Tomato taste test: What varieties have done best for you this summer?

Douglas Hunt
by Douglas Hunt
OK all you Hometalkers who are now savoring your caprese salads and your BLTs and your long-simmering sauces, what tomatoes have you grown this year that have done the best for you? Which have had the best flavor? Which have been the best producers? (And which weren't worth the trouble?) Share your stories so the rest of us will know what to plant next season.
q tomato taste test what varieties have done best for you this summer, gardening
  30 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 16, 2013
    I wish we could grow tomatoes...our growing season is just too short and cold at night. I'm stuck with flavorless store bought most of the time. We do get to the farmers market now and then so I at least get to taste a "real" tomato now and then.

    • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 16, 2013
      @KMS Woodworks We can't get a decent one in Florida in the summer for just the opposite reason: too hot.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) 360 Sod (Donna Dixson) on Aug 16, 2013
    It hasn't been a stellar year here for tomatoes. We have had too much rain and too cool. A lot of blossom end rot and busted tomatoes.

  • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Aug 17, 2013
    My Purple Cherokees and Romas are going great guns. The Romas came in first. It took awhile for the Purple Cherokees to take off with all the rain, but now their doing wonderfully. I'm steadily freezing up the surplus. @Douglas Hunt you could "cheat" with some shade cloth over your tomatoes, like our friends in Texas do.

  • We've had a banner year with our tomatoes! Our Cherokee purples and lemon boys have been outstanding along with dependable Better Boys and Celebrities. Production has slowed down in August, but I will have to say that I've eaten tomatoes in some form or fashion every day this summer.

  • April E April E on Aug 18, 2013
    the only tomato producing great for me is amish paste but we have had so much rain I am happy to have ANY tomatoes. but that's what I get for not doing any tomatos in pots usually I do 3 or 4 in pots so I can move them around depending on the weather but nope not this year silly me. lucly amish paste is tasty and does well in canning recipes

  • April E April E on Aug 18, 2013
    @KMS Woodworks have you ever thought of extending your season by starting your tomatoes inside under lights you can get inexpensive fluorescent or slightly more expensive leds and start your tomatoes ide 2-3 months before you could plant them outside and put them outside just when they are starting to produce and have decent tomatoes n july and august

    • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Aug 18, 2013
      @April E I even had a green house for a number of years and would plant gallon sized tomatoes that even had fruit on them once out side fruit production pretty much stopped. With night time temps in the 40's until mid to late July, we pretty much gave up. When we relocate to our New Mexico ranch I will build a passive solar green house with some decent thermal storage...then we will be rocking in the tomato dept.

  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Aug 18, 2013
    @Old World Garden Farms, @Cherry's in the Garden and More, @Phil Bauman, @Jim G , @Shelley @ Sow and Dipity You're all tomato growers, what say you?

    • See 4 previous
    • Jim Ginas Jim Ginas on Aug 20, 2013
      @Phil Bauman ah yes! Ok, I learned that this year! (Really have to send Miriam a note and tell her how helpful this Hometalk has been for me!) I even learned that if a sucker gets too big and when you remove it, you can start a new plant and I have ONE that I experimented with and it works! Thank you Phil.

  • Debbie Polson Debbie Polson on Aug 18, 2013
    My go to in the intermountain area of western Colorado is Early Girls. Usually VERY reliable.

  • Donna Steward Donna Steward on Aug 18, 2013
    Anyone in the midwest (Illinois) area with good a good tomato crop & which ones are producing the best & most?

    • Pam Kaiser Pam Kaiser on Aug 19, 2013
      @Donna , I am from Central Ill. This year I tried a new tomato called "Heinz Paste" I use an Amish paste often for canning sauces. The Heinz is producing well.So heavy with fruit, next year I plan to stake differently. The tomatoes I planted for just eating are not doing well. Because of so much rain, they all split before ripening. Still, it is a better year than last!!!

  • Donna J Donna J on Aug 18, 2013
    Douglas, this year I have had nothing but disappointments with my vegetable garden. We have had too much rain this season. I got lots of cucumbers but not much of anything else. However, the rain has done wonders for my zinnia plants. They are blooming profusely. New plants have popped up in areas where they were planted last year. So there are lots of different varieties everywhere. I have stopped cutting off the spent flowers after noticing the yellow birds feeding on them. They seem to love the seeds. I enjoy nature as it comes so I won't complain about not getting tomatoes. Enjoy yours. They look wonderful.

  • Marilyn Highley Marilyn Highley on Aug 18, 2013
    Following the driest year ever, we've had one of the wettest ever in Oklahoma. My tomatoes were in pots and just sitting, barely growing and certainly not working hard at producing. After harvesting ONE tomato, and seeing no green ones, I pulled mine up. I'm hopeful for new, raised planting beds and a big harvest next year. :-)

  • Biggest producer is the San Marzano tomatoe which I use for making sauce and "sun dried" tomatoes. For eating, we like Early Girl - it's a good round tomatoe, perfect for slicing. And Sweet Millions is my favourite cherry tomatoe.

  • Janice Klein Ungar Janice Klein Ungar on Aug 18, 2013
    Nothing was outstanding this year. Not sure if it is due to an increase in rain or what.

