A selection of the 47 fantastically diverse varieties of tomatoes  I grew for the first 'Totally Terrific Tomato Festival' in 2012 - a feast for the eyes.
 A selection of some the 47 amazingly diverse varieties of tomatoes I grew for Ireland's first 
ever 'Totally Terrific Tomato Festival' in 2012. A real feast for the eyes - and the taste buds!
 
This is my personal take on just some of the varieties I've grown over 39 years of tomato growing!
 
Every year I try one or two new varieties that sound promising -  and compare them to my tried and trusted ones that I've grown for many years. Sometimes I'm delighted to discover a new gem - but mostly the new F1 varieties tend to be promoted by the seed companies who own the plant-breeders patents now and very often have little taste or anything else to recommend them! Particularly as many were bred for a totally different climate - something people often forget. Rosada was the brilliant exception to that - but sadly it has now been dropped by all the major seed companies in favour of those bred by themselves, as they didn't own the patent!  Many of the open-pollinated Heritage varieties do have a lot more flavour - but not all - and many are far more suited for continental climates like eastern Europe or the USA , where there are much hotter, drier summers and far higher light levels. Many of those I've tried stretch towards the light as if desperate for it poor things! Climate can affect every aspect of tomatoes and our growing conditions in Ireland are very different to much of the UK and USA. Our climate is wetter, colder and we often have much poorer levels of light - something that can affect tomatoes more than many other crops. As we're quite close to the coast here - only about 4 miles as the crow flies but also 400 feet above sea level - we often get low cloud/sea mist hanging around for much of the day which only clears for 3 or 4 hours at midday and then descends again around 3pm! Growing conditions here can be quite challenging to say the least! Any tomato that grows well and healthily here deserves a space in any greenhouse or polytunnel believe me. 
 
Taste is a very subjective thing - but I reckon our taste buds are pretty unspoiled here having eaten mostly nothing but organic food for nearly almost 39 years! Varieties are mostly on my list because they have fantastic flavour. Some only develop their best flavour when cooked - others are better eaten raw.  One or two are on the list purely because they look stunning to be honest - the artist in me can't resist them!  How food looks is important to me too!  All of them are worth preserving though - because at some time in the future some desirable aspect of their genes may possibly be need in new tomato breeding - if some as yet unknown challenge arises.  I founded the 'Totally Terrific Tomato Festival' in the hope that it would raise public awareness of the importance of preserving genetic diversity. I hope that someone else will pick up the baton and carry it on now. (Since an accident two years ago, I have less energy to do as much as I used to - and I still try to grow most of our food here). It's vitally important that we preserve our heritage seed varieties - just as those who went before us did over so many centuries. That is their gift to us. It's our priceless inheritance from the gardeners and food growers of the past - and owe owe them a huge debt of gratitude. We are the current custodians of that genetic diversity. It is vital to care for it and preserve it for the sake of future generations .
 
I've been asked so many times over the years which is my all time favourite variety. It's an impossible question for me, trying to narrow it down to just one - they all have their different uses. That's like asking me which is my favourite child!.... I suppose if I were to be allowed one of each type - then it would be a little less difficult - but not much! If I could have only one of each type - then it would have to be Maskotka - bush, Rosada - cherry, John Baer - classic medium, Amish paste - cooking plum, and Pantano Romanesco (beefsteak). There - I can't narrow it down any more than that I'm afraid!
 
Bush varieties
 
I think all bush varieties are much better grown in large containers raised up off the ground, as they tend to sprawl a little and can rot on the ground or get eaten by slugs if grown in greenhouse soil beds. A 10 litre container is fine size-wise. I use recycled coleslaw/mayo buckets from local supermarket deli (they just chuck them out for recycling and I sit those on grow bag trays as these retain any water or feed that drains through). Growing as a bush is actually the natural habit of tomatoes - we've just selected the varieties which are more amenable to growing as a cordon/upright fashion, purely for our convenience. Some refused to be trained however - and I rather admire them for that!  Many are often the better flavoured ones too. Containers also restrict them a bit if they are a bit over-enthusiastic, thereby encouraging slightly earlier fruiting! I put the containers on the grow bag trays on upturned plant crates, barrels, benches, or something similar - where they can drape down decoratively and are easy to pick without too much bending!
 

