Two more big blog posts to go - in this one, I am combining the 2016 with the 2018 releases to keep the number manageable. Part 5 will cover the long list of 2017 varieties. Off we go - and remember, these are MY impressions, limited in some cases - typically grown in 5 gallon grow bags or straw bales in our hot, humid, challenging Raleigh, NC summers.
Willa's Cariboo Rose - I’ve just one season experience and it was not a great year, so I really have no clear impression positive or negative. It will get another chance very soon.
Coorong Pink - I have a funny story about Coorong Pink. I grew it a few years ago and in my garden the tomatoes were striped, and with anthocyanin shoulders. A seedling customer grew it and provided some of their harvest for me, and I just loved it - medium to medium large, smooth oblate pink fruit with a nicely balanced taste. It’s not on my favorites list yet, because it has been inconsistent (obviously!).
Dwarf Caitydid * - This is one of my better finds, out of the Pesty family (and named for my daughter Caitlin), and distinct in being a yellow/red bicolor that had a particularly rosy colored central core. I’ve grown it several times, most recently in a self watering container, where it really showed its stuff…beautiful large red/yellow swirled tomatoes, and lots of them. For me, the flavor is just slightly on the mild and sweet side of many of the indeterminate bicolored types, not quite up to the intensity and complexity of Wherokowhai, but still a really fine tomato. It’s combined attributes - color, flavor, productivity, vigor - move it into my “favorites” category.
Dwarf Firebird Sweet * - This lovely tomato is out of the complex Beauty family, which provided a rainbow of colors for our project and numerous releases. When this popped up in my garden a few years ago, the stunning pink with gold striped combination was really exciting to find. Add to that it’s high yield and rich, complex flavor and we have a winner (in my book!). One slight complication is that I’ve ended up with purple fruit (with greenish gold stripes) from supposedly stable seed lots. This isn’t unusual for our Beauty family releases - stabilizing chosen colors has been a bit of a challenge.
Dwarf Beauty King * - Another out of the Beauty family, this one is an intense scarlet red with vertical gold stripes, of a medium size, and possessing the consistently wonderful flavor of all of our Beauty family tomatoes. And, as with other Beauty offspring, the color can occasionally offer a surprise. I think we have this one pretty well nailed down, and it is another favorite of mine, well worth growing.
Mallee Rose - This is a pretty, productive, nice sized tomato with some ribbing on the shoulders. It is productive and seems to resist foliage diseases quite well. I find the flavor to be just a bit too sweet/mild for my taste buds, so it is for me a very good, not great, variety. Those who like sweet tomatoes may have a different opinion and should give it a try.
Barossa Fest * - It may look a bit on the small side (in a way, it is sized like its Sneezy family members Beryl Beauty, Jade Beauty and Kelly Green), but having a bright yellow, wonderfully flavored prolific dwarf variety makes it a wonderful additional to our project releases. I really underrated it when I grew it, and upon reflection, decided to add it to my favorites category.
Dwarf Maura’s Cardinal * - I’ve had such fun this year growing quite a few varieties for the first time, many of which due to the efforts of our great project volunteer Susan Oliverson of Idaho. Dwarf Maura’s Cardinal is simply a superb, large scarlet tomato that has it all - vigor, productivity, and most of all, a complete, delicious flavor. Great red varieties came late to our project, but we are now really piling them up.
Dwarf Jasmine Yellow - I love the productivity, size and color of Dwarf Jasmine Yellow - it is another that made its debut in my garden this year, and other from the great work of Susan O. It doesn’t quite make the cut as the very best in my opinion due to a slightly less intense flavor than I tend to favor. It is a truly fine tomato, however.
Dwarf Laura’s Bounty - My attempt at growing it this year didn’t work out thanks to a deer attack, so I hope to try it again next year. I love the idea of an orange plum tomato, and can’t wait to give it another shot.
Dwarf Sunny’s Pear - This is a really cute small bright orange plum tomato that is perfect for salads, roasting or grilling. It is really prolific and the plant resists disease well. It fills a niche in our project, and really stands alone in this color, shape and size. The flavor is sweet, mild and pleasant.
Dwarf Galen’s Yellow - I’ve yet to grow the released selection - hope to do so in 2020 or 2021. I had a hand in growing some of the earlier generations and liked it very much.
Dwarf Goldfinch - I’ve yet to grow the released selection - hope to do so in 2020 or 2021. I selected and named it and it is potentially outstanding (it certainly was that first time).
Dwarf Mystic Lady - Yet another fine addition to our pink potato leaf dwarf tomatoes, Dwarf Mystic Lady is produced in good numbers on a vigorous potato leaf dwarf plant. The flavor is on the mild side, showing good sweetness and balance. Size tends to be in the medium range.
Dwarf CC McGee - I’ve yet to grow the released selection - hope to do so in 2020 or 2021. Great flavored whites are always welcome!
Dwarf Jeremy’s Stripes - I’ve yet to grow the released selection - hope to do so in 2020 or 2021.
Dwarf Numbat - I’ve yet to grow the released selection - hope to do so in 2020 or 2021. I have limited experience with it, and consider it a nice dwarf growing Green Zebra type.
Clare Valley Pink - I’ve yet to grow the released selection, but have lots of experience with early generations. Though not outstanding, my feeling is that it was a reliable, tasty tomato.
Dwarf Suz’s Beauty - I’ve yet to grow the released selection - hope to do so in 2020 or 2021. I really love the Beauty family and expect this to be wonderful.
Dwarf Parfait - My initial experience with Dwarf Parfait was impacted by a deer attack, limiting me to but one fruit…but what a tomato it was! Weighing a bit over one pound, it looked green on the outside, but when cut showed a glowing orange central core. Flavor is balanced and delicious. It didn’t make my best of list yet, due to my limited experience with it and inability to really get a handle on potential yield. Slices of this would be just lovely in Caprese.
Dwarf Tiger Eye * - What we have here is special and quite unique - an Uluru Ochre colored nice sized prolific paste type tomato. The flavor is just excellent, and this is a really versatile multi use variety - salads, sauces, roasting, grilling or canning. Susan O did a great job finding and finishing this wonderful variety.
Dwarf Vince’s Haze * - My oh my, what a delicious tomato. The plentiful medium large smooth oblate purple fruit, from a vigorous healthy potato leaf plant, have a full, rich flavor that rivals types such as Cherokee Purple, and are on a par with Rosella Purple. I really love this variety and look forward to growing it many times in the future.
Dwarf Hazy’s Dream - I’ve yet to grow the released selection - hope to do so in 2020 or 2021.
There, you have it - the 4th of 5 installments as I take on an honest assessment, warts and all, of all of our dwarf tomato project releases. The above represents a much more variable set of releases with respect to my experience with them. There is much work to do familiarizing myself with quite a few of them…a tough job, but someone’s got to do it! (actually, a wonderful job that will keep me busy and happy in my future gardens).