What Tomato Variety is Right For You?
Picking the right tomato at the supermarket is not a big deal. But, if you’re planting tomatoes, picking the right tomato IS a big deal. You’ll be growing and harvesting those tomatoes all season. Choosing the right tomato to plant, doesn’t have to be complicated. It all starts with how you’re going to use them.
“A lot of people enjoy canning tomatoes. If you’re one of them, you’ll want to grow the standard Roma tomato. Romas are thick-walled, meaty, bright red egg-shaped tomatoes. It is also a drier tomato, less juicy. These attributes make Romas a great choice for canning.” says Nick Loveland, Certified Arborist and Assistant Manager at Ogden IFA Country Store.
The drier nature of a Roma tomato also makes them a great choice for making tomato paste, sauces and salsas, as they are not too juicy in a frying pan.
What about salads?
If you enjoy a good, classic tomato chopped up in a salad, you may want to plant an heirloom variety. These tomatoes have been around for many generations and are not hybrids, but not all heirlooms are the same.
Do you like nice color in your salad?
“Try a Cherokee Purple or a Mr. Stripey tomato. Both are very popular heirloom tomatoes," says Loveland. “The Cherokee Purple has some gorgeous purple and green in the flesh while Mr. Stripey tomatoes are yellow with red-streaked flesh. Both are very flavorful and look great in a salad or sliced on a burger.”
The Brandywine heirloom variety is the overall favorite in the Loveland household.
"It's a popular beefsteak-sized tomato that produces rosy pink fruits loaded with an old-fashioned tomato taste that has been prized for decades."
The DX-5212 tomato is a variety you may not have heard of. This tomato was developed by Utah State University in conjunction with the Heinz Company. While the name is less than exciting, the tomato is quite tasty and makes for a good salad or slicing tomato.
Then, there are the “Boy” variety of tomatoes, including Big Boy, Better Boy, and Best Boy tomatoes. These are all very similar in looks—smooth, beautifully bright red and delicious. Whichever variety of tomato you plant in your garden, it will have a more robust flavor than anything you’ll find in the supermarket.
Regardless of the variety you choose for your garden, make sure to plant them after the last spring frost. If evening temperatures drop after you've planted your tomatoes, plan to protect them. Tomatoes are a tender plant and will need help at the beginning and the end of the season.
Season starters, as well as garden fertilizer, are available at your nearby IFA Country Store. If you have any questions about tomatoes (or anything else you may be growing in your garden), just check with our experienced gardeners. We enjoy helping you grow the things you love.
Information for this article was provided by Nick Loveland, Certified Arborist, Assistant Manager, Ogden IFA Country Store.