Our Favorite Tomatoes!

15 Apr
Though we work in relative harmony here at “Annie’s” there are some things we don’t always agree on. Most of the time, we can work through our differences, but when it comes to important topics like tomatoes, we square off. We’ve grown all of the tomatoes we offer and have selected the best ones for our cool-Summer climate. Here are our top picks! (My choice is the fourth one down – just skip the others and read it first since my tomato is CLEARLY the best!).
Currant tomatoes

Red Currant tomato. Photo courtesy Scott Ashkenaz on Flickr.

Tomato ‘Red Currant’
Annie Hayes “The Boss”

I grow these extraordinarily prolific wild cherry tomatoes in 2 half barrels in my driveway, so when I get home from work I’ve got an awesome snacky pick-me-up before i even hit the front door. Also, I eat a lot of salads and I love how I don’t have to slice these little guys – just toss ’em in. At never more than 1″, they’re just the right size! Unlike typical cherry tomatoes that are just simply sweet, ‘Red Currant’ bestows a real tomato flavor overlaid with a hint of sweetness – totally delicious! What’s more, I think they bear longer than any other tomato starting early and lasting through November. You’ll get zillions of them and even if you miss a few, you certainly won’t worry about it – they just keep coming and coming. You may even have to come up with new tomato recipes (cherry brownies maybe?) if you want to eat them all. Interestingly, they are a different sub-species from all the other different cherry tomatoes. Indeterminate, they’ll grow to 5′ so use a cage or stakes to hold up all those fruit-laden stems!

tomato_thessaloniki

Big juicy acidy tomatoes are attainable in our cool-Summer climate! (Heavens part, angels sing!)

Tomato ‘Thessaloniki’
Annie Hayes – “The Boss”

I remember way back in the early 60’s, on hot Summer afternoons, my mom serving us kids the most absolutely delicious sandwiches that we kids would eat out on the back porch. They were stuffed with large, fat slices of tomatoes that tasted like heaven. Up until a few years ago I never again tasted, grew, or bought a tomato that matched my memory of this “Holy Grail” true acidy “Summertime” flavor until I grew my first ‘Thessaloniki.’ And lo and behold it hails from the town my dad was born in! A huge, vigorous indeterminate variety, it bears a great number of beautiful large red fruits that take forever to rot or go mushy when left for a long time on the vine. No splitting either and it’s very resistant to blight. It does make a lot of dense foliage (to protect against the intense Greek sun and heat), so I just pull off leaves that block the sun from hitting the fruit here in Summer-foggy Richmond, CA. I do pinch out the suckers for bigger sized tomatoes. If you’re looking for a big, productive, easy to grow old-fashioned tasting tomato, I highly recommend this one and I’ll bet you grow it every year from now on!

BWPS (Big White Pink Stripe) is neither white nor striped. Go figure. Photo courtesy Kelly Kilpatrick

Tomato ‘Big White Pink Stripe’ or ‘BWPS’
Claire Woods – Production manager

The all around winner in my failure of a vegetable garden last year and not just because everything else tanked. Though this tomato is neither pink nor striped, it is by far the most interesting and delectable tomato I’ve tried. It’s sweet with dense flesh, good smooth texture and rich fruity flavor – if ever there was a dessert tomato, this is it! I’ve never had another tomato like it and my plant produced fruit when no other did in last year’s over-cool summer. Fruits are big – like the size of a juicy peach, but squat and irregular shaped. They’re roughly peach in color, too, with a wee bit of mottling on the skin that I guess someone decided was enough like stripes to add “Stripe” to the name. Like a lot of lighter colored tomatoes, it’s very low acid, which for me is perfection. Though Annie likes ‘em tart, she can have her ‘Thessaloniki!’ More ‘Big Pink White Stripe’ for meeee!

Sandwich seduction: Black and Brown Boar from Wild Boar Farms

Tomato ‘Black and Brown Boar’
Elayne Takemoto – Marketeer

No one loves tomatoes more than me, which somehow doesn’t match well with how notoriously lazy I am when it comes to taking care of my tomato plants. I don’t baby them, I don’t fertilize and half the time I end up planting them where there’s room – not where they’ll do best. Well, last year, my urge for the perfect BLT was strong – I was motivated. I cleared all of the plants out of the deep planter between my concrete driveway and a low brick wall – the warmest, sunniest spot on my foggy, cool property. The soil was nice and friable, I added compost and I watered on an every-other-week schedule until the fruit set. I kept weeds at bay, I doted, I waited. If you were around for last year’s notoriously cool “Summer,” then you’ll know that I waited well into August before I got my first tomato – but boy was it worth it! This luscious, juicy, slightly tart beauty was ‘Black and Brown Boar’ from Wild Boar Farms. It was a tomato that tasted like a TOMATO – all caps! I sliced up some fresh sourdough, grilled up some facon (fake bacon – highly recommended), gave it a generous swipe of mayo and dusting of salt and cracked pepper and voila! Pure heaven. You bet I’m growing it again. Indeterminate. 65-75 days.

Big, bold Pink Berkeley Tie Dye from Wild Boar Farms. Photo courtesy Kelly Kilpatrick.

Tomato ‘Pink Berkeley Tie Dye’
Kelly Kilpatrick of Floradora Garden Design

As a gardener living in a cool season locale, I always thought that big ol’ hunky tomatoes were unattainable, needing more heat to mature than I could provide. After growing lots of the cherry-sized varieties I decided to give ‘Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye’ a try. What ensued could only be described as a tomato love fest! A sturdy girl with surprisingly robust stems, she’s not one to be caged and quickly outgrows any boundaries, best grown up a tall stake or trellis. The hefty fruits have lovely pink flesh, the skin of which is a beautiful rose streaked with gold. Produces LOTS of tomatoes that are wonderful as thick slices on sandwiches or lightly sauteed with olive oil, garlic and basil for a true Summer of love.

tomato_stupice

Small to medium sized but Mighty in old-fashioned flavor: Stupice!

Tomato ‘Stupice’
Marti B. – Wholesale assistant extraordinaire

After too many disappointments trying to grow a tasty tomato in our foggy neighborhood, including the variety tauntingly named ‘San Francisco Fog’, I gave up and swore off tomato growing. Then one day at the nursery I saw we were growing  ‘Stupice’ and I remembered years ago a neighbor had given me a start for this plant. Even after over watering, planting too early and just about every other novice mistake I could make, it produced the most yummy, acidic and old fashioned tasting tomato I’d had in years. So I got back on the tomato wagon with ‘Stupice’ and my reward was an abundance of perfect tasting, completely non-mealy, tangerine sized tomatoes. In foggy zones, late planting (harvest will be late Summer) and brutally witholding water once fruit sets are the keys to the tastiest, non-mealy tomatoes.

CHECK OUT ALL OF THE DELICIOUS TOMATOES WE GROW!
They’re coming VERY SOON, add any variety to a WISH LIST to get an automatic email just as soon as the crop comes available. 

2 Responses to “Our Favorite Tomatoes!”

  1. Sue Atchison April 17, 2011 at 1:30 am #

    I agree with the comments about Tomato ‘Stupice’. We live where “America Begins” in Blaine, WA, which borders British Columbia, Canada. Our spring is often wet and cool and our summers short. Stupice is a great tomato for our area and we love the flavor and the non-stop production into fall. My husband raves about them!

    Sue

  2. V Woolsey May 23, 2017 at 8:11 pm #

    Been looking for a really good tomato!
    Disappointed with local offerings. Look forward to trying yours!

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