Vegetables and Fruit forum: Tomatoes Recommended for Good Taste

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Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
Seed Starter Tomato Heads Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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DonShirer
Dec 15, 2016 11:14 AM CST
TOMATOES RECOMMENED BY POSTERS FOR GOOD TASTE

To help select varieties to grow for next season, I paged through tomato threads on several garden sites and made a note of those listed as having better than average flavor. While I realize this is a very subjective rating, I thought it might provide some possibilities for me (and others) to try. I know many growers prefer varieties with high yields over flavor, but I’m happy with average yields if the fruit tastes good. To be fair, I appended a - sign to strongly recommended varieties that also had one or two negative comments. Here is the list, grouped by types and noted as being OP or HYBrid. I apologize for any spelling mistakes brought on by eyestrain after going through almost 2000 posts!

RED TOMATOES
OP: Abraham Lincoln, Big Beef, Bloody Butcher, Boxcar Willie-,
Cosmonaut Volkov, Mariana’s Peace, Moreton, Sioux-
HYB: Amelia, Beefmaster, Beefsteak/Bush Beefsteak, Bella Rosa,
Better Boy/Big Boy, Big Beef-, Big Zac, Celebrity, Country Taste, Defiant,
Early Girl-, Garden Treasure, Mountain Fresh+, Mountain Merit, Steakhouse,
Supersonic, Tasti-Lee, Whopper(Park’s)

PINK TOMATOES
OP: Amana Pink, Arkansas Traveler, Barlow Jap, Brandywine (Cowlick’s),
Caspian Pink, Italian Sweet, Kolb, La Vie en Rose, Mortgage Lifter-,
Omar’s Lebanese, Pruden’s Purple-, Purple Dog Creek, Rose
Soldacki/Polish C, Stump of the World
HYB: Momotaro

HEART TOMATOES
OP: Arad’s Pink Heart, Fish Lake Oxheart, Giant Oxheart, Hungarian Heart,
Joe’s Pink Oxheart, Kosovo, Reif Red Heart, Sheryl’s Red Portuguese Heart

YELLOW / ORANGE TOMATOES
OP: Azoychka-, Dixie Golden Giant, Djena Lee’s Golden Girl,
Golden Jubilee/Sunray, Golden Queen USDA, Harless Creek Gold,
Kellogg’s Breakfast-, Sweet Ozark Orange-
HYB: Carolina Gold, Chef’s Choice

GREEN TOMATOES
OP: Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Green Zebra

DARK (Black, Purple, Brown) TOMATOES
OP: Amazon Chocolate, Black from Tula-, Black Icicle, Black Krim-,
Black Prince, Black Seaman. Cherokee Purple-. Paul Robeson

MULTICOLOR / STRIPED
OP: Big Rainbow, Brown & Red Boar, Hillbilly/Royal Hillbilly, Indigo Apple,
Lucky Cross, Mary Robinson’s German Bicolor, Pineapple,
Pink Berkeley Tie Dye, Tigerella-. Virginia Sweets

SMALL (Cherry, Grape, Saladette) TOMATOES
OP: Black Cherry-, Black Pearl, Bloody Butcher, Chocolate Cherry-.
Cyril’s Choice-, Geranium Kiss, Honeydrop, Jaune Flamee, Juliet-.
Mexico Midget, Morovsky Div/Stupice-, Moscow. Riesentraube,
Sophie’s Choice, Tommy Toes
HYB: Chocolate Sprinkle, Coyote, Cupid, Fourth of July, Jasper, Juliet,
Orange Parauche, Orange Zinger, Sunchocola, Sungold, Sunsugar,
SuperSweet 100, Sweet 100, Sweet Baby Girl, Sweet Million

PASTE / COOKING TOMATOES
OP: Porter-, Rutgers, San Marzano Redorta, SuperSauce, Viva Italia

DWARF TOMATOES
OP: Big New Dwarf-
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Dec 15, 2016 12:38 PM CST
Thanks, Don! I copied that entire list to my "tomato notes".

I wonder if that list could form the basis of some voting entertainment - people would give thumbs up or down for each variety they have tried, and allow more than one vote for or against each variety if you or a neighbor grew them in different years.

What do you think, @Jon? Would there be a place for a "contest" like "Vote for best-tasting tomatoes"? Could the Photo Contest software be re-purposed for "favorite vegetable variety?"
Name: Jon Whitinger
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Hybridizer Garden Photography Daylilies Region: Texas Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Forum moderator Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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jon
Dec 15, 2016 1:27 PM CST

Plants Admin

I think @dave would be a better person to talk to about that. If you just want to put information on how you liked a certain tomato then you could just write a comment for that tomato and then everyone in the future can see how you liked the tomato.
Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
Seed Starter Tomato Heads Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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DonShirer
Dec 15, 2016 2:34 PM CST
There are lots of posts in the heirloom and hybrid tomato threads of new tomatoes people are trying every year, but very few followups later on telling us how they tasted and whether it was a heavy, average or poor yield.