Tomato 'Maskotka'Tomato 'Maskotka'

Maskotka  - My no.1 bush! (This little treasure is available from Mr. Fothergill's and other companies now) Medium to large cherry sized fruit. Everyone loves the 'more-ish' almost 'tomato sauce' flavour of this one without fail - It's one of the varieties that LMFM presenter Gerry Kelly was 'swooning about' (to quote one listener) when I did a radio interview with him the week before the 'Totally Terrific Tomato Festival' in 2012. I've grown this variety for many years now and I absolutely adore it! A middle-sized, incredibly productive, disease resistant bush - it's always without fail my very earliest variety - and also the last. Always ripe the first week of June from a late Feb/early March sowing - and I picked the last few on 6th December, 2014! This year I picked the last ones on 22nd November as we were experiencing hard frosts and they were starting to split. It just doesn't know when to stop - if you keep picking and feeding it occasionally, it just keeps on flowering and setting fruit!  It's only very slight fault is that if you let it get too over ripe, or water just a bit too much when the skins have 'set' and are ripening fast, it may split. I take that as a fault of the grower though - not the tomato!  I'd forgive it anything!  If it does split - just throw those straight into the freezer without delay - as it tastes even better when cooked - brilliant in a roast ratatouille - although it bursts and doesn't hold together like Chiquito! It's the easiest tomato of all to grow - no need to remove side shoots as it's a bush. You could even grow this one in a window box, or under a large cold frame if you haven't got a greenhouse as it's quite low and spreading rather than tall, and it's far better than any of the other varieties recommended for doing that (most of which are pretty tasteless and have very tough skins). Last year I grew one in a recycled plastic mushroom box on the top tread of my LMFM/Late Lunch Show/'Tips from the Tunnel' stepladder garden, where it fruited all summer long. I promise you - anyone can grow it. I wouldn't be without it!!

Chiquito
Chiquito

Chiquito F1 - (Simpsons seeds) A smallish, plum shaped cherry type, meaty/firm fleshed, dusky/pinky red. I first grew this one 8 years ago as it was described as having a very good flavour. I quite liked it - it was sweet with quite a good flavour though not that brilliant compared to Rosada which is always my taste yardstick now. Somehow it didn't really have that 'certain something' for me! It also made a very vigorous sprawling bush - not ideal in a greenhouse or tunnel border. Last year, however, I decided to give it another chance and try it in containers instead. Boy- am I glad I did! I grew it in my 10lt containers on grow bag trays again this year, and I can now safely say I've now discovered another gem - not for eating fresh - but for cooking! Looking around one day for something to throw in a roast ratatouille - I grabbed a few handfuls of this, and chucked them in whole half-way through. Cooking utterly transforms them! They stay whole without collapsing - and biting into them is like bursting an incredible flavour bomb! Amazing! I shall be growing more plants next year specifically for cooking - and freezing too, as in my experience those meaty fleshed small tomatoes freeze very well and are very useful in the winter for stuffing peppers etc. I think it could be good dehydrated too - as that concentrates the sugars in tomatoes and enhances the flavour, as long as they aren't too acid (don't do that with Sungold - horrible!). I've already cooked some from frozen in a roast ratatoulille about a month ago - and it was brilliant. I just threw them in whole, frozen about half-way through cooking.

 
 
Latah
Latah
Latah - (Real Seeds) Again very early, fabulous flavour (see Jane Powers article re 2013 TomFest) - but doesn't go on producing quite as long as Maskotka. It makes a larger, more spreading bush and produces a very large crop of all sizes and shapes - and some would definitely win weirdest shaped tomato! Some with a meaty centre like a mini beefsteak - others more like cherries. Disease resistant middle-sized bush - quite 'twiggy' rather than very leafy. The very first time I grew it, it was so almost 'leafless' that I thought at first it must have something wrong with it! Good air circulation as a result though. Doesn't have as long a season as Maskotka, but you could do two sowings - one early & one later on. One thing though is that the odd shaped fruits with lots of crevices can cling on to moisture a bit which can sometimes set up disease in damp years.
 
