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Old December 28, 2018   #1
GardenofHope
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Default Best RED heirloom/op tomatoes for farmers market

Friends,
Since discovering all the incredible colors and shapes of tomatoes, I’ve grown very few “red baseballs”. Too many others to try.

However, I have a cousin who’s a strawberry farmer who is looking to add tomatoes for July/August at the farmers market when their strawberries aren’t fruiting. If the goal is to sell them to a generally uninformed public, I suggested their primary crop be red and round, with a smaller number of the fantastic others for adventurous customers. After digging through tons of threads for recommendations, I thought I’d just ask. What are you favorite red, round tomatoes for market that actually have taste and are fairly highly productive?

Thanks!
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Old December 28, 2018   #2
Labradors2
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For fantastic taste and productivity, I would go with Bulgarian Triumph. The tomatoes are perfectly round and it is also compact enough to do well in tomato cages. What's not to love? .


Linda
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Old December 28, 2018   #3
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Old December 28, 2018   #4
Cole_Robbie
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Bradley, Chapman, Cosmonaut Volkov, Mat-Su Express, Rebel Yell.

I would not be afraid to mix in varieties that are pink. A lot of them look red, and people still buy them. You might also include a heart, like Wes, or a ruffled shoulder variety. I had a variety I liked called Mr Bruno with slightly ruffled shoulders. It was a good seller.

As a side note, green when ripe varieties hardly ever sell for me, but having a box of them on the table makes a striking conversation piece. Lucinda is one gwr that would sell, because it has stripes, I think. No one buys a gwr that looks like an unripe red tomato.
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Old December 28, 2018   #5
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GardenofHope, what a great photo! What is the bell-pepper-shaped variety in the foreground?

To the others mentioned, I would also add Cyrill's Choice. Easily managed plants, prolific and tasty fruits, on the smaller side but pretty and blemish free.
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Old December 28, 2018   #6
GardenofHope
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MdTNGrdner View Post
GardenofHope, what a great photo! What is the bell-pepper-shaped variety in the foreground?

To the others mentioned, I would also add Cyrill's Choice. Easily managed plants, prolific and tasty fruits, on the smaller side but pretty and blemish free.
It’s Striped Cavern, and the similarities to pepper are more than outside shape. It’s a strikingly beautiful hollow variety for stuffing. Despite its beauty, the flavor is pretty bland, and production is ok at best. I had a hard time having enough ripe at once from 2 plants to stuff and make a meal, so I quit growing them. It does make a fun conversation piece. 😂
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Old December 28, 2018   #7
Koala Doug
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What about Wisconsin 55?

Maybe Gulf State Market (or the earlier tomato that it was developed from: Early Detroit)?


All of those tomatoes are red fleshed and open pollinated heirloom varieties. And they have a fairly uniform round/globe shape with a pretty consistent size of around 5-7 oz per tomato.






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Old December 28, 2018   #8
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I hope that AKmark adds his thoughts to this thread -- he seems to do selling in a big way.

Here's a video from a market gardener that your cousin might find informative:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4C-2eMIg10

Your cousin might also want to contact Johnny's Selected Seeds -- since their main thrust is to supply market gardeners, they are in a position to provide good recommendations.

-GG

Last edited by Greatgardens; December 29, 2018 at 06:39 AM.
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Old December 28, 2018   #9
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Thanks! It is lovely, but given that it's a hollow variety I doubt I would grow it... there are too many others to keep us busy, eh?
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Old December 28, 2018   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GardenofHope View Post
Friends,
Since discovering all the incredible colors and shapes of tomatoes, I’ve grown very few “red baseballs”. Too many others to try.

However, I have a cousin who’s a strawberry farmer who is looking to add tomatoes for July/August at the farmers market when their strawberries aren’t fruiting. If the goal is to sell them to a generally uninformed public, I suggested their primary crop be red and round, with a smaller number of the fantastic others for adventurous customers. After digging through tons of threads for recommendations, I thought I’d just ask. What are you favorite red, round tomatoes for market that actually have taste and are fairly highly productive?

Thanks!
I see your role as helping to educate them as to the various possibilities. In that regard IMO I wouldn't agree that the primary crop be red and round.

