So far, seven of the eight varieties we planted have produced tasty ripe fruit. Now we have the rest of the summer to spend a) Running around finding neighbors who want tomatoes(1) and b)Deciding which varieties to grow next year and which ones to give up on. The verdict so far:
The cherry tomatoes:
1) Black cherry: Yum. Rich, complex, and earthy. Definitely a keeper.
2) Sun cherry: Sweet, sweet, sweet, but with a nice tang to make it refreshing as well.
3) Sun sugar: Also sweet. Allegedly, it's even sweeter than the Sungold, but I'm not sure I can tell the relative difference between the red cherry (a red sungold) and the sun cherry itself.
Both are good, but I think one or the other will take care of the sweet tooth. Certainly we're always going to have a Sungold of some sort around.
1) Black Prince: It's a lovely tomato--deep, deep mahogany and perfectly round, but it's not that impressive taste-wise. I mean, it beats the store-bought tomatoes by a mile, but it can't hold a candle to the Brandywine and Brandy Boy.
2) Great White: This one is a surprise! It is a lovely ivory color, somewhat smoother than the Brandy Boy, and very delicately flavored, low-acid and slightly sweet. I'm voting to grow it again.
3) Yellow Brandywine: Bumpy, lumpy, and sunny yellow. Also, it tastes exactly like a tomato. I know--as descriptions go, it's not very helpful, but it really is the essential tomato. Absolutely I am growing Brandywines again. I don't know how I ever got through the summers without them.
4) Brandy Boy: Supposedly, this is "just like" the Brandywine, only smaller and more productive. These are good, definitely, but--I don't think they're quite as good as the Brandywines. Probably I should do a blindfolded taste test before giving my final verdict. Probably I won't, even though I admit to a slight bias toward the word "heirloom."
I miss: Bi-Colored Marvels. I first grew those last year & only got a few tomatoes off the bush because the Brandywine fell on it (This years cages are custom-made, ten feet tall, and very strong), but they were delightful--quite as tasty as the Brandywines and stained-glass beautiful.
Still in the running: Zebra tomatoes. I had a terrible time telling when the green zebras were ripe, so I'll try red next time, but I did like their strong, distinctive flavoring.
(1) This is not necessarily going to be difficult. I took a bunch in to church today and was a little uncertain how well people would respond to the lumpy, bumpy, irregular Brandy Boys. They were gone in seconds. The cherry tomatoes took only a little longer to disappear (and only because there were more of them). People were snacking on them then and there as well as taking some home for later. I have more now, though, that need to find new homes.