 
Incas
Incas
Incas F1 (Organic Gardening Catalogue & other companies) A very productive, great flavoured Italian plum type. Although it's a bush it's disease resistant despite being very vigorous. Two years ago I tried it in containers and it was terrific. Easy, good-natured and incredibly productive. Despite being a 'cooking' type also has quite a good flavour raw. This was the other one I found dehydrated brilliantly and the flavour deepened considerably - almost as good as Rosada for doing this.
 
 
Black Sea Man (Plants of Distinction) Beefsteak/bushI won't be growing this one again - it's far too temperamental in our climate! It does have a fabulously distinctive smoky rich flavour to be fair - but to grow it well you probably need to live in the warmer south-east of the UK - not in our cooler, more humid climate - even in a polytunnel!  It's such a prima donna that I won't waste space on it again! (I've found one now that tastes pretty much the same but is far easier - Nyagous below) BSM is a bit like 'Black Krim' but sweeter. Extremely vigorous potato leaved very crowded bush, so air circulation can be a big problem. Gorgeous medium to huge beefsteak fruits that are a reddy/pinky/purpley sort of 'bruise' colour (or as one vegan friend I gave it to complained - it looks just like raw meat!!) so sweet you could almost eat it with sugar and cream, which I don't fancy trying - though oddly there are many sweet Shaker pudding recipes for tomatoes! It's problem is that it gets disease every year even in good weather - just when the first fruits are ripening and it's carrying a hugely promising crop. Not really worth the space or the work in my opinion - so be warned if you're thinking of growing it. This tomato is only worth growing in our climate here in Ireland if you don't mind just having great flavoured tomatoes for just one month at the most - instead of 6!! (I'm greedy!)  And also be warned that rather than speaking from their own experience of actually growing it - I have seen some websites selling this tomato are 'borrowing' their descriptions directly from the catalogues of seed companies who may be in the south east of the UK - where the temperature is always about 10 deg C warmer all summer and a lot sunnier and drier than here. Tomatoes vary hugely in their innate disease resistance and cropping - and you need varieties that are tried and tested to be reliable over several years in our damp climate. I usually try varieties for 3 years before discarding - if they have a good enough flavour. They're dumped after the first year if they don't taste good
 
'Greensleeves'
'Greensleeves'
Greensleeves (Plants of Distinction)  Quite a fruity flavour. Tastes better with some salt or basil oil. Cooks well - makes an unusual 'Tarte Tatin'! Hugely productive, impressive looking, very attractive green/yellow striped, sausage-shaped  fruit on vigorous, disease-resistant, middle-sized bush. Crops for a long time. Something for a rather different salad perhaps - possibly worth growing for that alone. Haven't tried it for dehydrating yet so could improve with that, but may also be too acid. Will grow again for looks alone! Very attractive and unusual.

Green Grape
 (tradeswindsfruitstore.com and Simpson's) very sweet small cherry, unusual and pretty olive greeny/yellow colour. Tasty. Very vigorous bush that can be disease prone if you don't limit the foliage a bit. Very productive otherwise but a bit of a pain as it drops it's fruit very easily once just ripe and the minute you touch the bush they drop off - then you have to search underneath the copious foiage! At least you know that they're ripe then - as that's difficult being green! Better in a bucket - I grew it in the ground 30 years ago from HDRA/Heritage Seed Library seed and it took over half of the tunnel!
 
Purple Ukraine & Banana Cream
Purple Ukraine & Banana Cream
Banana Cream (tradewindsfruitstore) Great shape and instantly attractive though not the best flavour! A bit disease prone here too. Grew it 30 years ago from HDRA Heritage Seed Library seed. My opinions haven't changed - a cream coloured, banana shaped, curiosity for exhibition or to wow your pals - that's all! (Pictured here with Purple Ukraine which I wouldn't bother to grow again- very spindly, obviously needing better light!)
 
 

Cordon (upright) varieties - only bothering to review the very tastiest ones here or I would still be here next Christmas!

