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Tomato Research

A few years ago we asked the question "What is something that people love to eat in the summer and would like to know more about?" Our answer was tomatoes!

For the past few years we have held a "Tomato Festival" where several different kinds of tomatoes were grown for participants to taste and to learn about tomato management. In 2008, we planted 50 different varieties of tomatoes. These varieties include everything from common types typically found at the local nurseries to heirlooms which are about 50 years old or older.

Many of these heirlooms have interesting stories about how they got their name such as Mortgage Lifter and Missouri Pink Love Apple. However, we didn't stop with just tomatoes; we also thought what goes good with tomatoes and their products? That was easy, peppers and salsa! So, in 2008 we planted 34 different pepper varieties that included a wide diversity of hotness, colors and shapes. Below we have listed the various tomatoes and peppers that were planted.

Tomatoes Planted in 2008

Jet StarGardeners rate this variety as excellent, especially for its superior, very pleasant taste. Heavy yields of 8 oz. firm, meaty fruit that is generally free of cracks. Vines offer good foliage cover. Not recommended for canning as Jet Star is low in acid. Indeterminate. 72 days.
Celebrity HybridA 1984 ALL-AMERICA SELECTIONS WINNER. Absolutely incredible set of exceptionally flavorful, firm 8 to 12 oz. fruit on strong vines with good cover and outstanding disease resistance. Large clusters of consistently large, beautiful tomatoes. Determinate. 70 days.
Florida 91Extra large, 10 oz. smooth round tomatoes ripen to a uniform red and are produced as an incredible set of solid, flavorful fruit. Strong, healthy vines have heat-set capabilities and resistance to diseases including alternaria and gray leaf spot. A favorite with chefs and gardeners alike for its versatility and great tomato flavor. Determinate. 72 days.
Goliath HybridLarge crops of big, brilliant red smooth tomatoes with delicious flavor make this one standout in anyone's garden. Plants are quite vigorous with loads of disease resistance, and grow successfully almost everywhere. Juicy, sweet tomatoes weigh in at 10 to 16 ounces, have a great, well balanced taste and a nice meaty interior with few seeds.. Indeterminate. 70 days.
Mountain Spring HybridBeautiful tomatoes are 8 to 10 ounces, bright red throughout, and resistant to cracking and blossom-end rot. Texture is firm, but softens upon ripening and the flavor is mild and pleasant. Very productive. Determinate. 72 days.
BrandywineAn Amish heirloom that dates back to 1885 and is generally considered to be the world's best-flavored tomato. Plants look like potato vines with good yields of extra-large (weighing up to 1-1/2 lbs.), firm, clear-skinned, light rosy-pink fruits. Indeterminate, 90 to 100 days.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds BeefsteakA popular old standard variety, deep red and very large, fine flavor, rich old time tomato taste. Indeterminate, 90 days.
DeliciousAn excellent slicer, with most fruits over 1 pound - many 2 to 3 pounds - and still holds the world record of 7+ pounds for a single fruit! Produces smooth and solid fruits that seldom crack, with small cavities, nearly solid meat, and excellent flavor. Developed from Beefsteak after 13 years of careful selection. Indeterminate, 77 days.
German GiantThis family heirloom variety produces an abundance of deep pink tomatoes that are just huge and brimming with luscious flavor. The plant's potato-leaved foliage may remind you of Brandywine, but this one matures fruit that are earlier, larger, and more plentiful than those of Brandywine. German Giant tomatoes are smooth in shape, 2 lbs. or more, and full of that rich but sweet taste that makes a tomato scrumptious. Indeterminate. 77 days.
Mountain Fresh PlusThis is one of the most sought after Mountains, as it features better flavor and larger fruits than either Mountain Pride or Mountain Spring. Much of its fruit grades "Jumbo," exceeding 3-1/2" across. Determinate, 79 days.
Steak SandwichVigorous, large, meaty compact plants load up with dozens of 10 oz. fruit, indeterminate, 70 days.
