Tomato Taste-off, October 2012

Objective: To determine the best tasting tomato varieties grown in the demo garden in 2012.

In 2012, 7 varieties of tomatoes were planted in the Demonstration Garden. Although we were interested in tomato yield for each variety, we also wanted to know how taste compared among them.

On October 1, after 3 months of continuous sunny warm weather, 8 volunteers sat down and participated in a blind taste test – i.e., tomato samples were numbered rather than named so volunteers did not know (for sure) what varieties they were tasting. Each tomato variety was rated on seven tomato characteristics: sweetness, acidity, texture, juiciness, color, skin thickness, and overall taste.  The rating scale was 1 to 3, with 1 representing the lowest or least desirable and 3 representing the highest or most desirable condition of that characteristic. Only skin thickness had a scale of 1 or 2 (thick or thin).

Varieties that we tasted were Dona, Early Girl, Jaune Flamme, Lemon Boy, Momotaro, Striped Roman, Sungold, and Ultimate Opener.  Jaune Flamme was from a home garden and both grafted and nongrafted Momotaros were tasted. 

The data were summarized for the following graphs by averaging the ratings of the 8 volunteers for each characteristic for each variety. 

The main conclusions that we can draw from our test are as follows:

·         Sungold and Jaune Flamme, two orange varieties, were rated the highest for overall taste, followed by Momotaro.

·         The key characteristic that corresponded to overall taste was sweetness – in other words we think sweet tomatoes taste good!  The majority of tasters (>4) rated Jaune Flamme and Sungold high in sweetness; and Dona, Early Girl, and Momotaro were rated as slightly sweet.

For more information and "lessons learned" at the Demonstration Garden, click on an interesting title below:

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