I’ve always been around gardens. My grandparents were big gardeners, canning all summer long as well as selling produce. My dad and uncles now sell produce as well, so over the years, I’ve been introduced to a lot of varieties of tomatoes. We’ve talked about tomato growth and how to select the right tomatoes for your garden, how to harvest homegrown tomatoes, . Today I’m going to share some of my family’s favorite varieties, as well as a few others I’ve enjoyed.
My mother-in-law swears by Juliet tomatoes. Juliets, referred to as a paste tomato variety, are a small indeterminate tomato variety that is absolutely wonderful for soups, sauces, salsa, stewed tomatoes and for dried tomatoes. They are sweet-tasting, and ripen quickly so you’d best be ready to get busy with whatever your food storage plans are when they begin to ripen. The fruit is a shiny and oval and usually about 2 inches long. Juliet plants are known for their blight resistance as well as their resistance to cracking. These tomatoes are an indeterminate hybrid with an average of 60 days to harvest.
Roma tomatoes are another very popular paste tomato among canners. The fruit from these plants are nice and meaty with less seeds than other varieties, which is why canners love them. Roma tomatoes are more plum-like in shape and are heavy in weight for their size. There are a lot of varieties of Roma tomatoes which means you’ll also find a variety of colors. You may also see Romas referred to as Italian tomatoes. Romas are open pollinated with an average of 75 days to harvest.
Mountain Fresh Tomatoes
Mountain Fresh is a new variety my dad is trying. A newer variety out of NC State, this determinate hybrid offers excellent disease resistance from a number of tomato killers such as nematodes, blossom end rot and blight.
These tomatoes are fairly average in size, so you can get a decent-sized fruit along with these other benefits. Mountain Fresh plants are also hardy producers that takes an average of 77 days to harvest.
Better Boy Tomatoes
Another hybrid, the Better Boy tomato can handle a little more cold than most varieties, and are ideal for northern climates, but my family farms in the south and we grow them. These are a beefsteak hybrid so they are large (your classic sandwich tomato). Better Boy tomatoes require an average of 75 days to harvest but can be ripened on the window sill.
Early Girl Tomatoes
Early Girl tomatoes are also a hybrid tomato. These tomatoes are very popular because of their early ripening: the average time to harvest is 50 days or less! The fruits of the Early Girl plant are very close in size to those from your standard tomato plant. If you’re anxious to get those first tomatoes on your table, the Early Girl variety may be what you’re looking for. This variety will require sturdy caging to accommodate the height and weight of the plants as they grow.
As far as heirloom tomatoes go, the Brandywine is one of the most common and well-liked varieties. This tomato is an indeterminate that produces a large pink, beefsteak in 70-80 days. Brandywines can be particular, so, as with other heirlooms, always look for varieties that are acclimated to your area. Talk to other farmers, search for seed-coops or advertise in local papers for seeds. Most gardeners love to share their seeds! The wonderful, rich flavor of these tomatoes make the search worth the effort.
Well, there you have it! These are some of my favorite varieties of tomatoes.
More Tomato Resources
- Companion Planting: What to Plant with Tomatoes
- How to Harvest Tomatoes
- Get Rid of Tomato Hornworms Naturally and Organically