  • Genna Scartaccini Genna Scartaccini on Aug 18, 2013
    many blooms here, but seems only the minis are producing here - both yellow and red.

  • Frankie Laney Frankie Laney on Aug 18, 2013
    This year it was Early Girl and the 4 yr. old cherry tomato that never dies out...what's up with this plant??

  • Jimmy S Jimmy S on Aug 18, 2013
    Jubilee did the best for me. Although, they have gotten smaller and smaller since the first batch.

  • Linda Linda on Aug 18, 2013
    Very disappointed with the past two years. My tomatoes haven't done very well. This year I have Beefeaters and I already had to throw three plants out because it rained too much this spring and killed them. So far I have had to throw a few of the tomatoes on the leftover plants but the others seem okay. I might have to move my garden somewhere else in the yard and see how they do next year.

  • Ken Ken on Aug 18, 2013
    The " Parks Improved Whopper" is a great variety and the"Better Boy" is another. I just found last year an old heirloom tomato called "Cherokee Purple" a great tomato for taste , but is not the pretty smooth tomato people like. It is very dark in color, almost blck and when you cut it , it is dark flesh inside. Oh, but the taste is divine. Not much acid, and a delicious tomato..

    • Catherine Smith Catherine Smith on Aug 19, 2013
      @Ken You've been "conditioned" as a consumer to expect your tomatoes to be all smooth and pretty. Hybrids were developed to allow for ease of shipping across country and needed to be of a consistent size and shape, plus they needed to be more disease resistant, hence the occasional store bought tomato will have tough skin and taste like cardboard. The fact that heirlooms are less disease resistant is certainly true, however, there is no comparison in the taste. If the Purple Cherokee is to odd looking for your taste, try some of the other heirloom varieties. I suggest German Johnson, Striped Zebra, or Brandywine and the list goes on. Growing heirloom tomatoes is always fun, simply because of the huge variety to chose from and the incredible taste you can't buy at the store.

  • April E April E on Aug 18, 2013
    lol well I hope you get to move soon and best of luck new mexico is beautiful. if you ever try to do pot production on tomatoes again you would do better with a 3-5 gallon pot I do potted tomatoes in 16 inch pots for early production and they get huge may work for you but then where you are it may not at least you are moving where you can have fun w/ some vegies

  • Karen P Karen P on Aug 18, 2013
    It's a mixed bag for me here in San Rafael. I have twenty or so plants....the pink cherokee very very good and prolific, the sweet 100 (cherry tomatoes) also very prolific and both are delicious in their own way. Green Zebra, disappointing. Just doesn't set fruit . One plant 4 tomatoes!! Pork Chop....amazing, dense tissue lovely taste, cherry tomato (cabernet) doing well, Fantastic is fantastic....My biggest issue are the rats/raccoons/voles or other vermin that are snagging my tomatoes before I can pick them!! I have three plants that I only transplanted in July and they have yet to set fruit, but are looking really nice. Will have tomatoes well into October I hope.

  • Ruth LaMarr Ruth LaMarr on Aug 18, 2013
    I've had a wonderful crop of tomatoes this year. My grandson and I had planted a cherry tomato and an early girl in pots. Next year I want to plant purple Cherokee. Someone brought some to a reunion and they were so meaty and delicious. It reminded me of the heirloom tomatoes my grandparents grew. I have to grow in pots because I have no open ground space that receives sufficient sun for a full garden and my dad won't let me put a vegetable garden in the front yard. LOL! We plan to try growing bush cucumbers in a pot to with a couple of Early Mammoth Russian Sunflowers as the trellis next year. As well as a pot of the tomatoes.

  • Our Cherry Tomato plant has been producing tons of amazing tomatoes. And The "Mr. Stripey" heirlooms have started to ripen over this past week and are also huge and delicious. Made an awesome bruschetta with them last night! And the caprese salads are great! ~Ben N.

  • Carol Cross Carol Cross on Aug 19, 2013
    Early girl tomatoes are my favorite. Always dependable and never split from too much rain. I try different tomatoes every year but I always have early girl too.

  • Merri Jo Merri Jo on Aug 19, 2013
    I have had a bumper crop this year~~Celebrity, Early Girl, Sweet 100 & SunSweet have all been very prolific, disease free, and delicious. The Sun Sweet is a dark yellow cherry that is so sweet, my grandson calls them candy tomatoes!

  • Kathleen Kathleen on Aug 20, 2013
    I planted a San Marzano and it did horribly! Blossom end rot on the tiny developing fruits, so will not be using this type again. And yes, I fed it Epsom salts and egg shells, to no avail. I have two grape tomato plants which reseeded themselves, so will be getting some of those soon:)

  • Ken Ken on Aug 20, 2013
    have you tried the grape tomato? It is small like the sweet 100, but hangs in bunches and has a slight oval shape like a bunch of grapes. Tastes great.

  • Patty A Patty A on Aug 21, 2013
    Better Boy doing well in my very ugly reused litter containers. I ran out of pots so drilled holes in the bottom...nice and deep.

  • Carol Wallingford Carol Wallingford on Nov 11, 2013
    My best producers were Heinz 57 and Heinz 9