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Bad luck getting homegrown tomatoes that taste homegrown!

Bad luck getting homegrown tomatoes that taste homegrown!


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Old 08-16-08, 11:18 AM
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Bad luck getting homegrown tomatoes that taste homegrown!

I jsut LOVE tomatoes with that real homegrown aroma and taste. I have had some in my life that have been so spectacular that they are memorable! I can tell right away if it meets my standards when I cut one open and smell it. If it smells like say a pumpkin rind, I know it is not going to taste much better than some store bought one. Usually the ones that have that certain tomato smell also have that acidy 'bite' to them, that I like.

I just bought more [Why more if I did not particularly care for the ones the first time? Because - someone I let eat these tomatoes is not AS discerning as me.] from the Hmong yesterday, grown locally and they looked good, and this morning I ate a nice soft one. And as soon as I cut it open, I noticed it did not have that good smell. It had that raw rind smell. Rats. And it did not taste very homegrown.

I have had better tasting hydroponic ones from the grocery store (the ones with those stickers on each one). But even THOSE vary where some taste homegrown and others do not!

Is this Russian roulette? Or are there secrets in knowing before you fork over the money? Do I need to ask what KIND fo tomato it is? What soil it was grown in? Or take my salt shaker with and eat one at the vegatable stand before buying any more? Maybe THAT is the answer! (That just came to me as I'm posting this). I'd have to pick a small one though, as some tomatoes cost $2+ each.

I haven't had one good tasting tomato all summer!

The best tomato I ever had was about 26 years ago and was grown in a pot out on a deck, in clay soil, believe it or not.
 
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Old 08-16-08, 11:45 AM
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I always found that the ones that look perfect (deep red, plump, symetrical and flaw free) have no taste at all. Or a sorta runny water off the top of the ketchup flavor.

I always look for "Product of USA", they normally haven't been shipped as far, therefore not picked as early, but thats very hit or miss. The "heirloom" type, you know, kinda speckled, spotty, or light orange, seem a bit better.

We don't have any farmers markets close by, unfortunately. I agree though, sometimes the pot grown are best. It's all in the original seed/starter and the soil conditions.
 
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Old 08-16-08, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Gunguy45 View Post
I always look for "Product of USA", they normally haven't been shipped as far, therefore not picked as early, but thats very hit or miss.
I think ones grown and shipped from almost anywhere for mass commercial dispersion, are going to be picked real early and perhaps gas ripened even? I have a feeling they could care less if they taste good. They just want to pick millions of them and make them available, to make money.

What I am going to start doing, out of my starting-to-learn surprise that many homegrown tomatoes do not taste all that homegrown, is to keep shopping around at stands, and when I hit a good one, go back and ask them what tomato type and how they grew it.
 
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Old 08-16-08, 12:52 PM
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I grow my own in the summer, but when I have to buy them, I always buy the vine tomatoes. I don't know if they sell them everywhere though. They come on vines and you leave them out (don't refridgerate) and they taste the closest to homegrown that I've ever come across. Another one is called "ugly tomato" and that's a close second.
 
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Old 08-16-08, 01:15 PM
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Bad luck getting homegrown tomatoes that taste homegrown!

Take a look at heritage tomato seeds. These are the preserved original types. - the fruit is not always big, fat and pretty.

The seeds and plants you usually buy are from hybreds developed to sell - look pretty, stay on stems, ship easily or last a long time. They have a wild range of properties, but usually flavor is not the key item, depending on your use.

Dick
 
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Old 08-16-08, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Shadeladie View Post
I grow my own in the summer, but when I have to buy them, I always buy the vine tomatoes. I don't know if they sell them everywhere though. They come on vines and you leave them out (don't refridgerate) and they taste the closest to homegrown that I've ever come across. Another one is called "ugly tomato" and that's a close second.
Hmmm. Ive TRIED them vine ones, that still have the vines attached to say a grouping of 3 of them. They are the most beautiful looking tomatoes at the store. But of the ones -I- have had(with my luck) - well, I prefer, of the store types, the hydroponic ones, as sometimes I have hit on them where THEY taste homegrown and have that aroma when you cut them open. Unfortunately, not always. Like maybe say - 20 % of the time, as some rough guess? And that is a mystery. I don't know if it is due to the batch? Or a different supplier, or what?
 
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Old 08-16-08, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Concretemasonry View Post
Take a look at heritage tomato seeds. Dick
Well, -I'm- not going to be growing any myself. The neighborkids and nearby poor people (there are some people who go door to door asking people for food, and extra cigarettes) will sneak and pick and eat them. Forget it. I'd go completely ballistic.

But I will see if I can find what types others are growing and see if any of them have them or have tried them.
 