Roma VFOne of the most popular varieties for paste, sauces and canning. Compact vines yield large harvests of 3 inch long, bright red fruit that may be pear-shaped or plum-shaped. Thick walled and solid with few seeds; slightly later than Roma with heavier foliage. Determinate. 78 days.
Amish PasteDates back to the turn of the century, and is the best for sauces and canning. Its deep red fruits are large for canning types (about 8 oz.), with "real tomato" flavor. Not overly acidic. Indeterminate, 74 days.
Health Kick HybridThe perfect saladette variety - healthy, fine-flavored, with better wilt resistance and fruits of the brightest red imaginable, thanks to the antioxidant lycopene. Juicy, plum-shaped fruits weigh about 4 oz. and are strongly disease resistant, particularly to Spotted Wilt. Sets loads of fruit under average growing conditions. Plants grow to about 4 ft. tall if staked. Determinate, 72 days.
Tangerine MamaThis yellow paste tomato keeps its hue when cooked. 3-4 oz. fruit, indeterminate, 68 days.
Big MamaEnormous, meaty paste tomatoes are up to 5 inches long and 3 inches across. 6 oz fruit, indeterminate, 80 days.
Speckled RomanOrange-red, 5" long fruits are a speckled paste-type, marked by irregular yellow stripes. Meaty fruits have hearty, "real tomato" flavor and almost no seeds. Indeterminate, 85 days.
Margherita VF HybridThis tomato was named after Pizza Margherita, the classic summertime pie topped with mozzarella, tomato and fresh basil. The good news is these elongated 5 to 6 oz. paste tomatoes are also great for many other dishes. Roasting brings out their best flavor, and deep red color and thin skin make them perfect for tossing into pasta or sandwiches. Vigorous plants yield large harvests. Determinate. 72 days.
Golden MamaMild and sweet yellow paste tomatoes are 4-5 oz. each on compact, indeterminate vines.
Pink Girl HybridLarge, juicy, 8 oz. pink tomatoes with mild flavor and good crack resistance. Smooth fruit have a very pleasant taste with just the right amount of sweetness. Expect harvests to continue the entire summer. Indeterminate. 76 days.
KosovoHuge, deep pink heart-shaped fruit has a sweet rich flavor and is very meaty while still being juicy. Production is excellent and the tomatoes are simply beautiful, but it is the delectable and intense tomato flavor that really makes this one special. Tomatoes can grow up to 1 pound, with ranges from 10 to 18 ozs. Indeterminate. 75-80 days.
Razzle DazzleSilky smooth texture and balanced flavor in these deep raspberry fruits weighing up to 12 oz. Indeterminate, 75 days.
Cuore de ToroThis Italian heirloom, a huge, pink Oxheart type, weighs in at a gigantic 2 lbs. or more! Abundant, 4" fruits on vigorous plants are a colorful pinkish-red with a wonderful sweet flavor. Indeterminate, 89 days.
Giant Pink BelgiumDeveloped in Ohio, this variety is distinctive for its fruit that averages 2 lbs., but has been known to grow to an enormous 5 lbs. Tomatoes are dark pink and solid meat with smooth blossom ends and a delicious sweet flavor. Some folks make wine from these very sweet tomatoes. Indeterminate. 90 days.
MexicoVery large plants have an excellent set of huge, dark pink fruits with outstanding taste. Steady, continuous production of tomatoes that weigh more than 1 lb. throughout the growing season. This family heirloom was brought into the U.S. by a Mexican family living in the Midwest. Indeterminate. 80 days.
Sunny GoliathLarge, 7 to 8 oz. fruits can be harvested when they first turn yellow, or left on the vine until they reach a brilliant shade of gold. Vigorous plants continue setting fruits from the bottom up. Indeterminate, 70 days.
Carolina GoldResistant to gray wall, a common problem with many varieties. Extra-large fruits, with yellow-gold, deep oblate fruits. Vigorous, medium-tall plants should be staked. Determinate, 71 days.
