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Old December 26, 2019   #1
hornstrider
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Default OPALKA or San Marzano

I grew San Marzano last year with much success. I have tried OPALKA once, and I had a problem with BER. San Marzano not so much. (BER). Which variety is better for canning? Thanks in advance.
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Old December 26, 2019   #2
Tormato
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How much room do you have to experiment with varieties?


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Old December 26, 2019   #3
hornstrider
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I have room for 50 plants. Last year I grew 6 San Marzano tomato plants. They were very prolific. Did very well I only had minimal BER damage. I plan to grow more this year along with OPALKA. Which one is better??

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Old December 26, 2019   #4
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My experience with them has been that San Marzano is dry and sometimes hollow. Opalka, Jersey Devil, etc. are more dense and juicy enough that you could eat them fresh (but no where near as "watery" juicy like a slicing variety). It all depends on how thick you want your sauce and how much cooking down you want to do.
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Old December 27, 2019   #5
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Originally Posted by hornstrider View Post
I have room for 50 plants. Last year I grew 6 San Marzano tomato plants. They were very prolific. Did very well I only had minimal BER damage. I plan to grow more this year along with OPALKA. Which one is better??

I wouldn't know, as I've never trialed San Marzano, and I've never canned Opalka.


What I like about Opalka is that while it is not a "great" tasting fresh tomato, it has never lost its "good" flavor due to prolonged rains, in my garden. So, when the great tasting tomatoes go bland in those weather conditions, there is Opalka to save the day. I get a good crop that matures very late (80, or more, DTM).



Father's Daughter is likely one of the experts on paste/canning varieties here at T'ville, as I've sent her an innumerable (in a hyperbolic sense) amount of varieties.
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Old December 27, 2019   #6
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I'd say one of many experienced paste growers here, but certainly not an expert. Trying though! And I did find quite a few gems in those giant raviolis from Tormato that used to appear annually in my mailbox...

My earlier attempts with pastes were riddled with BER. I was even having it appear in a few slicers. In recent years we added a drip irrigation system to my raised beds that runs off our irrigation controller, and I've tried very hard to stay on a regular fertilizing schedule. Between the consistent watering and regular fertilizing, I very rarely see BER anymore.
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Old December 27, 2019   #7
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Originally Posted by Father'sDaughter View Post
I'd say one of many experienced paste growers here, but certainly not an expert. Trying though! And I did find quite a few gems in those giant raviolis from Tormato that used to appear annually in my mailbox...

My earlier attempts with pastes were riddled with BER. I was even having it appear in a few slicers. In recent years we added a drip irrigation system to my raised beds that runs off our irrigation controller, and I've tried very hard to stay on a regular fertilizing schedule. Between the consistent watering and regular fertilizing, I very rarely see BER anymore.
I am going to try several paste tomatoes and was worried about BER. I think you answered my question. I was wondering if they were light feeders and it was commonly induced, or if the needed more Ca, a lack of, or maybe watering issues that people had. Right on!
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Old December 28, 2019   #8
KarenO
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For myself, I prefer some of the larger varieties. I find both of those have fruit that are quite small
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Old December 28, 2019   #9
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Have you tried Romeo Roma?
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Old December 28, 2019   #10
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Karen- my opalka's are 5 to 7" inches long and about 3" in diameter, what variety do you like that would be larger?
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Old December 28, 2019   #11
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I have grown Opalka, a few San Marzano varieties, and maybe 15-20 other paste varieties. Not an exhaustive list.

As of now, our Marzano Fire seems to be faring well in comparison to other paste varieties.

It seems to be much better than average at avoiding BER. And Tomatoville consensus seems to be starting to suggest that it is pretty good, particularly in cool/marginal growing conditions.

It is our go-to variety and we are happy enough with it to have stopped trying to develop another paste tomato.

It is an OP.
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Old December 28, 2019   #12
KarenO
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Quote:
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Karen- my opalka's are 5 to 7" inches long and about 3" in diameter, what variety do you like that would be larger?
Well Dan, every tomato you grow is big
Mine were smaller and quite late which might account for part of the trouble. I find the small guys are more susceptible to BER for me so I look for bigger
Earlier and quite a bit bigger for me was Polish linguisa, and last year I tried abbatista which was also quite early for its type with large meaty fruit. Another blocky lobed one I’ve grown that did well is Ardwyna. Some call that a heart but for m a very solid blocky lobed paste tomato
I got away from growing many pastes in favour of hearts in general and the majority of my “ paste space” has been taken up recently by a project I have of stabilizing an Oddly solid and dry grocery store hybrid. I’m starting another project this year as well. Fred’s Marzano fire looks great....! I better add that to the list to try as well.
If I was choosing between just Opalka and san Marzano I would grow Opalka but in a hot Texas season there is likely no comparison to my area. In general, choose bigger for less BER in my opinion (and I hate peeling little ones too)
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Old December 28, 2019   #13
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Karen, if you have a vitamix or very good strong blender, no peeling. Or a food mill or screen attachment for a grinder - I think a member named Tom has used that before for getting rid of the skins.


I think I prefer the taste of the Marzano, but mostly like hearts for saucing. I'll use almost any tomato though if needed.
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Old December 28, 2019   #14
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Quote:
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Karen, if you have a vitamix or very good strong blender, no peeling. Or a food mill or screen attachment for a grinder - I think a member named Tom has used that before for getting rid of the skins.


I think I prefer the taste of the Marzano, but mostly like hearts for saucing. I'll use almost any tomato though if needed.



I seeded, but left the skins on, one batch of tomatoes last year for sauce. Then ran it through the Vitamix.



In the words of The Simpson's Comic Book Guy, WRST...SAUCE...EVER.
Maybe I'm just one of those rare super-tasters.


Ohh, and I'm really, really, really staying away from the Vitamix, for the moment.


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Old December 28, 2019   #15
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I'm firmly in the no seeds/no skins camp. I've been using the grinder/strainer attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer and it works great for the volume I do.

You do need to cut the tomatoes up prior to feeding them through, so some of us will need to get better with knife handling.... after the current wounds heal
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