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Old 08-16-08, 03:02 PM
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Homegrown tomatoes

I will always try and buy beefsteak plants if you want to grow your own. They have the heavenly smell and taste that you'll never forget.
When not growing your own: If I can't buy beefsteak in the grocery store, I buy the tomatoes on the vine. No matter what tomatoes you buy, always try and buy the more solid and firm ones if you don't need them that day, and let them sit out and ripen for a day or two. They will be better and not mushy. ;>
 
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Old 08-16-08, 03:45 PM
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Thanks for the latest info, fairies.
...........................................
I just got back from going to the Hmong vegatable stand again. I talked to the man of the house who was tending shop today. He said the varieties are Big Boy, Celebrity and Early Girl. He also had Roma, cherry, grape and these little round yellow tomatoes and some bigger yellow tomatoes. I talked with him a long time. I told him I hoped he did not think I was a kook from all my inquiry and sampling, while he watched me. Everytime I took a bite, he'd say "Good?----good?" Then I'd say, "WAIT a minute, I haven't hardly chewed it yet." Then he watched me smack my mouth in that sampling mannor. I waved my hand in a 'so- so' fashion, as to if they were good. I ate the nicely ripe Roma tomato, and he gave me his salt shaker. And I tried the 3 little teeny tomatoes and again waved my hand so, so. Then I bought some for a friend and after we chatted some I left.
 
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Old 08-17-08, 08:10 AM
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I find the best tasting tomatoes to be heirloom.

Growing tomatoes here in the mountains of Northeast Tennessee is a challenge and iffy. This summer the nights have been mostly cool and that seriously affects tomato growth and quality.

Other than Roma tomatoes, I grow for making salsa I grow only heirloom tomatoes. I purchase seeds from a reputable business and grow my own. I have bought plants locally in the past and often did not get what I should have.

I find the beefsteak varieties with German origin do best for me and have a taste to my liking. I especially like German Pink for fresh eating. I use juice from German Pinks as an ingredient in a BBQ sauce I make.

I plant Roma and German Pink every year and usually one or two other heirloom varieties. I have 25 plants this year and sadly, they are not producing enough for eating, salsa, canning and give away. Nights this year are just too cool.
 
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Old 08-18-08, 06:24 AM
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Airman,

If your varieties of tomatoes ripen about the same time?, have you done side by side taste tests to determine which is the best for just carving up and eating? And which variety has the most acidic bite to it?
 
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Old 08-18-08, 08:39 AM
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This year I grew Heirlooms, Big Boys and Beefsteak and I like all 3, and all 3 can be cut up and eaten as is, IMO. Some people will have their preferences, but I don't think you can go wrong with any of these.
 
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Old 08-20-08, 05:55 AM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
Airman,

If your varieties of tomatoes ripen about the same time?, have you done side by side taste tests to determine which is the best for just carving up and eating? And which variety has the most acidic bite to it?
The varieties I grow ripen about the same time. I taste test compare each year as much as I can. What I like may not be what others like. I am not keen on a highly acidic tomato and I do not care for a low acid tomato. The German Pink is not well suited for canning. It breaks down when cooked but the taste imparted to what I cook cannot be found in a canning style tomato. If I want pieces of tomato, I just add one of the canners to the recipe along with the German Pink.

I have been on my tomato quest here in Northeast Tennessee for eight years. In the eight years, I have been growing and analyzing the tomatoes I grow the overwhelming fact is WEATHER and soil. I grew up in the low country of South Carolina and there you can grow some very good if not great tomatoes. Summers in SC are hot and humid 100/100, which results in lots of tomatoes. As far as taste quality goes, I think the climate here in Northeast Tennessee produces a better German variety tomato.

A few years ago, I purchased and grew a plant labeled simply Beefsteak, which is a class, as I understand not a variety. It produced large meaty ribbed deep red tomatoes. I regret I did not save seeds. Since, I have purchased from the same individual what I am told is the same tomato and it came out different.

My Brandywines are terrible this year. The taste is just not there and texture is not as firm as in the past. Nighttime temperatures have been in the 50ís and even 40ís much of the summer. I am sure this is the problem. The German Pinks are not plentiful but size and quality is excellent.

I have way too many interests and only focus on tomatoes during my planning stage usually in January. I have yet to find a document, etc. to help me understand tomato classifications. When I think I understand, something comes along to change my understanding. As I understand tomatoes, the heirloom classes are beefsteak, ox heart, paste/drying, salad and plum. These classes are based on shape, as I understand. I do not know anything about hybrids, as I do not grow them. Within the classes are many varieties, e.g.

Probably way more than I needed to say but that is my experience.
 
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Old 08-20-08, 06:19 AM
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Bad luck getting homegrown tomatoes that taste homegrown!

ecman -

If you know the Hmong or where he will be, buy seeds for two different heritage varieties and give them to him.

