Everywhere you look, there are claims about how tasty are the tomato varieties offered by different seed companies. But, instead of relying on the seed company’s marketing department, isn’t the best way to simply ask people to taste a range of different tomatoes – and give their verdict?
Well, at Ball Colegrave, the British outpost of the Ball Horticultural Company (neither sell retail), that’s exactly what they did – last year, and the previous year as well. All the visitors who toured their summer trials – and who also voted for their Blue Flag awards for ornamentals – were invited to taste twenty five of their tomato varieties. All were grown under glass. The previous year they were offered forty seven varieties - which may be too taste boggling for any tongue.
I suspect that there’s a bias amobgst tasters towards familiar names which are likely to be tasted first and those with unfamiliar, or odd, names would tend to be sampled less often. But still...
The leader of the pack this year was ‘Sweet Aperitif’, with ‘Sungold’ in second place and ‘Chocolate Cherry’ third followed by ‘Suncherry Premium’, ‘Rosada’ and ‘Sweet Million’.
Last year, the top of the tree were ‘Sweet Million’, with ‘Rosada’ second and ‘Suncherry Premium’ third followed by ‘Trilly’ and ‘Sparta’ with ‘Sungold’ in sixth place.
Of course, this could hardly be called a rigorously scientific study. But the results do tend to confirm, over the two years, that gardeners will be very pleased with the flavour of ‘Rosada’ (mini plum), ‘Suncherry Premium’ (cherry), ‘Sungold’ (cherry) and ‘Sweet Million’ (cherry). And all four varieties, I should mention, have been awarded the prestigious Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society.
Next time, I'll be looking at an American version of this taste test.