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Which Tomato Plant Type or Class Should I Select?

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TOMATO TYPES: Which Type of tomato is your favorite?

  Buy Beefsteak Tomato's BEEFSTEAK
Huge and enticing late season marvels, the classic beefsteak tomato is what tomato dreams are made of. Some are true to type and do not quite weigh a pound while others in this family might weigh in at well over two pounds. Often, ribbed, bumpy, flattened and irregular, they are found in all the colors of the veggie rainbow (and even striped and with blue shoulders). The beefsteak is truly the hallmark of the heirloom set. Use a sturdy stake or cage for support and be patient for these, as most will be on your plate (or ready for just a pinch of salt) later in the summer.
 
 
  Buy Slicer Tomatoes SLICERS (Globes)
Imagine this sliced to perfection and laying over your burger or mixed in your salad, partnered with burrata or in your BLT. Sure, you could use most any tomato for those purposes, but these will be gorgeous symmetrical round slices that will never disappoint on the plate. Slicer tomato's range in size from six ounces to over a pound, you might even call some of these ‘family sized’. The classics in this "chef’s tomato” division are red but dare to experiment with other tasty and colorful choices!
 
 
  Buy Oxheart Tomatoes OXHEARTS
An under-appreciated lot, the oxhearts are perhaps the heftiest tomatoes in this delicious clan. Meaty, with little juice and few seeds, these are the perfect sauce tomato, while that award is often thought to be garnered by some of their smaller kin. (That said, we almost hate to have you bury these beauties in a sauce as they fully eclipse the roma-types in the taste category) Heavy fruit is usually borne on wispy plants that belie the heavy fruit to come. No two tomatoes in your oxheart harvest will ever be the same shape or size. And yes, the name derives from the bull’s heart form of the biggest of these monsters.
 
 
  Buy Saladette Tomatoes SALADETTES
Cute, round and colorful, we think these get this moniker as much from their vivid color as from their size and symmetry. Most will fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. A saladette tomato, cut longitudinally, makes four perfect sections just ripe for installation on top of your favorite summer salad greens. Some are sweeter, some in this class are tangier, but all add life to our daily dinner plates. Fire up your summer salads with a host of these varieties, all known to be more willing in the production department than many of their larger garden counterparts.
 
 
  Buy Roma Tomatoes ROMA or PASTE
These tomatoes have a job to do. They are thick-walled, boast few seeds, are drier rather than juicy and have thick skins. All that makes them super easy to process and perfect for use in sauces, pastes or other stewed tomato recipes. They run the gamut from smooth and cylindrical to odd and pointed. San Marzano and Roma are the classics but there are now many who can match their production and practicality. Most roma-types are determinate, meaning they are designed to ripen all at once (or they hold well on the plant) so you can harvest lots at one time and proceed to make your favorite recipe, sauce, soup or other kitchen concoction.
 
 
  Buy Cherry Tomatoes CHERRIES
Oh the sweetness and the joy! Huge trusses of bright little orbs become snacks on the way to the kitchen for many of us but in truth are as useful in the kitchen as many of their larger compatriots. Highest of all the tomatoes in sugar content, they can even be used to sweeten sauces and stews. Vibrant colors, some stripes and blue blushes are found all over this class. Some plants are stout, some will trail on forever and produce over a long, long season. Use them everywhere!
 
 
  Buy Grape Tomatoes GRAPES
An elongated (some might say exaggerated) version of the cherry class, these can be one to four inches long and often are adorned with stripes and multi-colors. Useful for cooking when you want just a bit more taste to come to the party, these will go further in your salads, salsas and such as well. Their unique shapes make them as pleasing to the eye as they are on the palette.
 
 

TOMATO CLASS: Which class is your tomato?

