is how I find new favorites!!
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Mar 21, 2016 10:17 AM CST
Same here Rita. There is room for 35 tomato plants in my garden. Most years for the past dozen I had grown out at least ten new to me varieties and the rest favorites. Every year there are several new favorites to put on that list. The favorite list is now so long they can't be grown every year and try new varieties as well. So, the favorites are on a rotating schedule and the new ones have become only those with great recommendations. So keep up the recommending.
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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Newyorkrita
Mar 21, 2016 11:04 AM CST
The tomato garden here just keeps expanding. But it's not possible to make any more room now so I am stuck with what I have.

Some years lots of new ones to try for me, other years not too many. This year since I started my own tomato plants from seed I have just about everything new to me.

So it means this will be the best year ever or maybe a bust and I go back to my tried and true varieties. I will find out. But truly I am very excited about all these I will be growing this year. Just about none of them would have been possible to get if I wasn't growing from seed.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
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wildflowers
Mar 22, 2016 7:36 AM CST
How exciting, Rita! I typically grow all of my garden from seed. I think it makes for a very rewarding adventure, watching everything grow and fruit. But, like you said, it can be disappointing if plants don't produce much, or any at all. Heirlooms are funny like that. Often they don't produce like the popular hybrids but they can really make up for it with flavor!
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
Mar 22, 2016 9:00 AM CST
wildflowers said:How exciting, Rita! I typically grow all of my garden from seed. I think it makes for a very rewarding adventure, watching everything grow and fruit. But, like you said, it can be disappointing if plants don't produce much, or any at all. Heirlooms are funny like that. Often they don't produce like the popular hybrids but they can really make up for it with flavor!


I have never been impressed with the makes up for it with flavor argument. If it is extra stingy with the fruit it is a bust for me no matter how great those very few fruits taste. I need production from my tomato plants or they don't get to return to my garden.
Name: Christine
North East Texas (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Birds Organic Gardener Native Plants and Wildflowers Winter Sowing Herbs
Critters Allowed Dog Lover Cat Lover Keeper of Poultry Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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wildflowers
Mar 22, 2016 9:17 AM CST
Yes, for me too, extra stingy is not acceptable! I grow about twelve to sixteen tomato plants per year, so I want them to "earn their keep"! Hilarious!

But, I have grown very few larger tomato heirlooms that have come close to putting out fruit like Celebrity or Carnival. I'm not impressed with the flavor of Celebrity but Carnival is awesome, it has really good flavor!
May your life be like a wildflower, growing freely in the beauty and joy of each day --Native American Proverb

Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Hummingbirder
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Newyorkrita
Mar 22, 2016 11:53 AM CST
wildflowers said:Yes, for me too, extra stingy is not acceptable! I grow about twelve to sixteen tomato plants per year, so I want them to "earn their keep"! Hilarious!

But, I have grown very few larger tomato heirlooms that have come close to putting out fruit like Celebrity or Carnival. I'm not impressed with the flavor of Celebrity but Carnival is awesome, it has really good flavor!


Good to know about the production. I have never grown either of those so can't comment on taste. Actually I Have never heard of one called Carnival. I will have to look it up and see.

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