If you had room to grow only one tomato plant, which variety would you choose? Would it be a hearty heirloom slicer like ‘Pink Brandywine’, a sweet pop-in-your-mouth cherry like ‘Sungold’, or a chef favorite like ‘Amish Paste’?
Thank goodness this is just a rhetorical question for me. I have room at home and in the Organic Gardening test garden for dozens of tomato plants, and I devote the space to as many different varieties as possible. At the magazine’s tomato-tasting event last summer, the diversity of tomato flavors was obvious to all. In addition to the basic flavor variables of acidity and sweetness, some varieties add wildcard flavors: smoky, fruity, earthy, zesty. Yum.
Last year, we trialed eight tomato varieties in the test garden. As I selected the test varieties for 2011, I tried to limit myself to eight again. Obviously I was not up to the task; we’ll be growing 12 varieties of tomatoes this year. And there are others that I’m still having second thoughts about. Maybe we could squeeze in a couple more? —Doug Hall