  Buy Heirloom Tomatoes HEIRLOOM
Plant an heirloom seed and it will grow and produce exactly the same fruit as the season before, when the seed was saved. That’s the essence of an heirloom tomato. These are time-honored varieties, some centuries old, that are valued and highly regarded for taste, shape, sturdiness or overall performance. Heirlooms are very literally that, and these tomatoes of legend were hidden away in a hem or a treasure box and shared generation to generation as a valued memory of a home or homeland. It’s like growing an antique or a little part of history right in your own garden. To fit in this category the named variety must have been introduced prior to 1940.
 
 
  Buy Hybrid Tomatoes HYBRID
A hybrid tomato is a deliberate cross between two parent plants chosen for their outstanding qualities: taste, size, color, disease resistance or sturdiness. Just like in horse racing or the dog show world, the hope is to create offspring or progeny that exhibit the better or desired qualities of each parent. Sometimes this is referred to as “hybrid vigor”. We’ve enjoyed classic hybrids as long as tomatoes have been a part of our world. The seed, from an F1 hybrid, however, will normally revert to one of the parents when planted in a second generation so it is “unstable" seed.
 
 
  Buy Open - Pollinated Tomatoes OPEN - POLLINATED
Open pollinated seeds or varieties are usually the result of a natural or field cross that is then deemed worthy and selected in subsequent generations for the identical type, color, size etc. After multiple generations, generally 7-9, of selection the seed is “stabilized” and will produce only the desired tomato. This performance in a new tomato does not qualify it as an heirloom. It’s generally accepted in the tomato world that to qualify as an heirloom the variety must have been introduced before 1940. Thus, many hybridizers today use the term open-pollinated to describe a tomato that has heirloom qualities but is not an old and established variety.
 
 
  Buy Stabilized Cross Tomatoes STABILIZED CROSS
A cross suggests a deliberate breeding of two parent plants to receive a desired result. This then would be a new and amazing tomato that hits the desired mark and is then “de-hybridized” or stabilized by fruit and seed selection over the aforementioned 7-9 generations to produce seed that is 100% true in subsequent generations. It may look, taste and perform like an heirloom but does not have all the requisite qualifications.
 
Buy Beefsteak Tomatoes
BEEFSTEAK
Huge and enticing late season marvels, the classic beefsteak tomato is what tomato dreams are made of. Some are true to type and do not quite weigh a pound while others in this family might weigh in at well over two pounds. Often, ribbed, bumpy, flattened and irregular, they are found in all the colors of the veggie rainbow (and even striped and with blue shoulders). The beefsteak is truly the hallmark of the heirloom set. Use a sturdy stake or cage for support and be patient for these, as most will be on your plate (or ready for just a pinch of salt) later in the summer.
Buy Slicer Tomatoes
SLICERS (Globes)
Imagine this sliced to perfection and laying over your burger or mixed in your salad, partnered with burrata or in your BLT. Sure, you could use most any tomato for those purposes, but these will be gorgeous symmetrical round slices that will never disappoint on the plate. Ranging in size from six ounces to over a pound, you might even call some of these ‘family sized’. The classics in this "chef’s tomato” division are red but dare to experiment with other tasty and colorful choices!
Buy Ohxearts Tomatoes
OHXEARTS
An under-appreciated lot, the oxhearts are perhaps the heftiest tomatoes in this delicious clan. Meaty, with little juice and few seeds, these are the perfect sauce tomato, while that award is often thought to be garnered by some of their smaller kin. (That said, we almost hate to have you bury these beauties in a sauce as they fully eclipse the roma-types in the taste category) Heavy fruit is usually borne on wispy plants that belie the heavy fruit to come. No two tomatoes in your oxheart harvest will ever be the same shape or size. And yes, the name derives from the bull’s heart form of the biggest of these monsters.
Buy Saladettes Tomatoes
SALADETTES
Cute, round and colorful, we think these get this moniker as much from their vivid color as from their size and symmetry. Most will fit perfectly in the palm of your hand. A saladette tomato, cut longitudinally, makes four perfect sections just ripe for installation on top of your favorite summer salad greens. Some are sweeter, some in this class are tangier, but all add life to our daily dinner plates. Fire up your summer salads with a host of these varieties, all known to be more willing in the production department than many of their larger garden counterparts.
Buy Roma Tomatoes
ROMA or PASTE
These tomatoes have a job to do. They are thick-walled, boast few seeds, are drier rather than juicy and have thick skins. All that makes them super easy to process and perfect for use in sauces, pastes or other stewed tomato recipes. They run the gamut from smooth and cylindrical to odd and pointed. San Marzano and Roma are the classics but there are now many who can match their production and practicality. Most roma-types are determinate, meaning they are designed to ripen all at once (or they hold well on the plant) so you can harvest lots at one time and proceed to make your favorite recipe, sauce, soup or other kitchen concoction.
Buy Cherry Tomatoes
CHERRIES
Oh the sweetness and the joy! Huge trusses of bright little orbs become snacks on the way to the kitchen for many of us but in truth are as useful in the kitchen as many of their larger compatriots. Highest of all the tomatoes in sugar content, they can even be used to sweeten sauces and stews. Vibrant colors, some stripes and blue blushes are found all over this class. Some plants are stout, some will trail on forever and produce over a long, long season. Use them everywhere!
Buy Grape Tomatoes
GRAPES
An elongated (some might say exaggerated) version of the cherry class, these can be one to four inches long and often are adorned with stripes and multi-colors. Useful for cooking when you want just a bit more taste to come to the party, these will go further in your salads, salsas and such as well. Their unique shapes make them as pleasing to the eye as they are on the palette.

