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.