Skip to content

Tomatoes Review: 21 varieties for 2023

Bounty of tomatoes

Tomatoes Review: 21 varieties for 2023

This year I began with 19 types of seeds, both those I purchased and gifts from seed collecting friends. Along the way I also bought two plants of favourite varieties from last year, the saved seeds of which had been lost.

Mixed tray of tomatoes 02

Mixed tray of tomatoes, Black Krim, Dark Galaxy, Indigo Rose, Matina, Aedwyna, Costoluto Florentino, Mary’s Austrian, and more

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, you know that 2022 was a bizarre growing season. Very little rain in the spring, but constant downpour in June.  it was cold right through to the second week of July. Seedlings struggled to grow in the spring and plants were still spindly right up to July.

When it finally became warm, they grew with a vengance. It was still mid-September though before there was a ripe full-sized tomato, and only a few cherries as well.

Nevertheless, we picked nearly 4 bushels, with 200lbs of 3oz weighed picked tomatoes. Possibly we missed about 2-3lbs, but not likely more than that.It’s sort of a lot, but we had over 40 full sized plants going, plus 20 miniatures.

Although late, it was a large crop, so we picked as they were beginning to colour up rather than wait until they were fully ripe. They were red, black, gold, or striped, depending on the variety.

I grew several dark and black tomatoes: Black Krim, Chocolate Striped, Dark Galaxy, Indigo Rose, Paul Robeson, and Purple Ukrainian, A few were standout favourites.

Dark Galaxy, Indigo Rose

Dark Galaxy, Indigo Rose

Dark Galaxy is surprisingly tasty. When you cut into it, the salmon orange centre contrasts beaurifully with the deep eggplant purple exterior.  It isn’t very prolific, so it’s not really a market garden candidate for me, except as a special item in a large basket perhaps.

Jolly Elf, one of my favourite tomatoes from last year, when it gave masses of fruit, barely had anything ripen at all this year, although there were several pounds on the vine when the frost hit. They simply didn’t blossom until too late. That was a real disappointment, as they are normally so prolific that they are a good laue to grow. I love the flavour of Jolly Elf, and the thin skin makes it great for making a roasted tomato sauce. The tiny size also helps with prep and I found that when roasted, Jolly Elf in particular will, when roasted in a single layer, cook down into tiny umami flavour bombs.

Tomato Collection

Tomato Collection

I liked all but one of the tomatoes from 2022 except Golden Nugget,.Despite that it was incredibly prolific for a cherry tomato, Golden Nugget is totally forgettable. There were at least 10lbs on each of two plants, but they were flavourless and so low to the ground that picking them was like trying to milk a corgi. I won’t grow them again.

In addition to the 18 listed below, I also bought starts of Sasha’s Altai, and Oaxacan Jewel, two favourites from last year. Oaxacan Jewel is a juicy large beefsteak, and Sasha’s Altai is a uniformly shaped tomato that mostly (at least for me) has 4 lobes, and tastes sweet like persimmon when very ripe.

Ripening tomatoes

Ripening tomatoes

Waiting for the final bushel to ripen so they can be canned and made into ketchup, tomato sauce, dried tomatoes, and salsa. There are already several litres of roasted tomato sauce in the freezer, and a jar of dried cherry tomatoes.

Frost finally arrived and the plants are fully done. Will be taking them down today to get ready for the winter…and next season!

(Note) Tomatoes continued to ripen through December, and the last were finally cooked in mid-January.

A list of all of the tomatoes with photographs follows the articles and recipes below:

New Arrivals!

Some new tomatoes for 2023: Sgt Peppers Tomato Seeds, Mar Azul Sanish Heirloom Tomato, Crushed Heart. India Stripe

Some new tomatoes for 2023

Edit January 19, 2023: I’m currently waiting for some NEW seeds because I was given an Etsy gift subcription and I’m ever so slightly tomato obsessed.

On order are: Sgt Peppers Tomato Seeds, Mar Azul Sanish Heirloom Tomato, Crushed Heart. and India Stripe

NameTypePlant habitDescriptionSourceDays
ArdwynaRed pasteIndeterminateGreat multi-lobed heavyFull Circle Seeds75
Black KrimRed to brown, smokey flavourIndeterminateMakes a great tomato sandwichWest Coast Seeds70
Black Sea ManOlive to brown/pinkDeterminate / SmallBig dark   tomatoes, nice flavourGigi75
BrandywineLarge pink fruit and plantIndeterminateGreat for sandwiches, large meatySaanich Organics80
Chocolate SprinklesCherry / ProlificIndeterminatePretty to look at, olive to dark red, sweet/acidGigi70
Chocolate StripedBeefsteakIndeterminatePretty with a good flavourFull Circle Seeds80
Costoluto FlorentinoLarge flat ribbed fruitIndeterminateBeautiful, perfect soup tomatoBaker Creek75-80
Dark GalaxySpeckledIndeterminateDeep purple top, bright crimson bottom, red flesh. Delicate skin and sweet flavourGigi90
Gold Nugget SmallNot my favourite. Tasteless and hard to pick. Won’t be growing these againGigi60
Indigo RoseBlack CherryIndeterminateDeep purple top, shading to red. Delicate, easily bruised skin and sweet fleshGigi90
Jolly ElfCherryIndeterminateOblong fruit, bright vermillion, sweet like fruitSaved65
JulietCherry PlumIndeterminateSweet small cherriesSaved60-70
Mary’s AustrianPasteIndeterminateOne of my favourites, a meaty large plum tomatoSaved70
MashenkaBeefsteakIndeterminateHave not had one slicedSweet Rock75
MatinaMidsized redIndeterminateHave not had one slicedFull Circle Seeds58
Paul Robeson BlackBeefsteakIndeterminateLarge dark fruit with a good flavourFull Circle Seeds90
Purple UkrainianPasteIndeterminatePretty and lGigi80
Riesentraube1″ grapes earlyIndeterminateSimilar to the Jolly elf, there were not a lot of these this year.Sweet Rock80
Rosy Finch8″ – 10″ plantsMicroA very small plantGigi55