Yes I grow tomatoes every year and every year I usually have the same favourite. And my favourite is usually the lovely Juliet – because with the way I grow (in a greenhouse), it is always the earliest, always the heaviest producer and always around for the longest time. It is really really good.
And so I was a little surprised when I decided it is not my favourite tomato this year.
My favourite tomato this year is not the biggest tomato. The biggest single tomato this year is Aussie – at almost two pounds. That is two pounds of mush. Big, like it’s namesake, but not that tasty so definitely not on my list of favourites this year. Ananas noire was also big and sloppy plus it has a huge core and it never really got red on teh outside which means a grower is never sure when to harvest and it is likely to get way over-ripe before it is picked.
Ananas noire did produce way more tomatoes than Aussie over a longer period and in my greenhouse it is still producing. It never promised to be red but it did promise to taste like a pineapple and to be multi-coloured.
My favourite tomato this year is not the smallest. That honour goes to Candyland. It is a tiny currant tomato perfect for its decorative clusters on a plate. And while it came early, it fizzled out pretty early too and is all but finished the first week of September. It is very sweet but is more useful as decoration than for eating value.
My favourite this year was not the sweetest because that kept changing over the season and alternated between smaller tomatoes like Brad’s Atomic grape and the sweet yellow cherry Sunsugar. For a while Golden Delight was the sweetest but because it is a bush, instead of a climber, it finished early and almost all at once. It also had blossom-end-rot early in the season outside where conditions change and care is variable depending on the gardener’s whim. This means I didn’t water it enough outdoors…. ooops.
My favourite this year is not San Marzano because my supplier shipped the wrong seed and like so many of my clients I grew it out and got small stupice-like fruit instead of bags of big romas. If you got these from me, Mea Culpa. Please ask for a free replacement plant next year. I have complained to my supplier and they will send me free seeds in 2022. But we have all lost a year and it’s been such a shame, I am not ordering tomatoes from this supplier next year.
My favourite this year is not Brandywine because I stopped growing these mushy, mealy, potato-leaf heirlooms years ago.
My favourite tomato this year is not the new potato-leaf plants I tried from a new supplier. The potato-like curled and floppy leaves left the plants looking weak, plus they had fewer fruits per plant and were not well-suited to greenhouse growing. Enough said.
My favourite tomato by far this year is an old timer. It is an heirloom tomato with a perfect and even size. I can hold two in my hand and one makes a super tasty toasted tomato sandwich when the tomato is cut in 4 slices. This year the healthiest plant with the prettiest foliage, most continuously producing, nicest overall taste and best looks goes to Cherokee purple. It is an heirloom so I can save seed and probably will. It is that good.
If you want to save your own seed go to my latest podcast and hear Dan Jason chat about his favourite tomato and why he collects his own seed. PS Dan’s favourite is not the same as mine or yours or anyone else’s. We all need to grow and compare our own varieties. It’s a thing gardeners do.
AND PS Tomatoes will vary from year to year so even the ones I didn’t like may go back on the list for another trial next year. It is up to gardeners everywhere to do their own taste and growing tests because we all have different locations and conditions and after this summer we know we always have different weather.
Other runner’s up for best tomato this year based on colour and interest include Brad’s Atomic Grape for colour and flavour, Ardwina for cooking value, Clare because it is a long-keeper so I will enjoy it on sandwiches in winter, House because it grows in the house (not the greenhouse) and produces edible cherries year round. I also love Pantano romanesco because of its shape and style and because it is also a heavy early producer. It is a beefsteak that is not too big.