"Recommendations are tough. Everyone has their own idea about what tomato tastes best. What I like personally is something with a little bit more acidy bite than the typical American palate, so I am careful when I taste tomatoes for my breeding program to have at least one other person around when I am selecting to make sure I am not biasing the selection." That's where I came in.
Liedl's two awesome assistants, Kristen Wilfong and Melissa Smith, have already chosen tomatoes to be tasted. They are marked with a Sharpie so they know which plant produced the beauties. They then measure them for size. They check the color using an expensive meter. They take a reading that measures soluble sugar. Then, they slice. (I love this greenhouse - three of its most important tools are a knife, a cutting board and a box of unsalted crackers!)
I tasted several tomatoes that were quite good. One called First Prize was aptly named, as it was great.
I never thought I could hate a tomato. But, being brave, I taste-tested one even after I saw Liedl grimace after her bite. It was awful!
The tomatoes I tasted were greenhouse wonders and most of us don't grow them like Liedl does. So, I still wanted to know which ones I should put in my little home plot. Liedl admits she doesn't grow any tomatoes at home. Check out the list with some favorites of Liedl's staff from the past few years of working in the greenhouse and in the field.
Tomato suggestions from the experts
These tomatoes are favorites of Dr. Barbara Liedl's staff from the past several years. They are suitable for growing outdoors, not just in a greenhouse setting.
Large, red: Delicious, Terrific, Jetsetter. The staff also like greenhouse tomato lines Cabernet and Caruso, which may not be adapted to field conditions.
Large, orange: Orange King was one tried for the Organic Seed Partnership last summer and was a big hit.
Saladette or large grape: The staff loved Juliet Hybrid in the field last summer.
Heirlooms: Lots of people say Brandywine is the best. The staff hasn't been impressed with Brandywine. However, some of the hybrids grown last year with it were the best of that bunch, so the staff is continuing on with it. Liedl recommends the book by Carolyn J. Male, Smith & Hawken: "100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden."
Various colors: The staff hasn't found a yellow tomato it all likes, but not many were tried. The staff has also had bad luck with the "purple" tomatoes, Cherokee Purple and Prudens Purple.