Amana OrangeThis heirloom variety takes its name from Amana, Iowa, and features large, up to 5" in diameter, beefsteak-type, mild fruits of a distinctive orange color. Indeterminate, 90 days.
Caro RichLarge, beefsteak-type, 10 to 12 oz fruits get their deep golden-orange color from their high vitamin content, particularly that of beta-carotene (10 times as much as most tomatoes). Very low in acid for nice, sweet flavor. Heavy production of 3-1/2", nearly globe-shaped, smooth fruits. Determinate, 80 days.
Dr. Wyche's YellowGolden-yellow fruit is beautiful, unblemished and smooth, and varies from 10 ozs. to 1 lb. The shape is that of a typical beefsteak with very meaty interiors. Huge, vigorous plants produce well, but it is the rich, excellent flavor and large fruit size that really set this one apart. Indeterminate. 80 days.
Kellog's BreakfastLovely, pale-orange fruits are solid and meaty throughout, packed with mild, superb-tasting flesh. A long-season producer of large, beefsteak-type fruits, up to 16 oz., with solid centers that have just a few seeds at the edges. Indeterminate, 80-85 days.
Oaxacan JewelBeautiful bicolor fruit is golden yellow with ruby-colored streaking, earning this variety its name. Fruit size is somewhat variable from 6 ozs. up to 1 pound, beautiful when sliced open to reveal the brilliant red marbling within. Rich, fruity taste is refreshing and almost melon-like but also nicely accentuated with acid. Indeterminate. 80 days.
Big RainbowHeirloom. Bicolored beefsteak tomato with unique coloring weighs 2 lbs. and more. Ripe fruit has light yellow shoulders atop a golden-orange tomato with ruby red radiating from the blossom end. Some red streaks appear through the meaty flesh. A beautiful variety that also has good, sweet flavor. Indeterminate. 90-100 days.
HillbillyHuge bicolored tomato is yellow-orange with red streaking. Fruits have sweet and fruity flavor and usually weigh from 1 to 2 lbs. Heirloom variety from West Virginia. Indeterminate. 85 days.
PineappleThis heirloom tomato is a stand-out in everyone's garden. Bicolored red and yellow fruit grows very large, up to 2 lbs., and is streaked with red both inside and out. The flavor is wonderful, rich, fruity and sweet. Indeterminate. 85 days.
CopiaThese very beautiful tomatoes are a stunning combination of fine-lined golden yellow and red stripes. Their gold flesh is streaked with red and is very juicy, flavorful, and sweet. A stabilized cross between Green Zebra and Marvel Stripe, these tomatoes weigh about one pound each, They were named in honor of Copia, the American Center for Food, Wine and the Arts, in Napa California. Indeterminate. 85 days.
EvergreenMild, delicious flavor and medium to large size make these solid beefsteak fruit good for slicing and very enjoyable to eat. Indeterminate. 72 days.
Green GiantTomatoes weigh from 12 to 18 ozs. and are ripe when they turn chartreuse green and soften slightly. They are smooth and beautiful with no cracking, but it is their taste that really sets them apart. It is a complex and delicious combination of sweet and spicy that is very rich, well-balanced and pleasing. Indeterminate. 85 days.
Cherokee PurpleVery productive plants bear loads of 10 to 12 oz. dusky rose/purple fruit with deep brick red interiors. With thin skin and soft flesh, the fruit is somewhat perishable. Heirloom from Tennessee. Indeterminate. 80 days.
CarbonThis is among the darkest of the 'black' tomatoes. Its flavor is exceptionally rich yet sweet. Medium to large, 8 to 12 oz. tomatoes are flattened round and smooth, without the cracking or blemishing. They are dark purplish-brown on the outside with a deep brick-red interior. Indeterminate. 80 days.
Paul RobesonOne of the most highly regarded black tomatoes, this one features medium sized deep maroon fruits that are free of most blemishes and cracking. Their flavor is complex, sweet yet tangy. Russian heirloom. Indeterminate. 75 days.