And there are also few comments attached to the Tomato varieties in the Plant Database. I think that would be the best way to communicate to each other if we liked a plant or not. If everyone who raised tomatoes each year could be encouraged to add just a few comments about taste and yield to the database entries for the varieties they feel strongly about, we'd have a much more informative site.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
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RickCorey
Dec 15, 2016 3:03 PM CST
I strongly agree that comments added to the plant database are the best resource for future reference.

The idea of a "contest" or voting for "favorite tasting tomato" was more like entertainment during the slow Winter season.

Considering how wide the variations in preferences and climates are, such votes wouldn't have much fundamental "meaning".
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Dec 15, 2016 3:26 PM CST
I have just realized there is something I can do when and if it snows here. Make list of the above average tasting tomatoes grown in my gardens over the past 15 years. If it doesn't snow, sleet or rain ice I may not get around to it. I will begin working on the list during spare time.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Dec 15, 2016 9:44 PM CST
Don, thanks for compiling that list -- I've starred it for future reference! (and I see some of my faves on there, as well as a couple of new ones that I'm planning to try next season Smiling )
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Dec 16, 2016 10:51 AM CST
This may end up being too long to make sense or too much information, but this morning I went through my journals and came up with this idea. From the start of my "discovery" of heirloom/OP tomatoes in 1999, every year the best tasting varieties were noted. So the list will indicate that year's best. Some varieties show up most years but those will only be mentioned once, the first year on the list. So, year-variety-color.

1999: Caspian Pink-pink, Cherokee Purple-black,Old Flame-bi-color.

no records kept 2000, 2001

2002: Kellogg's Breakfast-orange, Large Pink Bulgarian-pink, Cuostralee-red, Russian 117-red, Brandywine (sudduth)-pink.

2003: Omar's Lebanese-pink, Marianna's Peace-pink, Aunt Gerties Gold-yellow, Stump of the World-pink, Sandul Moldovan-pink, KBX-orange.

2004: Crnkovic Yugoslavian-pink, Neve's Azorian Red, Lillian's Yellow Heirloom.

2005: Kelleher's Oxheart-red, German Red Strawberry, German Head-pink, Heatherington Pink.

2006: Giant Syrian-pink, Soldacki-pink, Drxuzba-Red, Carbon-black, Kosovo-pink, Zogaola-Red.

2007: Tom's Yellow Wonder, Earl's Faux-pink, Wes-red, Red Penna, Fox Cherry-red.

2008: Reif Red Heart,Obeyer's German-red, Zore's Big Red, Julies Red Oxheart, Couer De Valours-red, Sylvan Guame-red, Eagle's Beak-pink, Nicky Crain-pink, Orange Russian #117-bi-color, Black Cherry.

2009: Mexican Yellow, Rosella Giant-red dwarf, Italian Purple-pink, Joe's Portuguese-pink, Russian Bogytar-red, Giant Belgium-pink, Tidwell German-pink.

2010: Tasmanian Chocolate-black dwarf, Old Brooks-red, Cherokee Chocolate-black, Butter and Bull Heart-pink, Large Pink Bulgarian, Hillbilly-bi-color.

2011: G.G.'s Yellow Bulgarian, Emma Pink, BL-8 Magnum-red, Willows Bulgarian-pink, Paul' Pink Pride, Aunt Lou's Underground Railroad-pink, Nolan Boy's Russian-red.

2012: Dwarf Purple Heart-black, Joe's Pink Oxheart, Ambrosia Red Cherry, Italian Sweet-pink.

2013: Helen's German-pink, West Virginia Straw-pink, Delicious-red, Church-pink, Volovie Ukho-pink, Cowlick's Brandywine-pink, Glazer's Giant-pink, Red Butter Heart.

2014: Sweetheart-pink, Hungarian Heart-pink, Rebel Yell-pink, Lee's Sweet-pink, Brandy Fred-black dwarf.

2015: Pink Cadillac, Red Barn, Bear Claw-pink, Ludmilla's Pink Heart, Lescana Yugoslavian Heart-pink, Lennie and Gracie's Yellow Kentucky Heirloom, Amana Pink, Kolb-pink, Korol London-pink, Debbie-red, Blue Ridge Mountain-pink, Heshpole-pink, Bear Creek-black, 1884-pink, Goliath-pink, Zeke Dishpan-red, Zade Wilson-pink.

2016: Virginia Sweets-bi-color, Mortgage Lifter-red, Emmy-yellow, Dixie Golden Giant.

My favorites tend to be sweet, big tomatoes, heavy on the heart shaped varieties. I love pink hearts, red hearts and black varieties. I am not much on pastes or cherries. My wife says Black Cherry and Ambrosia Cherries are the best.

[Last edited by PaulF - Dec 16, 2016 3:13 PM (+)]
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Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
Seed Starter Tomato Heads Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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DonShirer
Dec 16, 2016 4:23 PM CST
Thanks, Paul!
I've added your "bests" to my list, plus the mentions on a dozen "best tomato" posts I found, and it has grown to triple the original size.
I'm toying with the idea of assembling a database of these varieties, with categories for Color, Shape, Size, Season, OP or Hybrid, Plant Height, Leaf Type, Yield, Taste, Disease Resistance, etc. so that someone could search for appropriate varieties. (i.e. Yellow + Large + High-Yield + Verticillum Resistant + Sweet).