If he is like the Hmong around here, he will appreciate the seeds and might even give you some of the tomatoes he grew from them. - A cheap and easy way to try a known heritage variety next year.

I have seen Hmoung city yards with all vegetables and without one weed. They may also have sweet corn growing on the narrow boulevard between the sidewalk and street. They get two crops (peas or beans and corn) per year out of that small area (sometimes a hill of cucumbers or pumpkins is added between rows).

In the suburbs, they usually rent 1/2 acre lots from the city. In your area, the lots have good soil, are not flat and have to water, so it must be carried. At this time of the year, they look like a jungle because they work the soil and carry the water. They can grow anything because of the desire and traditions. In the fall, just before the snow, the rented plot is spotless and tilled to accept the winter moisture. I have no idea how much they get from the soil, but they use every inch and use mutiple crops in the same space. It is amazing to watch how they hoe behind them as they leave a row and loosen the soil instead of compacting it.

Dick
 
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Old 08-20-08, 04:22 PM
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Dick,

Good suggestion, but they pulled up stakes. I wonder if the farmers market downtown is still going, certain days. They are down there too. I'll have to see, because I want to try more tomatoes out yet this year.

If I find that it is still going on, I will try your suggestion and try to find the seeds and give them to one (or some) of them.

Sure is odd with the tomatoes I have gotten so far. They can even be the same kind of tomato of equal ripeness. And one has that half-way decent tomatoey smell/flavor and the next one may not. I paid $2 a pound, on the head.

Is the heritage tomato the same as the heirloom tomato, exactly, or are they in the same family group? My friend told me the best tomato he ever tasted was an heirloom.
 
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Old 08-20-08, 06:09 PM
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They are the same, I just errored in my terminology.

Dick
 
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Old 08-21-08, 06:37 AM
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Why don't these stands then have these kinds of tomatoes as their main staple? Aren't they as hardy to grow? Don't they can as well? Are they more predisposed to rot or? or don't they look as pretty?

My one friend said they often do not have that real round plump look.

Last night I had 2 more of the Hmong tomatoes ("early bird" variety) and they had that pumpkin rind smell again and the only reason they tasted halfway okay was the fact I had all that salt on them.
 
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Old 08-24-08, 04:40 PM
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Update:

While grocery shopping yesterday evening, I bought a nice red juicy, perfect looking soft, ready to eat, stickered hydroponic tomato. Then at home I cut it up and smelled it. Smelled real raw. Forget it! I had some and let the rest set on my counter to get thrown out in the woods!

So I went back today and bought more of those tomatoes i've been getting. Last night not only did I slice up that junk hydroponic one, that LOOKED so pretty, but I sliced some of the other ones up and did a side by side smell and taste test. At least the ones I got from that stand might rate as an 8 or 8.5 in my book. But I'm also sharing them with a neighbor who thinks they are quite good.

So I bought $9 more worth this afternoon.
 
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Old 08-25-08, 02:15 PM
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Wink

I guess I'm just lucky. There's no comparison; the ones from the garden are WAY tastier.
 
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Old 08-28-08, 06:35 AM
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I've been buying the tomatoes from the same party. Last time I said I bought $9 worth. I got some "early birds" (these are smaller (like 2 1/2 inch diameter, perfectly spherical), and then also got some giant ones (4 inches or so) that sort of have humps around where the stem is.

I had two of those last night. They were 10's! How 'bout that! I knew as soon as I cut them open and smelled them. They were soft, yet firm, bright red, no skin imperfections. They had that acid bite I like. Yum!

Now here comes another question: I over-buy too many tomatoes out of fear the vendor will pack up and not have their stand anymore for the year, or have the tomatoes picked over from the days before, etc.. I get home only to find several tomatoes, that barely had time to FULLY ripen, with splotches, like rot forming at bruises, even though they were absolutely flawless looking/firm when I bought them just a few days ago. Aaaarrggghhh!

So, will those special 'green bags' you can buy, that stop ethylene gas, or whatever, help me out to preserve them longer? I have been told one of the supercenters sells these.
 
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Old 10-19-08, 07:57 PM
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Ecman, I know it's late in the season for this, but I thought you might like to read up on different tomatoes and how many are supposed to taste. I would think your best chance to get some of these would be to go to a farmer's market or organic food store. I think Whole Foods carries organic and heirloom tomatoes.
http://www.heirloomtomatoes.bizland.com/varieties.htm

This site also describes the taste of many of the heirloom tomatoes.
http://swallowtailgardenseeds.com/veggies/heirloom.html

More info on heirlooms.
http://nctomatoman.topcities.com/Off...ig/OTV_9_2.htm
http://nctomatoman.topcities.com/Off...V10ignored.htm
http://nctomatoman.topcities.com/Off...ig/OTV3FAV.htm

Newt
 
 

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