 
Cherry and cherry plum varieties
 
 
Rosada
Rosada
Rosada F1 - 5 star flavour! AN ABSOLUTE PARAGON OF A TOMATO, NUMBER ONE WITHOUT QUESTION AND THE VERY BEST CHERRY/PLUM! (I got mine in the past from Simpsons - I'm still including it even though I can no longer find it as I'm hoping that public pressure will bring it back!) Ab. Fab. flavour - and top of everyone's list who knows it or has tasted it here - the very best flavoured. Came top of the 'Which' taste trials some years ago - but no longer sold by the major seed companies for the reasons stated above. Great balance of sweetness and acidity. Very easy to grow and disease free as it has well spaced, airy foliage, held well out from the stem. This is the one I ALWAYS recommend even for beginners. Very long trusses often almost 1m long - (I've had over 70 fruits on a single '3 branched' truss of one growing in a 10 litre bucket!) firm, meaty, small plum-shaped fruits that will last for absolutely ages on the plant so you can really ripen them to maximum sweetness. They will split eventually but only after about 3 weeks of absolute total ripeness and if your watering regime is irregular! (Sungold will split after only 3 days of being ripe!) They also keep for ages once picked, they freeze well and cook beautifully. Cut in half and dipped in hummus they are heavenly - or in fact anyway you like! Slow oven dried and stored in olive oil they are fabulous. 3 years ago I bought a dehydrator mainly for them and they are fantastic semi-dried, frozen and then re-hydrated in basil oil - yummy in festive salads, or 'delish' thrown straight into a roast ratatouille or stuffed sweet peppers! Such a good natured tomato - just as happy growing in buckets or the ground and always eager to please!! Has a tendency to keep on producing side shoots constantly from everywhere - but this is a plus as they easily root in a jar of water and you can pot some up for a later crop - thereby saving money on sowing seed later, and then bring them into the house in late autumn to ripen their fruits. What more can I say? If you only grow one - make sure it's this! You won't be disappointed.
 
 
 
 
Sungold
Sungold
Sungold F1 - (available everywhere)  Ubiquitous and delicious! Everyone knows it now - wonderful flavour, slightly more acid than Rosada - best eaten straight off the plant or straight away when you get it to the kitchen. Doesn't keep on or off the plant very long and splits easily at the first opportunity. I also find it runs out of steam generally at about 6 trusses - long before Rosada, which reliably sets 8+, and needs far more feeding to keep it going. One of my customers of over 30 years got her grandchildren to eat tomatoes with this one and Rosada - now they're always asking her for the 'tomato sweeties'!
 
 
 
Tomato 'Apero' with yacon in foreground.
Tomato 'Apero' with yacon in foreground.
Apero F1 - (Dobies and Simpsons)  A baby cherry plum with exceptional flavour - I think slightly sweeter than Rosada but without that slight acidity it needs to balance it for supreme flavour. It's not quite as productive or disease-resistant as it has a slightly more compact habit. It has a really dense meaty texture though, and this is the only tomato I know which you can freeze, then defrost, and it can still be sliced in half afterwards! Great for tomato 'Tarte Tatin'.
 
 
 
'Ebony and Ivory' - the contrasting colours of tomatoes Indigo Rose & White Queen
'Ebony and Ivory' - the contrasting colours of tomatoes Indigo Rose & White Queen
Indigo Rose -  (Got this from www.tradewindsfruitstore originally but last year Suttons Seeds had it) I couldn't leave this one out of course, as I was the first person to grow this in Ireland and poss. British Isles 4 years ago! The star of the 2012 & 2013 TomatoFests! Really stunning aubergine black - rich ruby red inside when ripe and the skin develops a 'slatey blue' sheen. Sadly looks aren't everything - even if it is absolutely a stunner! Very average supermarket-type flavour but with a very slight odd hint of liquorice - possibly from the anthocyanins.  Also a slightly odd 'rubbery' texture to the fruit. It was bred from the only wild tomato with high levels of cancer fighting anthocyanins in the fruit, so I.R. is higher in these than any other tomato ever bred. Amazingly - since it was bred in the USA - I've found it a very easy to grow, very healthy, vigorous, short-jointed plants that set fruit easily so very productive and it didn't seem at all bothered by the low light levels we experienced in 2012.  It was even better in 2013. Sets 8 trusses easily on plants only 2m high! Some of the Eastern European varieties I grew in 2012 only set 2 or 3 trusses very badly on 3m high plants!! I.R. It looks stunning with beefsteak White Queen in a salad, and deepens the colour of a tomato stew significantly, so celeb chefs would love it. Don't skin it - that's where the goodies are! Just blitz in a blender before adding to tomato sauces. (I do this with all my tomatoes - life is far too short to skin tomatoes anyway and it's totally unnecessary! Doing so loses valuable nutrients.) It's flavour intensifies on dehydrating and definitely improves although it shrinks quite a lot. A definite candidate for tomato 'sweeties'!
 