Would this be useful?

To make it easier for non-experts to use, I was thinking of using a spreadsheet program like Excel rather than one of the high-powered database systems like Oracle. Any other suggestions?
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Dec 16, 2016 5:13 PM CST
Another great list, Paul -- which I've also "starred" (along with Don's).

I thought I was keeping fairly good garden records but they now seem horribly inadequate by comparison! Sighing!

Don, I think if you made a spreadsheet like you are thinking about it would be a great article for NGA! Thumbs up
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Dec 16, 2016 10:23 PM CST
The more information for gardeners the better. The "go to" list for me is a very extensive effort you can find at http://tatianastomatobase.com/...

Tatiana has put in many, many hours assembling her site. Give it a look and see if you can get some ideas how to put a spreadsheet together. It just so happens she also sell seeds of all sorts. A very good person with very good product and excellent customer service. This is the Tomato Bible so far as I am concerned.

Sandy, you just have to get old for a list to become extensive...and I am a list nut.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Dec 16, 2016 11:17 PM CST
PaulF said:
Sandy, you just have to get old for a list to become extensive...and I am a list nut.


:rofl: Rolling on the floor laughing

I think I qualify, Paul... my list is just disorganized! nodding



“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
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Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
Seed Starter Tomato Heads Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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DonShirer
Jan 2, 2017 10:48 AM CST
A proposal for a Tomato Datasheet

As an aid to choosing which tomatoes to grow this year, I have mocked up an Excel datasheet containing abbreviated descriptions of the color, shape, size, season, growth type, parents, height, leaf type, yield, taste, origin and disease resistance of (so far) 500 varieties culled from reference books and web sites (including the lists above). So far it seems helpful, but I need your advice as to whether an expanded version would be of use to the gardening community.

If you have a copy of Microsoft Excel and would be willing to let me know your opinion on this beta-test version, please send me a Garden.org Tree-message with your email address and I will send you a copy of the Excel datasheet plus a Word file suggesting how to use it.

P.S. Paul, I very familiar with Tatiana's site which I agree has an astounding amount of useful information, but no easy way to correlate that info to find similar varieties.
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Jan 2, 2017 3:46 PM CST
You are correct. It would interesting to see the spreadsheet. Except I have Mac computers and Excel is difficult for me as I am sort of illiterate. Go for it!
Minnesota (Zone 3b)
RpR
Jan 18, 2017 1:02 PM CST
Taste.
How do people judge taste?

I DO NOT like sweet tomatoes so ignoring the sweet part, that sooo many catalogs stick in, what is a good tasting tomato?
Name: Don Shirer
Westbrook, CT (Zone 6a)
Seed Starter Tomato Heads Vegetable Grower Avid Green Pages Reviewer
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DonShirer
Jan 18, 2017 2:26 PM CST
RpR:
     Good question! Here are some typical answers that can be found on the web:

http://www.the-scientist.com/?...

https://bonnieplants.com/libra...

http://www.harvesttotable.com/...

     I like Craig LeHoullier's approach: “To my palate, the most distinctive tomato flavor characteristics are tartness compared with sweetness, flavor fullness compared with blandness, and complexity compared with simplicity.”
The descriptions in his book "Epic Tomatoes" incorporate two quality ranges: Tart-Balanced-Sweet and Mild-Moderate-Intense.

P.S. The post that started this thread did not attempt to define "good taste", it was just an attempt to begin a list of tomatoes worth consideration for growing.
Name: Paul Fish
Brownville, Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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PaulF
Jan 18, 2017 2:46 PM CST
Your spitter may be my keeper...and vicey-versey. It is all in the mouth of the beholder. 90% of the tomatoes grown in my garden are of the sweet persuasion. Maybe my taste buds are changing in my old age since a tart or two creep in every year. IT IS ALL SUBJECTIVE, and that is why sometimes I try to stay away from taste comparisons and "best tasting" lists. But then, I just can't help myself explaining who I am through my tomatoes.
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Seed Starter Vegetable Grower
Greenhouse Region: United States of America Region: Michigan Enjoys or suffers cold winters Butterflies Birds
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Weedwhacker
Jan 18, 2017 5:53 PM CST
I agree -- tomato flavor (and I suppose the flavor of pretty much everything else) is such a personal thing! I learned long ago that if a seed catalog is singing the praises of "sweet and mild-flavored," or "low-acid," I'm not going to like it. (Bring on the heartburn Hilarious! )
“Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." ~ Albert Schweitzer /
Cubits.org - A Universe of Communities[/I] / Share your recipes: Favorite Recipes A-Z cubit
C/F temp conversion / NGA Member Map
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Image
RickCorey
Jan 18, 2017 7:28 PM CST
A friend once went to the trouble of making a bed, finding yellow and orange tomato seeds, and growing them for his mother, whose stomach could no longer take the acid.

But they agreed they were all "bland" and went back to red tomatoes, Prilosec and Zantac.


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 Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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Newyorkrita
Jan 19, 2017 3:27 PM CST
Not all yellow tomatoes are bland but I suppose many are. I happen to love the ones I grow.

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