Tomato Tasting 2 for this year. The last one was on July 22, Twelve days ago. Finally, no thanks to the cold, gloomy PNW weather, the next Tomato is ripe
Ranger (F1) 85-90 days. Ranger made a big hit with us at our trial grounds, proving to be one of the healthiest and most productive roma type tomato plants. The determinante plants are extraordinarily prolific, and provide plenty of leaf coverage to protect the crops from sunscald. Elongated, slightly blocky, deep red fruit reach 1 3/4 inches wide by 3 inches long, with firm meaty flesh. Appearing in large clusters of 4 -6 tomatoes each, Ranger bears a heavy harvest of fruit for processing and canning. V, F1.
In all fairness, I grow all of my determinate tomatoes in large buckets of fresh Mel’s Mix. Maybe Ranger does not like the bucket, Maybe my mel’s mix has a bad componant (it happens) or even the the bucket is too small. The weather has been unfriendly. But these are my conditions and a tomato that I grow year after year needs to produce even in the less than ideal habitate of the Toy Box. My Ranger is not a deep red, it might not be fully ready. This one (there are about 3 so far) is a bit more than 1 and 3/4 inches thick but it is not quite 2 inches long.
At a glance: I tried to hide it in the picture, but there is a small hole in the side where some critter had a tomato tasting before I did. Being a country girl, that did not really bother me. It was a fluke but it took away from the eye appeal. Otherwise it looked more like a red golf ball than a roma type tomato.
Size: 1.4 ounces, rather smallish. Many of the Beaver Plums that are coming on are larger than Ranger.
Shape: As I said above, it is about the size of a golf ball.
Inside: This is where Ranger starts to look like a roma tomato. She is full of thick flesh with two tiny gel cells. One of those cells only held air, no gel or seeds.
Texture: Just slightly on the mealy side but in a crisp way if that makes sense. Sort of like a slightly gritty pear.
Fresh off the vine: (gel-flesh) The tomato flavor is not pronounced. The gel is slightly sweet but the flesh is bland. Maybe it needs a couple of days.
Sliced and salted: Mostly it just tastes salty.
Cooking thoughts: I wish this tomato had produced enough to make a sauce. It is, after all, a cooking tomato. It is probably perfect for dinner. The skin is tough enough to easily come off in the food mill or to peel off for canning without being leathery.
Will Deb grow this one again?
No. Territorial Seed Company raved about how good this tomato is, bragging about the heavy foliage that protects it from sun-scald. My plant has the saddest looking foliage I’ve seen in a while. Actually most of my tomatoes have curled, slightly purple leaves from the cold weather. Most of them are recovering with the warmer August days. Not Ranger. That plant still looks sad. If it looks and tastes better as August goes on I’ll update this post in the comments.
First Tomato Tasting of 2012: Gold Nugget
Master List (with links) of the 2012 Toy Box Tomatoes: