Oregon Spring: PNW Tomato Tasting

Oregon Spring, August 19, 2010

I found a single start at the Snohomish Farmers Market for $2.00 and snatched it up. For less than $3.00, Fred Meyer sold me a large, black-plastic pot, the kind that Miss Snippy of the blog “Muck About” recommended.   

Oregon Spring, sliced

Oregon Spring has been available for about as long as I have been a gardener. It has often been compared to Early Girl. Western gardeners have said that Spring, when eaten side by side with Early Girl, that the Girl was “insipid”. Strong words for a popular tomato. I’ve grown many Early Girls, the plants are easy to find in the northwest, but not any Oregon Springs until this year. 

  It is a sturdy plant lush with tomatoes. As a potted plant it has not gotten very tall. 

The seed company’s description (Territorial Seed Company) 

75-80 days. This now-famous determinate, slicing variety was developed at Oregon State University. Their research shows that Oregon Spring will produce incredibly early yields of 4 inch oval tomatoes when planted outside a month before your last frost date and given no protection except on frosty nights. Parthenocarpic. V. 

Eye Appeal score card

Size Weighing in at just under 3 ounces, this tomato seems just a bit larger than a good size cherry tomato. 

Shape Squat oval with that classic “grandma’s garden” ribbed shape. 

Color Classic red tomato with very slight areas of green. 

Inside Well defined seed cavities. tougher areas of yellow-green flesh holds the gel in the seed cavities. 

Texture This Oregon Spring was surprisingly mealy. Siletz looked mealy but was not. Oregon Spring looks tender but is mealy. The skin was tough as leather. Nice if I want to can whole tomatoes but if I want to eat it in a salad it is a little toothy. 

Taste score card

Fresh off the vine The acid of the gel cavities is what first comes through. The taste I had of this small tomato did not impress me nearly as much as the texture. Admittedly I kept the taste small because of my veggie wrap plans for lunch. 

Sliced and salted Salt helped tame the acid. I have mentioned before that I do not like salt on tomatoes, but once again the flavor was more balanced with a light sprinkle of salt. 

Cooking thoughts I have one plant abundant with green tomatoes, probably not enough for sauce or stewing. If this one tomato is representative of Oregon Spring then it is not the best choice for fresh eating (though it is not awful). I’ll have to have a lot more of these before I can cook with them. 

Will Deb grow this one again?

 Maybe. I do not think I will buy a package of seeds, but I might buy single plants from the farmers market again.



Filed under Fresh from the garden

2 responses to “Oregon Spring: PNW Tomato Tasting

  1. Debs, I found the exact same thing to be true of the first fruits off this plant, but as the summer progressed, they got better. Kind of defeats the purpose for wanting a really early tomato. I want it to taste better than one from the grocery, not worse.
    That said, this is one of those tomatoes that is parthenogenic in the extreme. That means asexual fruit production. Those first tomatoes are female, not pollinated. As the summer progresses and the bees get busy, the flavor improves,but not enough for me to want to grow them again.
    Oh, and mine were grown in almost straight mushroom compost, and were about 6-8 ounces each.

  2. Six ounces was what I was expecting. I used fresh Mel’s Mix But 2010 was a lousy tomato year. I did not grow Oregon Spring in 2011 but it is probably just as well, If possible, 2011 started off worse than 2010 but ended on a warm note. Maybe in 2012 I will try her again. Thanks for telling me about yours.

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