TOMATO CLASS: Which class is your tomato?

Buy Heirloom Tomatoes
HEIRLOOM
Plant an heirloom seed and it will grow and produce exactly the same fruit as the season before, when the seed was saved. Hence, it is TRUE from seed or sometimes called a stabilized seed. That’s the essence of an heirloom tomato. These are time-honored varieties, some centuries old, that are valued and highly regarded for taste, shape, sturdiness or overall performance. Heirlooms are very literally that, and these tomatoes of legend were hidden away in a hem or a treasure box and shared generation to generation as a valued memory of a home or homeland. It’s like growing an antique or a little part of history right in your own garden. To fit in this category the named variety must have been introduced prior to 1940.
Buy Hybrid Tomatoes
HYBRID
A hybrid tomato is a deliberate cross between two parent plants chosen for their outstanding qualities: taste, size, color, disease resistance or sturdiness. Just like in horse racing or the dog show world, the hope is to create offspring or progeny that exhibit the better or desired qualities of each parent. Sometimes this is referred to as “hybrid vigor”. We’ve enjoyed classic hybrids as long as tomatoes have been a part of our world. The seed, from an F1 hybrid, however, will normally revert to one of the parents when planted in a second generation so it is “unstable" seed.
Buy Open - Pollinated Tomatoes
OPEN - POLLINATED
Open pollinated seeds or varieties are usually the result of a natural or field cross that is then deemed worthy and selected in subsequent generations for the identical type, color, size etc. After multiple generations, generally 7-9, of selection the seed is “stabilized” and will produce only the desired tomato. This performance in a new tomato does not qualify it as an heirloom. It’s generally accepted in the tomato world that to qualify as an heirloom the variety must have been introduced before 1940. Thus, many hybridizers today use the term open-pollinated to describe a tomato that has heirloom qualities but is not an old and established variety.
Buy Stabilized Cross Tomatoes
STABILIZED CROSS
A cross suggests a deliberate breeding of two parent plants to receive a desired result. This then would be a new and amazing tomato that hits the desired mark and is then “de-hybridized” or stabilized by fruit and seed selection over the aforementioned 7-9 generations to produce seed that is 100% true in subsequent generations. It may look, taste and perform like an heirloom but does not have all the requisite qualifications.