Tomatoes forum: Growing a Rainbow of Colors

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Feb 14, 2015 10:01 AM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
Growing up the only tomatoes I knew about were the ones in the grocery stores and the ones my father grew in his garden. These tomatoes were all the color of red.

It hasn't been that many years that I discovered there is a whole world of color in tomatoes out there. That you can literally grow and eat a rainbow of colors, textures, flavors, shapes and sizes.

There are purples, pinks, greens, striped, browns, blues, greens, yellows,blush, oranges, whites and all kinds of shades in between.

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Ella's Pink Plum

There are literally thousands of different types and colors of tomatoes to pick from in today's market. You can find everything from rare collector seeds, to heirlooms, and the hybrids with new tomato types being developed all the time.

It wasn't easy moving away from the old stand-by red type of tomatoes into this new world of color, but I am glad I decided to try it. If I hadn't, I would have missed out on a whole exciting culinary experience.

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Gold Medal

As I have started growing some of the different types and colors, I have found some that do well and some not so well. The verdict is still out on the not-so-well's as it could be from my growing practices or weather condtions and not the tomato itself that made me not so over joyed when sampling it. I will give those types another chance, just in case it was my errors.

In adding different colored tomatoes to my garden, I have discovered some that are acidic tasting, some sweet, some meaty, some stayed nice and firm and a few who didn't hold up to well at all. One nice thing about growing a rainbow of colors is that even if you grow one that your not particularly thrilled with the taste of to put on your sandwich, you can always mix them all together in a pot and make a nice salsa or pasta sauce from them, so you never have any waste at all.

I do admit that it took a bit to get used to seeing tomato slices on my sandwiches or in my salads that were yellow all on the inside, or almost a black color. I remember the very first other than red tomato I ate. I looked at and looked at it and kept wondering , "Is this really going to taste like a red tomato?" I closed my eyes and took a bite. It not only did taste like a tomato, it was darn good too. After that I was hooked and wanted to learn more about these colored tomatoes and how to grow them.

If your new to growing a different colored tomato, one you might try is an old heirloom called Cherokee Purple. I started with it and found it to be a good tomato all around. A cherry type that I grew this past season and fell in love with the colors was Sunrise Bumble Bee. If your into a very productive cherry type, this tomato was like seeing a morning sunrise all day and evening long.

This year I am excited to try and grow a beautiful new orange I saw. It is called Sweet Ozark Orange by Sam Wammack. Yes, you guessed it, from Ozark MO. If you google tomato Sweet Orange Ozark, you will find several sites where Sam is offering seed of this tomato for a postage stamp.
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Now doesn't that tomato just make your mouth water? Beautiful size, shape, color and taste from all the reviews in the color orange. What more could you ask for in a tomato. See, a tomato doesn't have to be red to be enjoyable.

I also plan on growing a totally green tomato for the first time this year. It will be a new experience, and I will probably close my eyes when taking that first bite. Fried green tomatoes are one thing I enjoy, but trying a ripe, totally green, inside and out tomato on a sandwich will be a bit different, but I am sure I will enjoy it too.

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It's also nice while your out and about walking in your garden to see all the different colors of tomatoes growing. You'll not only amaze yourself, but your neighbors and friends too. There are a lot of folks who grow different colored peppers, so why not give growing other than red tomatoes a chance. Be bold... Be brave... Be adventurous.

There will be those you will like and those that you don't. If you find a type you don't care for, pick some different types to grow. There is plenty to choose from and eventually you'll find one you will really enjoy. Maybe it is just me, but I don't think I have found two tomato types that have tasted exactly alike. Each one has its own unique flavor.

So give growing different colored tomatoes a chance. You'll love the look of a colored rainbow in your garden and you just might say, " They are really good."

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Texas Star

***Special thanks to Patti1957 and Ozark for the use of their pictures. All pictures are copyrighted.

Now that I am done rambling on, what are some of the colored tomatoes other than red that you've grown? Have you found any favorites you especially like? Do you have any new types your especially excited to add to your garden this year?
Feb 14, 2015 2:18 PM CST
Name: Joseph
Cache Valley Great Basin
Landrace: locally-adapted diversity
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Author of Mother Earth News Blog about Landrace Gardening: Lofthouse
[Last edited Feb 14, 2015 2:23 PM CST]
Quote | Post #1120617 (2)
Feb 15, 2015 6:59 AM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
Now that is what I call a rainbow of tomato colors. Very.. very nice... Wish I could pick out a few to eat right now.

Joseph... For market growing, did you happen to find that customers were more drawn to one particular color over another or size too?
Feb 15, 2015 6:24 PM CST
Name: Joseph
Cache Valley Great Basin
Landrace: locally-adapted diversity
At my market, most people prefer red round tomatoes about the size of a tennis ball.

Last summer one lady asked for a yellow tomato every week. One lady in town often asks for "yellow pear" tomatoes, saying that's the only kind that her husband will eat.

At the farmer's market last summer a lady asked me what my tomatoes taste like. I didn't really know, since I don't taste them. So I decided that honesty was the best strategy, so I said, "They taste horrid.". What a bad farmer.... Not even tasting my tomatoes before selling them. So to ease the embarrassment I tasted fruits from every tomato plant in the garden. What a frightful experience. So much spitting. So much wasting of fruit with just a single small bite taken out of them. Ugh! ugh! ugh! I dislike the taste of almost all raw tomatoes. Hillbilly or Virgina Sweets are about the only tomatoes I have tried that aren't spitters.
Author of Mother Earth News Blog about Landrace Gardening: Lofthouse
[Last edited Feb 18, 2015 10:17 AM CST]
Quote | Post #1120840 (4)
Feb 16, 2015 3:55 PM CST
Name: Rick Corey
Pacific NorthWet Zone 8a
There's a whole new category of tomatoes!

Some are "slicers", others are "paste tomatoes".

Some are "spitters"! Pa-TOOEY!
Feb 16, 2015 4:46 PM CST
Name: starlight1153 Zone 8a/b
With all the veggies and roots that you grow and eat Joseph, I am surprised you don't enjoy tomatoes. I do understand though as my son, even now that he an older adult, does not like tomatoes and never has. Tomato sauces, pastes, ketchup, soups were fine. Just don't let him find a tiny .. tiny piece of a tomato and he'll quit eating.

Feb 18, 2015 10:24 AM CST
Name: Joseph
Cache Valley Great Basin
Landrace: locally-adapted diversity

I'm not going to spit out a piece of home grown tomato if I find it in a salad. I might even add one to a salad that I'm making. I often push commercial tomatoes to the side of my plate though. For me, tomatoes are already marginalized before they do that to them.

I definitely don't look forward to running into the garden and pigging out of home-grown tomatoes. Vine ripened muskmelons on the other hand -- I might eat 5 or 6 of them during the hour that it takes me to pick the melon patch!

Author of Mother Earth News Blog about Landrace Gardening: Lofthouse

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