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Jun 29, 2009 09:43 PM

Creole Tomatoes

I am not a tomato connosieur. What is a "creole tomato" ? Why are they so prized? Is there any difference from a creole and any other good home grown variety ? I am visiting an out of town friend who requested some creole tomatoes. I figure I'll just pick up a box at Dorignac's. Does that sound Okay ?

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  1. Creoles are meatier withh less gelatinous matter. The ones purchased in markets are picked before they are fully ripe. IMO they are merely "ok". Not nearly as good as those from one's garden. If you've ever had a home grown Jersey tomato, none of these compare (including my garden Creoles).

    11 Replies
    1. re: JazzyB

      To each his own Jazzy. I much prefer the Creole to a Jersey tomato any day of the week, but then again it is what I grew up on and my grandfather had tons of tomato plants in his backyard. Now I'm stuck with the Jersey, which I find ok, but not as good as a Creole.

      Maybe we can organize a tomato exchange program? lol

      1. re: roro1831

        Creoles are meaty with good tomato flavor when fully ripened on the vine. The allure down here, is that they are almost as distinctive as heirlooms, in that they are all we grow around here. So, when we get the local creoles, they are fresher. Almost the Louisiana strawberry being better than Cali berries or even Florida avocados being better than South American ones. The closer to the source you buy them, the riper they should have been when picked. The closer to the farm they're bought, the fresher and better tasting they will be.

        1. re: roro1831

          Where are you getting Jersey tomatoes? My dad lives in Jesey and his plants aren't close to producing. He puts in about 40 plants. Crazy. I visited him last summer and recall how much sweeter and more flavorful they were than my creoles. I guess the grass is always greener.

        2. re: JazzyB

          amen Jazzy, amen!! heading to NJ by car august 12 for a month of beach...if you can't make it this year I'll bring you back a basket of jerseys from Stella's in Winslow Twp ~ seriously

          1. re: chef4hire

            Chef4hire, thanks but not necessary. I plan to visit my dad (Old Bridge) and niece (LBI) late summer.

          2. re: JazzyB

            Jazzy, you may prefer "Jersey" tomatoes because you grew up eating them, but there is no such variety as a "Jersey" tomato.
            What folks from that area call Jersey tomatoes are any of several hybrid varieties, some bred especially for the climate there by Rutgers University.
            New Jersey is truly a Garden State and grows wonderful produce for the NE, but this is not the same as the heirloom Creole that those of us in South Louisiana know and love.

            The Creole is an heirloom that grows especially well in the heat and humidity of South Louisiana. You can buy seeds but most people buy plants to set out in gardens as soon as the last frost is over.
            It is a bit more acid than the hybrids that are marketed in the NE, perhaps because consumers in that region prefer sweeter tomatoes.

            I've sadly lived lived away from NOLA for too many years and yearn for my Creoles.
            I'm trying to grow Creoles this year in Washington and on MD's Eastern Shore, but our unusually wet Spring and early Summer, combined with low temperatures has kept any of my tomatoes from prospering.
            Neither Jerseys nor others up here do it for me. They are a poor second to my beloved Creoles.

            1. re: MakingSense

              I'd always heard that there is no such thing as a Creole cultivar. The name simply refers to tomatoes grown in the area.

              I'm neither a gardener nor a specialist in plants, but over in a forum called Helpful Gardener, a similar discussion was settled with a letter from Dan Gill himself:


              Short answer: LSU once released a Creole variety, but they believe it has long since disappeared. The only correct use of Creole is to refer to tomatoes grown in the soil of this region.

              1. re: Frolic

                Thanks for that info, Frolic...

                I have always suspected that Rutgers released the named varieties in order to draw attention to their horticulture department and NJ Fresh jumped on board to promote tomato sales ~ I'm not a tomato consipracy theorist or anything...I just like the facts, please!

                1. re: Frolic

                  Very interesting. The only way that the old LSU (Geaux, Tigres!) cultivar could still exist is if gardeners were saving their seeds. There are probably not enough of those around for commercial production.
                  I'll be anxious to see how my experiment works this year although it's not the best year for it with the weather we've been having. Global warming? Not. I'm wearing a sweater tonight with no AC.

                  This may well be exactly the same as the Jersey tomato - a terroir thing. Plant any variety that does particularly well. Call it a Jersey in Jersey, and a Creole in South Louisiana. My grandfather is spinning in his grave!

                2. re: MakingSense


                  not trying to get into a holy tomato war here, but please do not let the Rutgers/NJ Fresh webinfo give you the wrong idea... I do not search for anything called Ramapo or Rutgers when I go tomato picking ~

                  for me it's the soil not the seed

                  my favorite farm in SJ is using heirloom seeds called big russia roma and bloody butcher (last year anyway) they tell me the sandy soil/excellent drainage provides just enough water to grow without the fruit taste being diluted

                  for me, Creoles do not taste of the sun when I take a bite...they are not sharp/sweet tomatoey and that's what I'm looking for

                  it's kind of like the first time you go to Italy or Greece and eat veggies - words like verdant and lusty come to my mind...that's how I want my tomatoes to taste, regardless of where they are grown

                  1. re: chef4hire

                    What people value in a tomato varies, mostly developed from what they grew up with.
                    For you, that's the Jersey variety; for me, it's the Creole. Sort of Proustian.
                    Since I can't find them here, I buy other types. There are Jerseys in the stores here, but I like the local tomatoes better.

                    I know that NJ Fresh is the marketing agency for Jersey commercial growers. They've done a great job of branding. That's why everybody in the NE swoons over "Jersey this and that."

              2. If you see Liuzza Farms creole grape tomatoes buy them. They are $1.50 a pint at Berrytown in Ponchatoula and about $2.50 at other stores in the N.O./Metry/LaPlace area.

                1. Anyone know of a tomato paste made from Creole Tomatoes?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: drinkology

                    Tomato paste is made from plum type tomatoes which are meatier. These are sometimes called Italian style tomatoes.

                    Creoles are slicers, salad type tomatoes, whatever you want to call them. They have a high water content and aren't good for cooking. They are best eaten raw.

                  2. The creole is a specially tomato. The flavor comes from the silt that has landed in the back yards of people who live in the Greater New Orleans area, or anywhere where the Mississippi River runs. There is nothing better than picking these wonderful tomatoes and slicing them up for dinner.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ghc630

                      Ahhhhh, that explains why I much prefer Creoles that come from where my father grew up (Lutcher/Gramercy) rather than those I can get readily from the Ponchatoula area.....big difference in least to me....