 
 
Classic Medium (Moneymaker size) type
 
Tomato 'John Baer' - very early, productive & best flavoured medium classic type
Tomato 'John Baer' - very early, productive & best flavoured medium classic type
John Baer - My favourite in this category. non-hybrid (Plants of Distinction)  A brilliant new discovery in 2011 which I will definitely never be without again! Variable medium to very large round classic type that's not quite decided if it wants to be a beefsteak or a medium classic! It produces both. Very early and cropping well on into the autumn, vigorous and disease-resistant both in the ground and in buckets. Such a heavy crop in buckets that I had a job to stop it falling over! (Set 8 trusses even in buckets when well fed with Osmo organic tomato food) seems totally reliable - outstanding performance and superb flavour in our climate! Solid firm middle with no cavity looking more like a beefsteak. Can split if left on the plant too long. Lovely for salads and great cooked as well. A favourite now.


Dr Carolyn Pink - Large lipstick pink cherry type. (another almost-a-beefsteak one)Lovely flavour - Irish Times gardening correspondent Fionnuala Fallon said it just tasted of summer! She wrote about it in her great article in the Irish Times mag. on 25th August 2012. The flavour reminds me very much of the fuzzy skinned Red Peach (which is very rare and far more tricky to grow though. I grew Red Peach for several years in the late 80's early 90's from HDRA/HSL but lost the seed and couldn't find it again until 2 years ago)  Dr. Carolyn sets fruit far better and is a lot more disease resistant.
 
Nyagous
Nyagous
Nyagous - (Plants of Distinction) I grew it for the first time 3 years ago. Large, egg/baseball shaped blackish plum tomato, great flavour. Fairly disease resistant, and very productive even in containers. Definitely my alternative to Black Sea Man now. Another schizophrenic tomato that often produces beefsteak-sized fruits as well as medium sized.
Moonglow
Moonglow cut & uncut, Nyagous & John Baer
Moonglow - (Simpsons) Lovely fruity/sweet flavour - luscious almost apricotty texture. Large (beefsteak) to medium size - varies on same plant. Stunning looking. Vigorous and disease resistant old variety. Incredibly productive. A new favourite! Gorgeous sliced in a mixed variety Caprese salad.
 
 
Beefsteaks

Ananas Noir uncut 856 g - 1 lb 15oz
Ananas Noir uncut 856 g - 1 lb 15oz
Ananas Noir - (Plants of Distinction) Really delicious, strong growing and healthy beefsteak type. Very large fruits - some really huge 350-500g +. Outside an unprepossessing olivey/greeny/yellow colour - inside so utterly beautiful you almost want to frame it! It's like eating a rainbow or an impressionist painting - all the colours of a Monet or Turner sunset! Can split a bit around top of some fruits near calyx when fully ripe, but many of the older, best-tasting beefsteaks tend to do this. Just one of the little foibles that you don't mind in the least once you've tasted them!
 
Neve's Azorean Red with Sungold to show scale!
Neve's Azorean Red with Sungold to show scale!
 Neve's Azorean Red - (Plants of Distinction)  A symphony of exquisite 'lipstick' pinkness! Huge beefsteak type fruits some 500g plus. Can also tend to split around stem end when ripening and must be picked straightaway then or it will quickly rot - but soft, yielding and utterly delicious - particularly with basil and garlic oil in a tomato and mozzarella salad. Well worth the trouble.

