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Oct 15, 2011 03:30 PM

Which Heirloom Tomatoes did you prefer this Summer

I just saw some Heirloom tomatoes at Wegman's Market yesterday. They all looked different from one another.

I assume that an heirloom tomato can be any named tomato from the past. I know there is one that I dislike very much, and some are yellow, some are this or that color, so each one must have a name.

Are there any that you particularly liked or suggest for next season's pickings or purchasing?

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  1. Don't know if you could possibly buy these at Wegman's (or any store), but if you are looking for something to grow yourself, the Brandywine is my favorite.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Terrie H.

      I like green zebras, brandywines, yellow romas, and blue beech.

      1. re: magiesmom

        I've never heard of Blue Beach! Do tell!

      2. re: Terrie H.

        I grew some beautiful Brandywines, they were a gorgeous golen orange yellow. Very meaty, with an almost squash like taste. The Black Krim's that I grew were out of this world GOOD, very juicy, robust, and a treat to get to eat.

        1. re: JEN10

          I also grew Black Krims this year and of the 10 heirloom varieties we planted, they were my favorite both for flavor and for yield. The Lemon Boys also had great yield and good flavor - they seemed to be that we harvested the longest and split the least (just picked the last one of those Sunday).
          The red Brandywine that we grew this year was the slowest to ripen and I wasn't crazy about the flavor. Maybe it was just that particular plant.

      3. My tomatoes underperformed this year because of an invasion of critters that kept taking bites out of tomatoes with the barest hint of red. But my favorite heirlooms over the last few years are Cherokee Purple (as well as many varieties with Black in their names), heart shapes such as Rlef Red Heart or German Strawberry, and Yellows like Yellow Brandywine, Azoychka or Kellogg's Breakfast. Sudduth's variety of Pink Brandywine is fine but there are many others with as good taste and better production such as Akers West Virginia and Andrew Rahart's Junbo Red.

        There is a great reference work on this very topic: Carolyn Male's "100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden". Highly recommended!

        1 Reply
        1. re: DonShirer

          Lime green salad is a pretty good choice for a beginner. It tastes similar to Green zebra (they were bred by the same person and share some of the same parents) with the advantage that the plants are small enough to keep in a pot if you have to.
          Cherokee green is pretty good.
          About the only tomato I can reccoment strongly you avoid is Purple Calabash. It has its fands, but a lot of people (me included) find the taste a little off putting (it has a red wine note to it, so that it's a bit like having very cold, very thin Marsala sauce.)

        2. Another green zebra fan. Mortgage lifters are a nice meaty tomato. We grew Cherokee purples this year but it was a horrible tomato season for us this year and they amounted to nothing,

          2 Replies
          1. re: suburban_mom

            I don't know where you are suburban_mom, but we're in the Westchester, NY, and got almost nothing from our tomatoes. And my fig tree, which is usually so bountiful, didn't produce either. I think there was too much rain.

            1. re: suburban_mom

              we had good yield and less blight on Mortgage Lifter but if any of the others were ripe I ate the others first.

            2. Had a terrible tomato year, first wetness, then heat damage, then wet and a hurricane. The few pink Brandywines that survived weather, birds, and racoons were delicious. Copia, a hybrid of two heirloom varieties was late but very good. The only real success was a large yellow cherry: Margaret Best Tommy Toe, abundant and very tasty. Amish paste also did ok. A dozen other heirlooms didn't make it. Bummer.

              1 Reply
              1. re: therealdoctorlew

                Our tomatoes (and zucchini) pretty much got wiped out by a massive hailstorm in late June. Hail the size of ping pong balls ripped through leaves and tore blossoms and set fruit from the plants. They never recovered.

              2. My favourite of this year was a variety called Matt's Wild Cherry tomato. They are tiny and bright red, about the size of a cranberry, and absolutely bursting with concentrated tomato flavour. They're clearly not good for much other than just snacking, but I've picked hundreds off of my single plant, and it just keeps producing more and more. I wish the season would keep on going....
                Another one I really enjoyed was a black cherry tomato. Large sized (for the cherry type,) deep purple, very sweet and not too acidic. The skins were a bit thick on those ones, and I didn't get too many until the end of the season, but they were very tasty.
                I have to agree about the green zebras. Excellent. Low yield on that one for me, though.
                One I will pass on next year are the rambling red stripe. They were much smaller than I expected, and tasted of already-canned tomatoes. Also the yellow pear tomatoes in my garden were mealy and watery tasting, although very, very plentiful.
                I had picked up some amazing fruits at the farmers market this year, and I wish knew what type they were. Perhaps a brandywine? They were large and craggy as that type would be, but they had dark green shoulders, sometimes almost black, tinged with purple and dark brown. The inner flesh was similarly coloured. I will be seeking those out for sure, as those were the most full flavoured, juicy tomatoes I think I've ever had.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Allegra_K

                  We've had great luck with Matt's Wild Cherry over the years too. Amazing tomato flavor.

                  We are lucky to live around the block from DeBaggio Herbs, so every year we can try new varieties, and there are always new varieties. Check out their offerings. Good descriptions of each variety. We usually get a mix of heirlooms and hybrids like Better Boy (which will almost guarantee that your garden will produce something).


                  1. re: Allegra_K

                    Many people would call this size a grape tomato rather than a cherry. One interesting fact about this and the similar sized currant tomatoes is that they grow fairly well in a partially shaded area instead of the full sun most large varieties require.

                    1. re: DonShirer

                      Matt's is definitely a grape tomato, but the "official" name of the variety is Matt's Wild Cherry. They are tiny tomatoes, with incredible flavor.

                    2. re: Allegra_K

                      Allegra K, That sounds like a Cherokee purple to me. One of my favorites.

                      1. re: joaniebaby

                        Yes! I looked it up, and that seems to be the one. Thank you! I will definitely be growing these ones next year!

                        1. re: Allegra_K

                          Alternatively, could they have been Black Krim tomatoes?

                          The Cherokee purple tomatoes I've had always seems to have less "dark" flesh/stuff surrounding the seeds but are instead more reddish/orangeish - whereas the flesh/stuff around the seeds in Black Krim tomatoes I've had almost always were much darker/dark green/"blackish".

                          1. re: huiray

                            They both look pretty similar, but the flesh does seem to be darker with the krim's--I guess I'll just have to try out both varieties!

                            1. re: Allegra_K

                              These are my Black Krim, if that helps any.

                              1. re: JEN10

                                If you like Black Krim's you'll love Paul Robeson's.

                                My favorites this year, Paul Robeson for slicing tomato, Matt's Wild Cherry for grape/cherry tomato and Jersey Devils for plum tomato/cooking tomato. I didn't grow any this year, but fortunately one of my local farm stands sorts & labels all of his tomatoes by variety. Ah, I miss them already, only 9 1/2 months 'til the next batch.