Tag Archives: Tomato Tasting

Tomato Taste Test 2014, Beaverlodge Plum

July 9, 2014 Beaverlodge Plum.


First Beverlodge Plum Tomato.

First Beverlodge Plum Tomato for 2014. #3 after #1 Gold Nugget (yellow cherry) and #2 Stupice.

Seduced by the short growing season listed in the catalogue description, we have included Beaverlodge Plum tomatoes at the Toy Box for the last five or so seasons. Even so, I’ve never really eaten one raw before.

Beaverlodge grows on a small plant that seems like a good choice for growing in a pot but this small tomato apparently has big feet. A tight growing area means a skimpy plant with few tomatoes. Give the seedling a larger garden with rich soil and she will overwhelm you

This one is small, they get much larger with rich soil.

This one is small, they get much larger with rich soil.

with fruit (a very rare tomato event in Everett, WA).

During the 2013 season I had one extra plant that I put in the new front garden and forgot about it. She stayed low to the ground but spread nearly 4 feet in diameter. The fruit was bright red and at least twice the size as the fruit in this picture. Ray and I picked baskets and baskets of fruit from that one plant. Most of those tomatoes went right into the freezer. During Christmas break we cooked them into sauce. I would not be stretching the truth to say that nearly 80% of the tomatoes in our Wolf Moon tomato sauce was from Beverlodge tomatoes from that one plant.

The inner butterfly.

The inner butterfly.

This season (2014) I put two beverlodge seedlings in with my vine tomatoes. They tell me that the soil in their box is not as nice as it should be. Even though there are abundant fruit for the size of the plant, the plant itself is not growing like the plant from last season.

One last thing you should know about Beverlodge. When the tag says 55 days, it means 55 warm days. Beaverlodge just limps along if the weather is chill. She really does not benefit from an early planting date.

Catalogue Description 55 days. Beaverlodge Series
We were so impressed by everything about these tomatoes at our trials, that we saved the seed and spent a few seasons building our inventory in order to share it with you. Not only were they two of the earliest maturing varieties, but the plants were so loaded with tomatoes that there seemed to be more fruit than leaves! What’s more, these extremely compact, determinate plants tend to creep rather than grow tall and would be perfect in a hanging basket or patio container. Did we mention how rich and balanced the flavor is, especially for an early type? Truly a great combination of earliness, size, productivity, and quality. Bred at the Beaverlodge Research Center in Alberta Canada. (2 1/2 inch long, plum shaped fruit)

I. Eye Appeal

  • Color: Generally bright red
  • Size: up to 3 ounces
  • Shape: Oval or egg shaped
  • Inside: Two small seed cavities around a butterfly shaped core.

II Tasting

  • Fresh off the vine: Slightly on the acid side. Quite refreshing on a hot day.
  • Sliced and lightly salted: It was OK salted but not as refreshing.
  • Texture: Nothing stood out. Very much like a typical grocery store salad tomato.

Cooking thoughts

We have used Beaverlodge Plum tomato for pasta sauce, chili and Tomato Soup. The finished dish was always wonderful. It seems wetter then I would expect for a sauce tomato. Maybe because the gel pac runs from end to end? This does not affect the taste, only the cooking time for a thicker sauce.

Will Deb grow this one again?

Being the third ripe tomato in Everett, WA is a big deal. The better tasting tomatoes will come ripe closer to September but Beaverlodge Plum scratches the itch in July….. Yes, I’ll grow this again.

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Tomato Taste Test 2013: Grandma’s Pick F1

Grandma’s Pick came to Everett in a six-pack of different Roma Tomatoes for the 2012 season of the Toy Box. I have no idea how she happened to find her way into the box of plants I ordered.

Grandma's Pick F1

Grandma’s Pick F1

Until that moment I had not even heard of Grandma’s Pick. Every other tomato in the box was some kind of Roma. I intended to trial different cooking tomatoes, expecting to find green tomatoes that would ripen on the sideboard for fall and early winter use. What I did not want was a hybrid salad tomato. This spring (2013) I purposely included a pack of Grandma’s on my TSC order. It turned out that Grandma is a good green tomato (we happen to like fried green tomatoes) and ripens to a pretty red as October turns into November.

Grandma's Pick F1 mid September 2012

Grandma’s Pick F1 mid September 2012

The 2013 season is nothing like 2012 in Everett. I don’t think that I had to run the AC or the hose during the summer of 2012. In 2013 I have to run both hose and AC nearly every day. The garden picture above shows the first ripe Grandma’s for 2012 in September. It is late July of 2013 and I have already picked an apron full of Grandma’s Pick. Here is her score.