 

Pantano Romanesco
Pantano Romanesco

Pantano Romanesco - (I save my own seed but it's available now from Klaus Laitenberger Green Veg. Seeds and T&M's) What more can I say about this wonderful tomato that I haven't already said?  It's the very best flavoured Italian beefsteak in my opinion (certainly for Irish conditions over the last 20 years) and I've grown most of them. Better flavour than any of the the Costulotos or Marmandes and much easier to keep healthy in our climate. Some of those others look very attractive with their convoluted, pleated odd shapes - but that shape attracts and traps damp which can cause disease. Pantano has a smoother skin and better flavour anyway. Michael Viney mentioned in his Irish Times column in August '11 that he had grown it on my recommendation and that it was every bit as good as I had said. He did also say though, that people ought to be warned early on about it's tendency to make side shoots with extreme enthusiasm - to put it mildly! It is very vigorous and can make extensive unnecessary leaf growth, particularly on the ends of flower trusses, so it needs looking at every couple of days and doesn't want too much rich feeding at first. It's one of the varieties I would never want to be without though - and, perfectly ripe, quite possibly the last tomato I would want to eat if I was about to leave this world. It's that good!  Rich tomato flavour - eat it with some chunks of torn, softly yeilding buffalo mozzarella, a drizzle of good EV olive oil, a fresh grind of black pepper, a scattering of shredded basil leaves and crusty ciabatta and you're instantly transported to the Med.! Or for the very best tomato sandwich ever - a guilty treat with rarely home-made white bread which doesn't mask the heavenly flavour - possibly slightly toasted until 'marshmallowy' and with a slick of home made mayo! (OMG I'm salivating at the thought!) An absolute must for beefsteak lovers! 

 

Green Cherokee
Green Cherokee
Green Cherokee - (tradewindsfruitstore) Extremely rare derivative of Cherokee Purple which I've also grown and is almost as tasty (now available Simpsons). Deep emerald green colour inside/yellowy olive green outside. Great flavour. Huge beefsteak fruits 350g+ - very sweet and beautiful colour - makes a fabulous contrast in Caprese salads. (Seems healthier and more vigorous than Tasty Evergreen - which I no longer grow as it isn't nearly as tasty despite the name!) 

(Pictured above with Indigo Rose) White Queen - (Nicky's Nursery seeds) Pleasant, not hugely 'tomatoey' but fruitily sweet and juicy, cream coloured beefsteak. Interesting and makes a beautiful contrast in a mixed tomato salad. Quite healthy and vigorous. RTE gardening expert Dermot O'Neill liked this one a few years ago when he visited my tunnels for RTE Radio's Mooney Show! I grew it first over 25 years ago from HDRA/Heritage Seed Library (now Garden Organic) seed when doing a similar, smaller tomato event.

Amish Paste - the best for tomato sauce
Amish Paste - the best for tomato sauce
 Amish Paste - (Plants of Distinction) Large plum/beefsteak type - strange pasty texture. A fab cooking tomato - tastes of almost nothing when raw but changes vastly when cooked and only a couple of fruits will transform a huge vat of any tomato sauce by some sort of alchemy when cooked! Very productive.

Just in case you're tempted by this one - Sweet Aperitif F1
. - (I was given plants of this - so thought I'd just mention it. I tried it 3 years ago as a couple of people had raved about the flavour) The tiny, cherry sized fruit certainly have an intense sweet/acid flavour. I won't be growing it again though, firstly because I found it didn't fit into a mixed tunnel well. It produces huge fan-shaped trusses of tiny flowers (millefiore) which I found attracted botrytis (grey mould) very easily, even in a year which was warmer and drier than usual. The reason possibly is that in the mixed cropping environment of a normal back garden greenhouse or tunnel the atmosphere is usually a bit more humid - because most of us want to grow things like cucumbers etc as well. I think this is a factor often overlooked by seed companies and plant breeders. If you are growing only tomatoes then you could probably keep the atmosphere a lot drier - so perhaps it might not be so much of a problem. Another fault for me was that the fruits had very tough skins which I hate for eating raw - and it also split easily. I personally won't bother growing it again.

I'm sure there are 100's of other varieties that would grow well in our climate that I haven't tried - out of the many 1,000s there are out there. But my criteria are first and foremost taste - then disease resistance, length of cropping time, earliness and ease of growing for back gardeners. They've got to earn their space! I reckon to get 5-6 months of cropping from most of them. I can't think of any other vegetable/fruit that is quite so generous for so long! Some catalogues give information on the number of days the variety takes to start cropping after planting - go for the shortest time as this indicates earliness to ripen - very important in our normal 'summers'! In a poor summer - the ones with the shortest time from planting to cropping should still do better than most others.
 
Beefsteak tomatoes halved - Giant Belgium, Green Cherokee, John Baer, Persimmon, Ananas, White Queen, Neve's Azorean, Black Sea Insalata Caprese - with (from bottom) John Baer, Green Cherokee, Ananas Noir

Beefsteak tomatoes halved - Giant Belgium,
Green Cherokee, John Baer, Persimmon, Ananas,
White Queen, Neve's Azorean, Black Sea

Insalata Caprese - with (from bottom) John Baer,
Green Cherokee, Ananas Noir
 
Some of the varieties or other heritage ones may be available from Mads McKeever's Brown Envelope Seeds in Cork which is certified organic. A couple of the varieties I recommend may also be available from Klaus Laitenberger's new seed company along with some other interesting varieties of veg. Here's a link - http://greenvegetableseeds.com/shop/
 
My endlessly versatile Totally Terrific Tomato Sauce recipe, that makes the base for literally dozens of different meals, is on the recipe page of the website. Even if you don't have any tomatoes left in the freezer - you can still make this budget friendly recipe with tinned tomatoes and it tastes great! Served with pasta - it makes a cheap, filling and tasty meal for a family of four, for barely a couple of euros! By the way - life is definitely far too short to skin tomatoes! Unless they have a very 'woody' at bit at the stem end (in which case cut out) - then just throw them into a blender - whizz them and add to the sauce as in my recipe - or use them raw, just as they are, with some crushed garlic for a fabulously fresh tasting pasta sauce. Not skinning means you retain all the nutrients which are mostly either in, or just under, the skin, although cooking with oil in the sauce actually releases more of the important tomato phytonutrient lycopene, which has numerous health benefits.
 
Urgent message for all fans of Rosada F1Tomato!
 
I'm repeating this plea! Ask for Rosada please - or we will lose it forever!
 
6th Jan. 2015  I was speaking to Simpsons Seeds today as I was having a slight problem with their website order. During our chat they told me that as from next year - 2016 the scrumptious Rosada F1 cherry/plum tomato will no longer be available! Their supplier >wholesaler>breeder says that not enough of this wonderful little tomato is being sold. That is absolutely tragic! As many of you know, I think that this tomato is without doubt the very best cherry plum ever - and I've been growing tomatoes organically, both in my back garden and then on a larger scale commercially, for nearly 40 years. I've tried literally hundreds of varieties over the years, trying to find better ones each year. There are far too many varieties available at the moment - and very few that I would consider good enough to bother with again! 
 
I don't think that any other tomato comes anywhere near either it's fabulous flavour, massive crop (over 70 tomatoes on just one 3 branched lower truss in a 10 litre pot - setting 8 trusses!) it's great disease resistance, good-natured ease of growing, remarkable resistance to splitting, or versatility in the kitchen, whether it's for eating fresh in salads, freezing, dehydrating or cooking. It's the very best tomato for beginners - I always recommend it if I'm asked to suggest just one variety. All children love it too - one customer's grandchildren keep asking when she'll have the 'tomato sweeties' again! (And I just can't stop eating the semi-dehydrated ones straight out of the freezer!) 
 
It's an F1 hybrid (which doesn't mean that it's a GMO - something that could never potentially occur in nature!)  That just means that it's a very specific cross between two known parents, done in isolation from other varieties, to ensure that it comes true from seed. That being so you will not be able to save seed from it and get the same result!  Or if you do - you will possibly get seed, but you'll probably end up with a lot of mongrels - many of which may be no good. In general I favour non-F1 hybrids, as I save a lot of my own seed - but this tomato is an outstanding exception. Producing an F1 hybrid is naturally a more expensive process than producing an open pollinated variety - so if it doesn't sell well enough - then the powerful commercial interests that now control most of the global seed industry just won't bother with it. Profits from patents is their main criteria for selection!
 
 
THIS TOMATO REALLY IS WORTH SAVING - PEOPLE POWER COULD DO IT! ASK FOR IT EVEN IF IT'S NOT IN THE CATALOGUEs - WE MAY BE ABLE TO GET IT BACK ON SALE IF WE DO!

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