My rotating guest list aims squarely at Sara...we are about to leave for another wonderful, delicious tomato themed dinner at Zely and Ritz. But before I go, here are the results of a really exciting tomato tasting that Tomatopalooza co-host Lee and I undertook today.
We tasted in groups of 3, 4, 5, or 6 tomatoes. Appropriate pictures will follow each group. We cleaned our palates with wedges of either Diva or Salt and Pepper cukes. Pretty effective!
Scores on 10 point scale - Lee's score first, then Craig. Our palates are pretty well aligned, it seems.
Group 1: Mountain Magic (6. 7), Ozark Cherry (4, 4), Plum Regal (4, 4), Brawny F1 (7, 7.5), Surprise 98-47 (4.5, 4.5) - this represented our only red varieties. I was surprised at the sweetness of Mtn. Magic, the blandness of Ozark Cherry and Surprise, and the depth of flavor of Brawny F1 (Grizzly selection X Cuostralee).
Group 2: Rosella Crimson 08-40 (7.5, 7), Rosella Crimson 08-50 (5.5, 5), Sweet Adelaide (6, 6.5), Pesty Pink (6, 6.5) - this was a group of pinks. Rosella Crimson 08-40 showed pretty well, 08-50 was a late fruit from a sick plant (was previously one of the best tasting dwarfs of the year), Sweet Adelaide may have been overripe (previous fruits tasted better), and Pesty Pink wasn't anything that would displace other pinks we are developing. I am troubled by the apparent disease susceptibility of Rosella Crimson, though one other selection in my driveway looks great.
Group 3: Brawny, large pink pot grown (7. 7.5); Coorong Pink (7.5, 7.5), Brawny large pink garden grown (7, 7.5). All three of these medium to large pinks tasted like very good tomatoes - Coorong Pink is quite promising (esp. if Rosella Crimson doesn't work out due to disease issues, this could be a really good similarly sized pink).
Group 4: Summertime Green 2821 (8, 8), Summertime Green 2817 (8, 8), Mr Snow from Suze which has green fruit (8.5, 8.5)! Now we're talking. These are both from the seeds of Summertime Green being sold - so I am pleased they taste so good! The Mr. Snow is from Suze - it has the same internal structure, but is a green when ripe - and tastes as wonderful as Mr. Snow! Not sure we need another potato leaf green, but...wow!
Group 5: Summertime Gold (Lee) (7.5, 7.5), Witty Yellow (6.5, 7), Sweet Sue 3037 (8, 8), Sweet Sue 08-35 (7.5, 8). Wow again! The Summertime Gold was quite huge - flavor was just a tad diluted. I really liked the liveliness of the yellow Witty selection. And I think we are there with Dwarf Sweet Sue - I think the seed from 3037 is the one to multiply and sell. Great, great tomato!
Group 6: Rosy F3 (Lee - green over orange color) (7.5, 7.5), Loxton Lass (Craig) (6, 6), Uluru Ochre (Lee, green over orange color) (7.5, 7.5), Loxton Lass (Lee) (6, 6). So we have the unusual color of Uluru Ochre in a Rosy selection (came from an orange fruit from last year) - though they get the same score, the Rosy had a slightly earthier flavor. Loxton Lass got lost in this crowd - I think Rose Mallee is a better flavored tomato.
Group 7: Rosella Purple 3039 (8.5, 8.5), Rosella Purple 2814 (8.5, 8.5), Perth Pride (8, 8), Tasty Brown (7.5, 7.5). A very exciting group of terrific purple tomatoes! Rosella Purple that is being sold is 2814, so this is great news. Perth Pride is ready - a unique internal structure, lots of juice and seeds, but delicious and nicely tart. And the purple Tasty Brown is a lead consideration for a medium to large potato leaf purple - a fine tomato.
Group 8: Cherokee Chocolate, 05-55 (7. 7), Cherokee Chocolate 01-19 (7, 7.5), Tasmanian Chocolate 2852 (6, 6), Maralinga (7, 7.5), Mahogany (Lee - pot grown) (7, 7.5), Mahogany (Lee - garden grown) (5.5, 6). Now a set of brown when ripes.....interesting that Cherokee Chocolate didn't fare as well as many of the dwarfs we tasted today! Tasmanian Chocolates were quite small - earlier fruit tasted better. I really liked Maralinga - very sweet, as good as if not better than Cherokee chocolate - as was one of the Mahogany fruit.
Group 9: Lucky Cross 02-55 (7, 7), Lucky Swirl RL (3, 3), Dwarf Russian Swirl (6.5, 6.5), Fred's Tie Dye (7, 7). Three bicolors and a purple green stripe - an odd group! Lucky Swirl came from a dead plant, so this isn't really a valid test. Lucky Cross tasted fine - again, it got lost in this tasting! Dwarf Russian Swirl may have been a bit underripe and underrated - it is a pretty tomato. Fred's Tie Dye had a simple but sweet flavor and is very attractive.
Group 10: Striped Sweetheart (7.5, 8), Don's Double Delight (7.5, 7.5), Tidy Striped (actually purple) (7.5, 8), Sleeping Lady (very small fruit from sick part of the plant, not tasted). The BrandyTad line keeps on giving - Striped Sweetheart and DDD are excellent. I really liked the purple from Tidy -but do we need another RL purple dwarf?
Group 11: Blazing Beauty 2840 (8, 8), 2842 (7.5, 8), 2851 (6, 6) and 2851 (6, 7) and Barossa Moon (6, 5). We have our orange fruited winner in Blazing Beauty from vial 2840 - large, oblate and orange.....great tomato, but the more pale colored 2842 wasn't far behind. Barossa Moon is a large white cherry, thick walled, a bit underripe and not impressive in flavor.
Group 12: Sungold F1 (8.5), Sungold Select II (8.25), Ambrosia red fruit (8). All great - amazed to find Sungold F1 type flavor in OP cherries. Promising!
Afterward - from a customer: Chocolate Lightning (no pic)- 4 ounce brown fruit with green stripes - very attractive (she also brought over a 4 oz oblate purple Boronia 3097). Flavor was just fine - 7.5.
For me.....favorite tomatoes of the entire tasting - Summertime Green, Rosella Purple, Sweet Sue, Blazing Beauty, Mr Snow green fruit, Perth Pride, Maralinga, Tasty Brown (purple fruit), Uluru Ochre and similarly colored Rosy F3, Coorong Pink. And of these, Summertime Green and Rosella Purple are being sold, Sweet Sue and Perth Pride are on tap to release next season, and Blazing Beauty, Uluru Ochre and Coorong Pink will be prioritized so we can get them out there in a few years.
And we've still not yet eaten the real Dwarf Mr. Snow, Dwarf Beryl Beauty, Summer Sunrise, or Dwarf Emerald Giant - three of which are being sold, and always amongst the best! Perhaps they will ripen in time for Tomatopalooza...
This project is exceeding all of my expectations by a long shot!