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AKmark July 21, 2016 03:41 PM

Mark's choices for markets
Delicious and Chapman for large red beefsteaks, people gobble them up, Our own creation called Mat-Su Express is a favorite for medium size red beefsteaks.

Crnkovic Yugoslavian gets no complaints for a pink beefsteak.

Yellow- orange, Yellow BW and KBX always sells out, I get great production from them, the fruit does not crack either. Green Giant X Juanne Flammee threw these cute bright orange perfect round globes, people love them too.

I quit growing purple tomatoes for the markets, they lag behind the others. May do more Paul Robeson next year, but only a few, that way I have some dark tomatoes.

It's been a good year, I wish I could produce more, may have to throw up more greenhouses.

Ricky Shaw July 21, 2016 05:51 PM

It's deeply rewarding to shape a business from a passion and make it work, congrats on another successful year.

KarenO July 21, 2016 06:43 PM

Glad you are having another great year Mark. Showing us all how it`s done a way up North :) Good for you and you should build another greenhouse and expand.

Urbanheirlooms July 21, 2016 08:06 PM

It has really been cool to see how the markets in do in various parts of the country and world do. I am facisinated by the trends and various likes among people and markets. In my area, the typical markets have the R & R's and the upscale markets thrive on stripes, blacks and cool looking tomatoes.

Cole_Robbie July 21, 2016 11:08 PM

I'm still impressed that you get commercial production out of yellow brandywine. I've tried both the "plain" one and the Platfoot Strain. They have always been a metaphor for low production when I grow them.

Mat-Su Express is the best tasting red tomato I have ever grown. I get a lot of cat-facing from weather extremes, but I don't care if they sell - I'll eat them myself. Bradley was a close second in flavor. Yield wasn't huge, but the fruit were attractive and uniform.

I grew a ruffled pink this year, a Russian variety called 100 Pudov. It might fit well into your lineup.

Ricky Shaw July 21, 2016 11:23 PM

I was wondering if Mat-Su Express was pink from the Brandywine or the red from Bloody Butcher. And a potato leaf no doubt. Is it a stout plant Cole Robbie and did you prune? Thinking Mark took them to one or two stems.

Cole_Robbie July 21, 2016 11:46 PM

It grew similarly to the rest of my indeterminates. I pruned early on, but then quit. I think most of my cat-facing came from cold May nights that dipped into the high 40's.

Rebel Yell is another one you might like to try, Mark.

AKmark July 22, 2016 12:05 AM

Mat-Su Express
3 Attachment(s)
Ricky the largest part of the Mat-su line is red, but I did pull a pink selection out of the F2 and have been working on that version too. It is shaped like a smooth BW and taste is similar to BW , but it is a little smaller and quite a bit earlier.
I grew out a couple hundred plants to make good selections to get the line where it is currently. The project was originally meant to produce early smooth fruit BW types, but my main F2 selection was a very early mini red beefsteak that was mouth watering good/ exceptional, I did make a good choice it seems.
Another unique trait of the strain is many fruit tend to ripen at the same time on a truss, that was luck, but the trait seems to be captured. I have not had one complaint from people who have ate these, they are pretty complex tomatoes considering you get ripe tomatoes just a bit over 100 days from seed sprout, 102-108 to be exact.
I must add that AKSherry is responsible for helping with all of the crosses we are tinkering with, 15-20 or so. She is pretty good at doing the tiny flowers you find on many super early varieties, me, not as much patience. LOL.
Anyway, I will gift out as many F6 seeds as I can this fall for others to try in their areas.

The pic of the plants are not Mat-Su, I accidentally posted that one and don't know how to delete. It is Bloody Butcher X Dester, they are pretty good too. Sorry

AKmark July 22, 2016 12:38 AM

Cole, I have grown RY for a couple of years, and do like them, am making a cross with them too. LOL

AKmark July 22, 2016 02:57 AM

Yellow BW
2 Attachment(s)
Start with nice big starts, they just take awhile to get going Cole, but do produce well

zipcode July 22, 2016 07:45 AM

You need a GWR or preferably a green zebra type (more chance to sell those than plain gwr). Store bought mystery zebra has been the best tomato I've had, so there's clearly serious taste potential in there, will have to trial more.
It's tough to find a black tomato that isn't overly soft (they taste just fine when soft but it's likely people will just think it's way overripe), indian stripe kinda fits here better than others.

PureHarvest July 25, 2016 02:03 PM

Appreciate this thread. Already looking for next year myself.
I have a potential buyer for next year that can move the volume I want to grow (I need to move at least 40 single layer boxes per week to achieve my monetary goals).
Therefore, grading and packing them by size and having uniformity will be very important. I can't just dump a bunch of different sizes and shapes into the box to be able to work with the buyer.
I am waiting on word back for color variety as well as the size.
A current chef I sell to only wants fruit that would probably weigh around 9-12 ounces. Roughly between a baseball and a softball in size. They slice them for sandwiches and were scared by the size of the delicious. Not sure about the new buyer. I know he supplies 20 something restaurants weekly in NYC. Will find out soon if that is the same for him.
I assume I will grow a red, pink, orange/yellow, and something striped. Not sure if purple/cherokee purple will be required, as they are well known.
I will update when I hear back and value your opinions.
Catfacing, fused fruit, and stinkbugs absolutely killed my marketable fruit this year (maybe a 50% loss).
I can solve the stinkbugs with screening.
Hope to solve the catfacing with variety selection along with having endwalls and roll up sides on my tunnels next year to keep things warmer early on.
Also, my produce stand buyer only wants non-red heirlooms, so that also made it tough to move the large reds.
All good though, this was an experimental year to figure these things out. I didn't quit my day job and did not make a huge jump in number of plants from 2015.
Next year will be a major step, and I am glad to have taken some lumps now, instead of next year when there is more on the line.
Thanks to all TVers that have helped along the way.

AKmark July 25, 2016 03:10 PM

For heirloom, or OP varieties, Chapman and Crnkovic both threw nice fruit, no catafacing or cracks. YBW will catface in cooler weather, but the Platfoot strain is pretty smooth overall when it warms up. Look at Garden Treasure for a good hybrid that throws near perfect tomatoes. I grew one plant this year and they are good, and are round too.
Zipcode, I have grown Green Giant they taste great, but I can't sell that many, people want super tasty red, pink, or yellow-orange tomatoes up here, so I am done with those types. I want massive production of the above mentioned, or any super tasting, red, pink, orange that has nice fruit.

Cole_Robbie July 25, 2016 03:14 PM

Mark, have you grown Bradley? It had excellent flavor and uniform fruit for me this year.

Urbanheirlooms July 25, 2016 03:36 PM

Indian Stripe is well known for its flavor and all of my fruit this year is uniform & no blemishes. Size is right as well 8-12 oz. although I had a few germination issues with Beauty King, I was able to get three plants in the ground and the fruit is wonderful. Cool looks, good flavor and few blemishes.

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