One good thing about the drought of 2012 is that it helped produce some of the most flavorful tomatoes I recall ever eating. Recently, a friend asked me to list my favorite tomatoes and I decided to poll three heirloom seed companies and seed libraries I’m currently in love with to find their 2012 tomato favorites.
1. Oxheart tomato
I met Ken and Doug, founders of the Hudson Valley Seed Library, this past summer and got to see my first oxheart tomato in person. I have seen pictures of oxheart tomatoes online over the past couple of years, but had never seen one up close. Oxheart tomatoes are HUGE. Ken and Doug tell me they love this tomato for its heavy, dense, and flavorful fruit. The downside--if you're a seed librarian--of this tomato is that each fruit only produces a few seeds. Oxheart tomatoes will be getting their own art pack at the Hudson Valley Seed Library in 2013.
2. 'Cherokee Purple'
‘Cherokee Purple’ is a favorite of mine and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. It is said to be more than 100 years old and originated with the Cherokee people. It was rediscovered by tomato grower Craig LeHoullier and introduced to the commercial seed trade by Jeff McCormack, founder of SESE. This indeterminate and disease resistant tomato is recommending for growing in the south by SESE. It is my favorite tomato for slicing and adding to sandwiches. A deep, watery, and acid flavor that just seems to linger on your taste buds.
3. 'Italian Heirloom'
Jesica Babcock, seed packet promotions specialist at Seed Savers Exchange, tells me that 'Italian Heirloom' won top honors at their 7th Annual Tomato Tasting over the Labor Day weekend. The plants on this heirloom from Italy and gets loaded with bright red fruits that weigh over a pound. "Not only is 'Italian Heirloom' uniform and productive, but the fruits ripen simultaneously, making it perfect for canning," she says via Email. "And it's delicious."
4. 'Mexico Midget'
I bought a seed pack of 'Mexico Midget' tomatoes a couple of years ago from Seed Savers Exchange and it quickly became one of my favorite tomatoes to grow. The vines produce hundreds of ½-¾” dark red cherry tomatoes on each vine throughout the growing season. This tiny tomato packs all the taste of larger tomatoes and is great sprinkled in salads. Although, they never seem to make it onto a plate as I’m always popping them like candy when I see one has ripened.
What were your favorite tomatoes that grew in your garden this year? What tomatoes do you think should be tried next year?