Catalogue Description:

75-80 days. Heirloom flavor with hybrid production, uniformity, and disease resistance. Grandma’s Pick has an old time look with attractive, large, squat, pleated fruit averaging 3 1/2 inches wide and 1 3/4 inches tall. Their color is a striking orange/red on the shoulders that deepens to bright red at the bottom. Healthy, indeterminate plants yield plentiful harvests of these robust, slightly sweet fruit with a rich, true tomato flavor. Grandma’s Pick boasts a high lycopene content. Excellent field holding capacity. V, F1, N, St.

TSC http://www.territorialseed.com/product/13286

The larger of the two that were ripe today.

The larger of the two that were ripe today.

Score Card

1. Eye Appeal

  • Size “Salad” A nice handful with a small stem scar.
  • Shape  Round to slightly flattened with ruffles.
  • Color  Orange to deep red. The darker tomato came from the green house. The orange fruit grew outside.
  • Inside  Red flesh with small but numerous gel cavities. Abundant seeds. Too bad it is a hybrid because the seed would be easy to harvest.
  • Texture  Smooth. No obvious difference between gel and flesh in my mouth. The core is fleshy instead of woody.
The inside scoop Grandma's Pick F1

The inside scoop Grandma’s Pick F1

2. Tasting

  • Fresh off the Vine  I know that I am eating a tomato because it looks like a tomato, it chews like a tomato, but I am underwhelmed. After the first bite my mind wandered. It was not until I started to swallow and felt the acid on the back of my tongue that I realized I would need a 2nd taste. I almost needed a third. This seemed like a very bland tomato on the tongue with an acid after taste. On the other hand, Ray’s first reaction was, “Oh! This is really good!” I thought he was just being nice. I grew up loving my grandma’s home-grown (home being the black, rich soil of Whidbey Island) garden tomatoes. He says that all of his came from the grocery store. Two different standards for “good”
  • Sliced and salted  We both agreed that salt did not improve the flavor though it did dull the strong acid taste on the back of the tongue. Ray liked it better with salt. I like tomatoes without salt. It was a toss-up.
  • Cooking thoughts  This is a silky, wet tomato. She is probably better for soup then sauce (I like more body to my sauce then my soup). I thought it was too bland to cube for omelets, Ray thought it would be really good in an omlet. It might be too wet to slice and add to a pizza.  However, I remember thinking Grandma’s Pick was excellent as a fried green tomato. When the green fruit was picked in late autumn to ripen in the house, mixed with other tomatoes it made delicious fall, even winter soup and sauce. Grandma’s Pick added a depth of color and silky texture to the pot.

Will Deb Grow this one again?

Yes Not because of her ripe summer qualities but because of how good she is picked green and either fried or left to ripen before cooking. Besides, I went ahead and bought a package of expensive hybrid seed this year.

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Tomato Tasting 2013; “Stupice”

The first tomato tasting of 2013, Stupice. One tomato, Gold Nugget, ripened before Stupice (June 15) but Stupice, which is in the Toy Box for the first time this year, was the first red tomato to vine ripen (June 30). I think that every other Pacific North West (PNW) gardener already knows Stupice, but I have been stubbornly sticking to her sister, Siltz, which has been one of my favorites for years. This year (2013) has been an exceptional year for PNW tomatoes. In a normal year I do not expect to see my first Gold Nugget until the last week of July. Next year (we NEVER get two awesome years in a row) will be a better test of when it will “normally” come ripe in the PNW.

Stupice Tomato in the Garden

Stupice Tomato in the Garden

Catalogue Description

60-65 days. This cold-tolerant tomato ripens sweet, red, slightly oval, 2 inch fruit that make an excellent choice for first-of-the-summer salads, lunch boxes, and juicing. Stupice consistently gets high marks for taste throughout the summer. Pumps out fruit over the entire season. Bred in the former Czechoslovakia. Indeterminate potato leaf variety.


Normal size

Normal size

Score Card

Eye Appeal:

  • First Glance: Poor little Stupice does not look like much. The Apricot I was snacking on was larger than the tomato I was scoring.
  • Size: Bigger then a cherry tomato but too small to call a slicer. Stupice is often described as “golf ball size” but since I do not golf, I have to say that they are about the size of the apricot I was snacking on.
  • Shape: Globe
  • Color: Deep orange-red to bright red. Slightly green shoulders.
  • Inside: Surprisingly meaty for such a small tomato.
The inside scoop

The inside scoop


  • Texture: Silky; the skin looked tough but seemed to be tender in my mouth.
  • Fresh off the vine: Stupice is just slightly on the acid side, but just slightly. I might call the flavor, “bright.”
  • Sliced and salted: Salt brings out just a hint of classic tomato flavor, slightly sweeter then the unsalted taste.
About the size of an apricot.