Cherokee ChocolateA stabilized version of Cherokee Purple, this 10 to 16 oz. mahogany-colored variety has excellent flavor and beautiful large fruit. Very productive plants are vigorous and yield a large harvest of these chocolate-colored tomatoes with the ample size and wonderful flavor associated with Cherokee Purple. Indeterminate. 75 days.
Black Sea ManA hardy Russian heirloom that looks odd but tastes delicious. Rich, tangy tomato flavor in medium-sized, 4 to 8 oz. fruits with brown-black skins and pink shoulders. Fruits are slightly plum-shaped on short, potato leaf plants. Determinate, 75 days.
White QueenThis variety offers nice shape and whitest color of any of the 'white' varieties. Beefsteak-type fruit weigh 8 to 12 oz., and are smooth except for ribbed shoulders. Some fruit have a pink blush or streaks on their blossom ends and all ripen to pale creamy yellow with no cracking. Tomatoes are juicy and sweet with a well-balanced flavor. Heirloom variety. Indeterminate. 85 days.
Great WhiteHeirloom variety. Beautiful, large white beefsteak tomato with sweet flavor and lots of juice. Fruit is larger than that of White Beauty. Vigorous plants have heavy foliage that provides good protection against sunscald on the fruit. Indeterminate. 85 days.
Italian IceClusters of 1-1 inch fruits ripen from green to ivory with sweet and mild flavor. Indeterminate, 65 days.
Chocolate CherryExtremely flavorful, uniform, round fruits in trusses of 8, measure 1" in diameter. Fruits hold stems very well, don't crack and can be picked several days before completely mature and allowed to ripen off the vine without sacrificing quality. Indeterminate, 70 days.
Sun Sugar HybridFruits are a lovely golden yellow, weigh 1/2 oz., and possess thin skins - remarkable, considering its wonderful crack resistance, even in heavy rains. Heavy early cropper. Very vigorous - can be grown outdoors or indoors in an unheated greenhouse in cold climates. Indeterminate, 62 days.
Super Sweet 100Staked hybrid plants produce long strands of 100 or more super-sweet cherry tomatoes, weighing about 1 oz. each and measuring 1" in diameter. Extra-high in Vitamin C. Plants bear fruits throughout the season. Requires staking or caging.
Sun GoldPlant produces heavy yields of golden cherry tomatoes. One of the sweetest tasting cherry tomatoes on the market! Excellent for greenhouse. Suitable for home gardens and market growers. A variety from England. Indeterminate, 62 days.
Tomato descriptions from and

Peppers Planted in 2007

The Big EarlyWhen mature, these 3 to 4 lobed bell peppers are a huge 8 in. long by 4 1/2 in. wide with thick walls and crisp, sweet flavor. These are ready to harvest early as green fruit or allow to ripen to bright red for even extra sweetness. 70 days.
Bianca HybridIvory bell pepper with 3 to 4 lobes and blocky shape. It retains its creamy white color for an extended period before turning peach then orange, and finally light red. 70 days.
Early SunsationVery fine, extra- large, 4-1/2", smooth fruits mature from green to bright golden-yellow, when they are at their sweetest. Excellent resistance to Bacterial Spot. 69 days.
Hershey HybridLarge, four-lobed, blocky bell pepper with thick walls. Fruit starts out green on vigorous plants, and when fully chocolate-colored, peppers are very sweet. 70 days to green.
Peto WonderVery large, thick-walled European type bell pepper. Elongated shape is 6-1/2 inches long and 4-1/2 inches wide at the shoulder. Dark green peppers are sweet and turn deep red at full maturity. 75 days.
Flavor BurstThese fruits measure about 4 inches long and nearly as wide, with 4 thick lobes and glossy skin that turns from lime-green to deep gold. Flavor is fully developed even when green-pepper flavor overlaid with citrus notes. 70-75 days.
Ivory HybridExtremely high yields of medium sized, blocky peppers with a rich, creamy ivory-white color. Resistant to Tobacco Mosaic Virus. 68 days.
Lilac HybridNot purple, but actually an unbelievably rich lilac-lavender shade that transforms while ripening! Fruits, 3 to 4-lobed, mature from ivory to lavender to red. Plants are Tobacco Mosaic Virus resistant.
Lafayette HybridBlocky, 4-lobed fruit turns bright yellow, with sweet, crisp flesh, on compact plants that are resistant to 3 races of bacterial leaf spot. Truly impressive and excellent yields. 72 days.
GypsyWedge-shaped fruit is 3 to 5 inches long, pale yellow at first, maturing to orange-red; very sweet when ripe. Plants have continuous pendant fruiting habit and perform well in both hot and cool regions. 60 days.
Mini Belle Mix1-1/4" fruit, on 24" plants. Prolific yields of small fruit with sweet, firm flesh that is surprisingly thick and flavorful. All peppers start out green, and mature to a range of yellows and reds. 60 days.
Sweet BananaProfuse harvests of 5-1/2 to 6 inch long, tapered peppers that are wonderful fried or cut up into salads. Light green at first, they turn yellow and orange, and finally ripen to red. Compact plants. 72 days.
Sweet Havana HybridAn improved Cubanelle that matures earlier, is more abundant, and has a sweeter taste than open-pollinated types. Fruit is either 3 or 4-lobed, about 5 inches long, and thicker-walled than older varieties. 63 days.
Tequila SunriseUnusual, carrot-shaped fruits ripen from green to golden-orange, with crunchy flesh and a flavor that's both sweet and sharp. Peppers average 4 to 5" long, and about 1 inch across at the shoulder. Plants grow to about 15" tall and are very prolific, displaying orange fruits in brilliant contrast against green foliage. 70-80 days.
Corno di Toro YellowHeirloom "Horn of the Bull" pepper imported from Italy. Fruits are 8 to 10" long, curved much like its namesake. Ripens to bright yellow at maturity, with superb taste and size. Tall plants are very vigorous. 72 days.
Bounty HybridThis hybrid version of a sweet banana type puts out an incredible harvest of huge banana peppers that measure nearly a foot long. Peppers are typically 9 to 10 inches long and 2 inches across, and turn from light yellow to orange and finally red. Sweet flavor for eating fresh or cooked. 65 days.
YummyLarge, sturdy plants continuously set loads of petite, 2 1/2 inch by 1 1/4 inch fruits that change from light green to orange at maturity. These peppers are perfect for munching, grilling, stuffing,etc. 73 days.
Aji Dulce #2Look just like a Red Habanero, but has little or no heat. This variety is popular in Latin American countries, because the pretty 2 in. long red peppers offer the same strong aromatic essence and flavor that is found in Habanero, with only a hint of heat. Tall plants produce an abundant harvest of tasty fruits. 85 to 90 days.
Ancho San LuisHigh quality, uniform heart -shaped peppers are dark green, maturing to red, then mahogany. Mildly pungent peppers, 1,500 to 4,500 Scoville units, are 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. They are used fresh, but are also excellent for drying because the fruit is so uniform in size and shape. 76 to 80 days.
Ancho San MartinLarge size, early maturity, and great production are what make this ancho pepper distinctive. Thick-fleshed peppers mature to 5-1/2 inches long and 3-1/2 inches wide, making them perfect for stuffing into chiles rellenos, as well as useful for roasting or drying. 75 days.
Jalapeno GiganteThe largest jalapeno pepper available, perfect for stuffing. Medium heat, 75 days.
SenoritaA very mild version of Jalapeno pepper with 400 Scoville units. Regular Jalapeno has 5,000 Scoville units. Also larger than Jalapeno - this one has peppers about 3 inches long. Very useful for cooking Mexican cuisine when less heat is desired. 60 days.
