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A Celebration of Heirloom Tomato Varieties from Around the World


"Top 10" Favorite Heirloom Tomatoes For 2016

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Top 10 Favorite Heirloom Tomatoes for 2015

The "Top 10" heirloom tomatoes were selected from the top 10 most popular tomato varieties in 2014 and 2015 from a TomatoFest customer base of more than 21,000 thousand home gardeners and tomato farmers.

Our survey results demonstrated that consumers want the maximum of those "old fashioned" robust flavors in choosing what tomato varieties to grow in their home garden. The same with farmers growing for produce markets and restaurants where taste is the priority. This is the essence of the continued popularity of heirloom tomatoes in America.

The most popular tomato varieties continue to be the tomato varieties that offer that big burst of old-fashioned, complex, rich tomato flavors that provide a generous amount of acids to balance the sugars resulting in a tang of tartness. The "heirloom tomato classics," the old-time, favorite, red, pink and "black" beefsteak tomatoes, still provide the foundation of loyalty among tomato growers.

This is the second year that we surveyed our customers for their "Top 10" favorite tomatoes. The results remain the same, although placement within the "Top 10" has shifted. (The list we provide here is not in order of winning status)

Other findings in the TomatoFest survey:

  • In 2015 there was, again, a big increase in first time tomato gardeners. There are more people wanting to grow foods at home in rural AND urban areas. The upswing in folks becoming new tomato gardeners or choosing to become small commercial farmers of heirloom tomatoes for retailing at farmers markets and distributing to produce retailers has been noticeable the past 6 years.
  • 2015 saw a surge in the popularity of the "black" tomatoes, especially the Indigo series of the blackest tomatoes. Even though these tomatoes do not carry the delicious taste qualities most typical of the heirloom "black" tomatoes, they have aroused curiosity, and definitely have their enthusiastic followers.
  • Many of the new tomato gardeners are patio or container gardeners who either have no land to garden upon, or who don't wish the labor required of tilling the earth for their garden. In 2015 there was again an increase in seed sales for determinate (shorter tomato plants) and dwarf tomato varieties. Some of this increase in seed sales was from used-to-be-land-gardeners who having retired or downsized there living to condominiums or retirement communities, who now only have patios available to continue their gardening in containers.
  • In 2014 and 2015, there was a continued rise in popularity of cherry tomatoes in all colors. We saw more customers ordering several kinds of cherry tomatoes along with their selection of larger tomatoes. In past years, many of the same customers were ordering only 1 or 2 varieties of cherry tomatoes but now are selecting more diversified cherry varieties by the range of color and taste experiences offered. There is also a growing popularity for the currant sized tomatoes by chefs and home gardeners alike.
  • 2015 saw a surge in folks ordering 'short season' tomato varieties from cooler regions not typically considered tomato growing regions; cooler coastal regions, cooler northern climates (i.e., Maine, Michigan, even Alaska), and for higher altitude gardens. It appears that more people have come to understand that with the diversity of tomato varieties suitable to more adverse climates they too can enjoy the rewards of home grown tomatoes.

"Top 10" Favorite Heirloom Tomatoes

"Top 10" Favorite Cherry Tomatoes