About the size of an apricot.

Cooking thoughts: Already this year (2013) I have been chopping (quartering really, it is very small) Stupice and adding them to guacamole with Gold Nugget cherry tomatoes. Stupice is not too “wet” for guacamole, even though I did not scoop out the gel (a tedious job due to the small size). The bright flavor leads me to think that I can toss ripe Stupice tomatoes into zipper bags to freeze whole and add frozen to sauce and soup in winter. Gold Nugget and Stupice are abundant this year. I think they will be good raw with cold angel hair pasta, fresh mozzarella, basil and an olive oil-balsamic dressing.

Will Deb grow this one again? Yes, I need to find out how Stupice performs in a “normal” PNW summer.


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Tomato Tasting 2012 “Silvery Fir Tree”

Tomato tasting number 3 on August 9, 2012.

Silvery Fir Tree, listed as a Russian Heirloom

Silvery Fir Tree, apparently named for the fine foliage (it looks like it came off of a carrot top) is one of my determinant tomatoes that seems content to live in a pot. Like all of my 2012 potted tomatoes, this one is stressed from the cold June and July. Unlike Ranger, Silvery Fir Tree is bouncing back.

Catalogue Description

Silvery Fir Tree (OP) 58 days. An exceptional heirloom that ripens early and produces heavy crops on incomparably beautiful plants. Fire engine red fruit average 2-3 inches across with a slightly flattened shape and a very pleasant, Tangy taste. The compact determinant plants have a delicate, ferny foliage and make elegant container specimens. Russian origins.

Silvery Fir Tree

Score Card

Eye Appeal

Size: At 1.6 ounces and about 2 inches across, this tiny tomato is bigger than the Ranger Plum I taste tested last week. That was a surprise.

The weigh-in

Shape: As advertised, Silvery Fir Tree has a “slightly flattened shape.

Color: Not quite “Fire engine red” but it is more red than orange. Once it looked ready I waited a couple of days for it to get a deeper red but it did not.

Inside: Mostly meat, very little gel which is somewhat disappointing. I wanted to save seed from this fruit for my first attempt at saving tomato seed. There might be a couple of seeds but I am just going to taste this tomato and wait for the next one to dig out seed.


The inside scoop

Texture: silky. Firm skin separates easily from the flesh in my mouth.

Fresh off the vine: (gel-flesh) Just the opposite of the cherry, Gold Nugget, this tomato is mostly flesh. Good mouth feel. It does not have the classic, “Grandma’s garden” flavor but it is far better than tomatoes I get from the grocery store. The more I eat Silvery Fir Tree, the more it bugs me that the skin comes off so easily when I bite into it. Not unpleasant or hard to swallow, just weird.

Sliced and salted: A bit of salt brings out the tart tomato taste. Nice

Cooking thoughts: If I get enough of these little gems they should make better soup than Ranger. Nice tomato flavor, very little gel and the skin comes off easily. I bet they are also good cold and chopped in pasta with basil.

Will Deb grow this one again?

Yes. I am sure it took longer than 58 days to produce fruit but I do have multiple fruit out in the Toy Box from this tomato. Apparently happy in a pot, it makes cute gifts. It would probably be happy in a container with basil. The plant did not seem too set back by our cold June and July, just late. Good taste with cooking possibilities, I may give this compact plant a row in my SFG next year.

Silvery Fir Tree, it still fits in a truffle paper


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Tomato Tasting 2012 “Ranger”

Ranger (F1) on August 3 2012

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

Inside the Ranger Tomato

Catalogue Description:

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.

Score Card

Eye Appeal

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.

Color: Orange-red

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.

Sad looking Ranger plant, I do not think this affected the taste.

First Tomato Tasting of 2012: Gold Nugget

Master List  (with links) of the 2012 Toy Box Tomatoes:

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Tomato Tasting 2012 “Gold Nugget”

First Gold Nugget Cherry Tomato

Here we go …the first tomato tasting of 2012! I sure hope it isn’t the ONLY tomato that comes ripe in the Toy Box this year. This is my third year growing Gold Nugget, but only the first time I have written a taste test score card. Everyone’s a winner in Everett.

Earlier this year I was led to believe that the naughty El Nina had let loose her hold on the PNW. April and May were beautiful! Not so for June. The rains returned in June, and daily there was some kind of cold wet chill in the air.

Sliced “Gold Nugget” in a truffle paper

The catalogue description:

(OP) 60 days. Always among the first to ripen. Gold Nugget attains an unusually rich, sweet flavor when mature. Vigorous and determinant plants are loaded with 3/4 inch, round golden fruit from early in the season ’til frost. Bred by Dr. Jim Baggett at Oregon State University. F1, V


Score Card

Eye Appeal

At a glance: Gold Nugget is a dolly of a little gold marble. It is like picking gum-balls from the gum-ball tree.