You then said a smaller number of the fantastic others for adventurous customers.

So with that comment can I assume that anything goes as to color, fruit shape,striped or non striped ones, leaf shape, early,mid season or late season, yield etc.?

And where is taste? Lots of variables there that have been discussed here at Tville many times. I'm one of many here who wants to grow tomatoes that taste great.

I'm just trying to get a handle on this before I try to answer.

Carolyn
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Old December 28, 2018   #11
GardenofHope
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carolyn137 View Post
I see your role as helping to educate them as to the various possibilities. In that regard IMO I wouldn't agree that the primary crop be red and round.

You then said a smaller number of the fantastic others for adventurous customers.

So with that comment can I assume that anything goes as to color, fruit shape,striped or non striped ones, leaf shape, early,mid season or late season, yield etc.?

And where is taste? Lots of variables there that have been discussed here at Tville many times. I'm one of many here who wants to grow tomatoes that taste great.

I'm just trying to get a handle on this before I try to answer.

Carolyn

Carolyn,


I grow 20-30 varieties a year. I run a community garden, and I use them to teach kids and adults about biodiversity. I grow some red tomatoes, but flavor is my #1 criteria, with uniqueness of color/shape/size #2. My 60ish plants yield more than we can eat/can and I give away bunches to ladies at church.


My acquaintances who sell at the farmer's market are primarily concerned with sales. From what I've learned from them, good tasting red round are still the best sellers, though there is interest in others.



I'll probably gift my cousin 20 or so plants that are "interesting" including some of your introductions... things like Opalka, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Speckled Roman, Great White Blues, Brad's Atomic Grape, Israeli, Livingston's Yellow Oxheart, Barry's Crazy Cherry, etc. so he'll have a selection of unique things.



What he'll need to buy to grow out is red/round. Taste is his #1 criteria, which is why he asked me, with shape/crack resistance #2. Unfortunately, other than some pink brandywines and a handful of oxhearts, I haven't grown red round in years.



Of the suggestions in this thread, Bulgarian Triumph is probably the most like what he's looking for. Your suggestions are appreciated! Thanks for your help!

Last edited by GardenofHope; December 28, 2018 at 09:03 PM.
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Old December 28, 2018   #12
jtjmartin
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I am not a market grower but . . . I would add:

George Detsika's Italian Red and Red Barn for great tasting baseball-like tomatoes.

Jeff
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Old December 28, 2018   #13
rhines81
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GardenofHope View Post
What he'll need to buy to grow out is red/round. Taste is his #1 criteria, which is why he asked me, with shape/crack resistance #2. Unfortunately, other than some pink brandywines and a handful of oxhearts, I haven't grown red round in years.

Of the suggestions in this thread, Bulgarian Triumph is probably the most like what he's looking for. Your suggestions are appreciated! Thanks for your help!
The pink Brandywines that I have grown are usually pretty gnarly looking (maybe just the particular seed source I use, but taste great). Oxhearts can be attractive but not really round - I tend to use them more for sauces than for eating.
As Greatgardens mentioned earlier, Johnny's (not necessarily the cheapest) might be a good source for your cousin. I've been considering trying the following for myself.

https://www.johnnyseeds.com/vegetabl...matoes#start=1

Edit: Just to add, I have never even heard of these until this year, so I do not know how they substantiate their claim that they are "The most widely-grown market tomato in the East and Midwest".

Last edited by rhines81; December 28, 2018 at 09:29 PM.
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Old December 29, 2018   #14
FarmerShawn
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I've had great success with Red Brandywine Landis Valley and Druzba, both red, round, medium, productive, tasty tomatoes.
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Old December 29, 2018   #15
HudsonValley
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I don't grow for market, but if I did, I'd probably choose some of the old commercial and canning varieties like John Baer, Marhio, Marglobe, etc. Treated well, they can be very, very productive and they hold for a couple of days. I don't usually get cracking on these varieties. They taste good, too -- my older relatives/colleagues/friends tell me they taste like tomatoes used to taste. I might also try Eva Purple Ball, which tends to be blemish-free; not sure how well it keeps.
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