7 Must-Have Organic Tomato Varieties for the Home & Market Garden

Organic San Marzano Tomatoes, one of my favorite organic tomato varieties
Organic San Marzano Tomatoes

It’s only the last week of February, but the winds have brought warm air to Vermont.  The sun shone all day in a clear blue sky yesterday, and we tramped about outside with nothing more than sweatshirts and one layer (!) of pants.  

I’m hesitant to speak too soon—March is known to have a few snowstorms and snaps of sub-zero days and nights up her sleeve.  But today is going to be in the 50ºs and I’ll soak it up.

This weather has me bouncing around, bubbling with the sight of spring and seedlings on the horizon.  We won’t start the bulk of our seeding for another two weeks or so—March, with her surprises, you know.  BUT we do have early rounds of greens, onions, beets, radishes and turnips steadily sprouting and putting out their true leaves.

And just last week, Edge seeded the first round of tomatoes.

TOMATOES!

These babies are slated for greenhouse growing.  If you’re planning on field-grown tomatoes, don’t fret or feel behind!  Unless you’re in a warmer zone (we’re in 4a), you have plenty of time to start.  

You should start tomatoes from seed 6-8 weeks before your planting date.  So if you’re outside planting date is June 1, for example, you don’t need to start seeds until April 6.  

Now is the perfect time to order your organic tomato seeds.

Tomatoes are a weak spot for me.  

Every year I want to grow more and more, and it’s painful to narrow down the varieties to just a few—I want to try them all!  I may have been a tad spoiled when I worked on the Trials Crew for High Mowing Organic Seeds, where we grew 90 varieties.  Tomato heaven!

We don’t have the space for all those varieties (well, we could only grow tomatoes, but I’d miss the other vegetables), we make hard choices and narrow it down to 10-12 varieties per season.

Each year we try out a few new ones.  Over the years we’ve found our favorites.  If you’re having a hard time narrowing it down, here are 7 organic tomato varieties that will not disappoint.

7 Must-Have Organic Tomato Varieties for the Home & Market Garden

organic green zebra tomatoes and organic rose de berne tomatoes
organic green zebra tomatoes and organic rose de berne tomatoes

Rose de Berne – slicer

If I could only grow one tomato, this would be it.  A rosy pink heirloom slicer, it’s meaty and sweet, with a touch of tang.  Versatile, great eaten fresh as slices on toast or in a caprese salad, but meaty enough to add into sauces and salsas.

Green Zebra – slicer

This is the ultimate BLT tomato.  It’s tang pairs perfectly with the saltiness of bacon.  Green Zebra has strong, sturdy plants and produces well into the fall.

Juane Flamme – saladette

These sweet orange tomatoes come on strong and have prolific yields throughout the season.  A French heirloom, these 2 ounce fruits are perfect for a colorful tomato salad.

Copia – beefsteak

I love big tomatoes.  They’re the epitome of late summer: all juice and flavor.  Copia is a beautiful yellow beefsteak with red, orange and green streaks.  In my experience, they’re more crack-resistant than Brandywine and Pruden’s Purple, and their sweet flavor is amazing.

Organic San Marzano Tomatoes, one of my favorite organic tomato varieties
Organic San Marzano Tomatoes

San Marzano – paste

You just can’t go wrong with this Italian heirloom.  It’s high-yielding and consistent, with a small seed cavity and dense, meaty flesh.  Perfect for sauces and salsas.

Esterina F1 – cherry

I know everyone goes crazy for Sungold F1, but Esterina is better.  A yellow cherry with consistent sweetness, and seemingly never-ending harvests. It’s crack resistant, and holds longer on the plant than Sungold.

Sweetie – cherry

A red cherry that lives up to its name!  These tomatoes ripen in clusters so you can harvest handfuls at a time.  We planted these for the first time in 2017, and they quickly earned a place next to Rose de Berne on my “forever and always” list.  

Organic Esterina F1 and Sweetie Cherry Tomatoes, two of my favorite organic tomato varieites
Organic Esterina F1 and Sweetie Cherry Tomatoes

Tell me, what are YOUR favorite organic tomato varieties that you just can’t live without?  I always love trying a few new ones each summer, so let me know in a comment below.

3 thoughts on “7 Must-Have Organic Tomato Varieties for the Home & Market Garden”

  1. Pingback: Lessons From Seeds: Soften, Root & Grow - The Good Heart Life

  2. I grow about 32 variety of tomatoes a year. 80% of those will be new experimental. But that has ended, due to age. I’m down sizing to the varieties that work best. I judge a tomato by taste first. Then comes productivity– followed by strength of a plant to survive today’s disease. Appearances, and table life, is also factors. Below is my most valued varieties.
    In the Cherry Tomatoes. Number one is Mountain Magic Hybrid, I’ll put it up against any cheery you got. Second to that, is a tie between Sweet Million and Sun-sugar. Both of those is hybrids also. Sun-sugar is derived from sun-gold. As everyone knows Sun-gold has a horrible cracking problem.
    Slicer Tomatoes present a problem. Because many varieties that was good, have been breaded away. The lemon-boy, Better-boy, Brandy-wine, and Parks Whoppers of today, isn’t fit to eat. I liked them all years ago. For a yellow, I would recommend Sun-ray { heirloom }. Its reliable, and excellent in taste. But it is a high acid for a yellow. For a black tomato, I would recommend Black Krim {heirloom }..I bet I’ve grown 50 varieties of black slicers. None will be heavy producers. And all of them are crack prone. The same can be said of Black Krim. But I will put it up against any slicer you got, in a blind taste test. But you don’t need to grow it, if you are very limited on plants. And NEVER grow it as your only variety. I can’t help you on red slicers. Because I’m never satisfied. I grow a few Big Beef Hybrid just to fry. Its because they are perfect size, hard as a rock, and bare extremely heavy. But they aren’t much on taste ripe. 2 plants will supply a small family, in just fryers. Bonnie’s Best, Russian Queen, Ox-heart are acceptable. But I’m not sure I would recommend them. I’m almost impossible to please. I grow everything from seed. Using the paper towel method. You can youtube how. I grow heirloom mostly. But that never factors in to my seed buying. Here is a big Myth, I will debunk. If you buy actual F-1 seeds, they are expensive. But if you can keep lots of seeds back, from a hybrid variety you like. You can use those seeds for the next 5 years. EXAMPLE– I’m out of Sun-sugar this year. Sun-sugar is a extremely unstable hybrid. I will buy a F-1 plant from a green house, because just 10 seeds is a higher price. I will collect enough F-2 seeds for 5 years. BUT– If I collect seeds from those F–2′ plants, Those offspring plants will morph into a horrible tasting reddish cherry tomato, as a F-3–LOL– I know, I’ve grew Sun-sugar for 18 years. Beware of cheap F-1 seeds on the internet. Some back yard sellers is doing what I told ya. They are selling F-2’s for F-1’s. Some more stable varieties can be done that a way. Its the 4th, or 5th, generation before real change occurs. I grow seedlings for me, and my friends. Usually between 250 and 300 plants. PS– There is no perfect tomato– I’ve searched a lifetime. When I was a kid, we just let tomatoes grow all over the ground. No one ever staked them. Its a different disease world today, from then. Everything I told ya is true.

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