Size: Two tenths of an ounce (it’s a cherry tomato, it is supposed to be small)

Shape: Marble like

Color: Golden yellow

Inside: Very little flesh, full of gel holding tiny seeds.


Texture: Tender, both the skin and the little bit of flesh melt in your mouth.

Fresh off the vine: (acid or sweet, gel) The very first fruit of the year is never the same as the 10th or the 100th. This very first tomato, coming from a cold June is just slightly more acid than sweet. As the season goes on (this is my 3rd year) the sweet tones will dominate. Like everything else on the rainy side of the state, this little tomato could use more sunshine.

Sliced and Salted: I have to admit…. 1. I do not usually like salt on tomatoes…. and 2 with just a touch of salt Gold Nugget was far sweeter than it was without.

Cooking thoughts: Cherry tomatoes are more for snacks than the sauce pot BUT lately I have been enjoying fresh vegetables, including cherry tomatoes, cooked gently and quickly in hot pasta. I suspect that there will be many nights of Pasta Primavera with Gold Nugget cherry tomatoes this year.

Will Deb grow this one again?

Sure. This is my third year growing Gold Nugget. Everyone tells me to try Sun Gold, and I will. In fact I thought I was buying Sun Gold and somehow ended up with Gold Nugget. But for 2012, Gold Nugget is a gem that I recommend.

Happy in a pot on the deck


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2012 Tomatoes.

The 2012 tomato season has begun.

If ever you had doubt that I have season tickets on the crazy train, you need only look at the size of my garden, the part of the country it is in and my list of tomatoes that I am growing. Nuts! I took those soil blockers that Ray has given me for my birthday, made a flat of blocks and added tomato seed and optimism. Some are new to me, some are from seed I already have. I will tell their story as they grow and ripen. I post on the square foot garden forum. Tuesday is for posting about tomatoes. I’ll try to keep it down to Tomato Tuesdays.

2010 The quarter in the picture is a rip off of Hannah’s tomato posts. I am impressed with most of what she does in her tomato garden.

The List: (Started at the Toy Box one sunny day in late winter) March 7, 2012

From longest days listed to shortest (post will be updated when the plants from TSC arrive)

  • Ranger (F1) -D- 85-90 days, Red-Orange (first fruit, Aug. 3)
  • Persimmon -I- 80 days (2010) Yellow-Orange
  •  Chianti Rose -I- 78 days (2012) Rosy Pink
  • Siletz -D- 75 days (2010) Red
  • Momotaro hybrid -I- 70 days (2011) Pink
  • Legend -D- 68 days (2011) Red
  • Black Plum Paste -I- 65 days (2010) multi color plum
  • Gold Nugget Cherry -D- 60 days (2011) yellow (1st fruit, July 18)
  • Silvery Fir Tree -D- 58 days (2011) Red (1st fruit, August 9)
  • Beaverlodge Plum -D- 55 days (2011) Red
September 28, 2011

The Indeterminant Tomatoes in 2011

The most important lesson I learned in the cold tomato seasons of 2010 and 2011 is that even short season tomatoes need heat to ripen. It does not just happen because X number of days have passed. The exception to this rule are the parenthocarpics like Siltz. Not all parenthocarpics are created equal. Oregon Spring does not do as well for me as Siltz. I keep trying different tomatoes to find what works for me and what is a wash. Back to the issue of heat. In 2011 most short season, main crop tomatoes did not produce any better for me than the long season tomatoes. Most of my harvest was still green by mid September no mater how many days were listed on the packet.

It was by accident that I discovered that longer season tomatoes will ripen up on the side-board. Short season tomatoes tend to just rot on the side-board. For that reason (read “autumn soup and sauce) I am feeling better about long season tomato trials for 2012.  Large Roma type tomato plants have been ordered from TSC (Territorial Seed Company) and should arrive in August. The post about my long season tomatoes:

Dreaming in Shades of Tomato

If life does not get in the way, my plan is to post my tomato tastings as the different plants come ripe. I did this in 2010 but did not get around to it in 2011. So far I have not developed my own style for this. I copy Hannah of “This Garden Is Illegal”

Tomato Tasting 2010

As the tomatoes come ripe I make their name into a link and add the date of the first ripe fruit. This year (2012) I plan to post about tomatoes that are still green at the end of the season and how they do on the side-board. In 2010 when I posted my orginal Tasting I considered green fruit a wash.

In the comments section of this post I hope to include links to Tomato Tuesdays in the Toy Box.

C’mon summer (real summer)

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