Note to readers: attached is complete final report for FNE01-355.
This project evaluated 38 varieties of heirloom tomatoes under typical organic market farm management at two locations and in an unheated high tunnel. Jeremy and Don were looking for varieties in each of several color classes that had high yields of marketable fruit and good flavor. The color classes included yellow/orange, black/purple, yellow/green, bi-color (yellow with red stripes), and pink tomatoes.
Considerable variation in variety performance and between color classes of tomatoes occurred between locations. In general, the highest yields were obtained from the varieties in the bi-color class because individual fruits are large. Jeremy and Don pointed out that these large fruit can be difficult to sell at a premium retail price. The yellow/orange color class had the second highest yields. Every color class had some varieties with excellent flavor and some that were not flavorful. The pink tomatoes seemed to be most affected by the drought conditions experienced at one of the locations.
Ten varieties from several color classes were grown in an unheated high tunnel. The first harvest from these varieties was three weeks earlier than field tomatoes with a higher percentage of fruit ripening in the first three weeks of the harvest period. Fruit quality and marketable yield was higher than the field grown tomatoes.