Serrano del SolVery impressive new version of open-pollinated Serrano pepper, this one boasts fruit that is twice the size and two to three weeks earlier than the original. Peppers are fleshy and meaty with the unique Serrano flavor so popular in Mexican cuisine. Measuring about 5,000 Scoville units, they are about the same pungency as a jalapeno, and are quite versatile for sauces, salsas, or flavoring. Fruit is about 3-inches long and 1/2 inches wide and green, maturing to a bright red. 64 to 67 days
RocotilloProfusions of brilliant red small peppers, 1 in. long and 1 1/2 in. wide, have a shape like patty-pan squash. They offer wonderful fruity taste but only mild to medium heat despite being related to the fiery habanero. Peppers may be harvested green or left to ripen fully red. 80 to 85 days.
TabascoFiery hot, this is the one that has made Tabasco sauce famous. Green leaf strain that grows best in the South and East. Light yellow-green peppers turn to red and grow on tall plants. 80 days.
PoinsettiaReminiscent of its namesake, the crown of this plant bears clusters of brilliant red peppers arranged in a circle like the petals of a poinsettia. Thin, 3-inch long peppers point upwards atop dark green foliage, making for a very pretty plant. The fruit is edible, although very hot. Striking ornamental that would also be well suited to containers. 90 days.
Pasilla BajioWhen fresh, this pepper is called 'chilaca;' it is also known as 'chile negro.' 8 to 10 inch long cylindrical peppers are thin walled, and dark green ripening to dark brown. They have less than 250 Scoville units and are mainly used dried for their rich, smoky flavoring in sauces. Plants are tobacco mosaic virus resistant. 75-80 days.
Super Cayenne 2The original Super Cayenne was an ALL-AMERICA SELECTIONS WINNER. This improved version has longer, larger fruit (5 to 6 inches long), taller, more vigorous plants, and added disease resistance. Peppers still have great flavor and 50,000 to 60,000 Scoville units. 70 days.
White HabaneroThese creamy white peppers are smaller than the typical habanero, only about 1 1/2 inches long and 1/2 inch across, but with the same habanero heat and distinctive fruity flavor. Expect abundant harvests of these very hot peppers. 90 days.
Super ChiliThe first hybrid chili pepper bred for increased yields and ornamental appeal. 2-1/2 inch cone shaped peppers have a thin, hot flesh that changes from green to orange to red. Borne upright on the semi-compact plant. Use fresh or dried in peppery ethnic dishes. 75 days.
Red PeterThis ornery old heirloom, grown as much to shock the prudish as for its culinary value. Pods are 4 to 6" long, blunt-ended, and mature to a deep red - excellent for chili powder. Dense plants, 20 to 30" tall. 90 days.
Pretty PurpleDark purple fruit and violet-colored flowers are what make this plant so special. Purple peppers almost cover the foliage, turning the 2-1/2 foot tall plants nearly purple. Upon maturity, the peppers turn red and are extremely hot. At this stage, purple, orange, and red fruit may be on plants at the same time, making a very colorful and attractive display.
FishVery unusual and ornamental pepper plant is variegated both on the foliage and the peppers themselves. Both leaves and fruit are striped with creamy white and green, with the peppers eventually turning orange-red. Very hot fruit, 1 to 2 in. long, was used to season fish and shellfish in the African-American communities around Baltimore and Philadelphia back in the 1930's and 1940's. Plants are attractive enough just to be used as ornamentals, but peppers are prized for use in cooking. 75 days.
Santa Fe GrandeThese small, light yellow peppers are about 3 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide, tapering to a point and resembling a miniature banana pepper. They are not sweet, however, but about as hot as a Jalapeno, measuring 5,000 to 8,000 Scoville units. They can be enjoyed fresh, but are also perfect for pickling. Their small size and medium-thick walls make them ideal for putting up into jars for use in salads, sandwiches, or salsas. Eventually, this pepper ripens to orange-red. 75 days.
Pepper descriptions from and