Category Archives: Tomatoes

Berkeley Tie-Dye Tomato

Earlier this year I ordered 5 varieties of seeds from Wild Boar Farms. I was blown away with the number of distinct, beautiful and unusual tomatoes available. I stumbled onto this breeder’s varieties after looking for a good mix between OSU’s Indigo Rose  and a tomato with some more desirable traits. The tomato I found created by Brad Gates that I now wanted to grow is called Blue Beauty. I was like a kid in the candy store on his site, and he ships all seeds for free, so I settled on 5, trying to be reasonable about what I could really grow this year.

While I was organizing these new seeds into my catalog I noticed there was a stray seed outside one of the packets being held on by negative ions – the seeds come in small clear plastic resealable envelopes (which I prefer)  instead of the old paper envelopes. I had no idea which variety it was, or even if it was one that I had ordered. The only logical thing to do was to grow it!

I was glad that the seed germinated and the seedling grew strong unlike some of the other bad starts that had happened this season. It survived 2 weeks while we were on vacation, and kept growing. The blossoms set well and soon I was waiting on tiny tomatoes to grow big enough to get characteristics that could define which variety it was.

The shape alone narrowed it down to 4 different varieties, but the patterns hadn’t been defined yet, so I had to wait some more. Finally the patterns started emerging and that narrowed it down to 3 varieties, but it also meant I’d have to wait for it to start ripening to determine the ripe skin traits, that narrowed it down to 2. I had to wait until it was fully ripe and cut into it before I found out it was a Berkeley Tie-Dye.

Looking closely at this tomato is a thing of beauty. I didn’t know until that time that tomatoes could express different traits on the dermis and the sub-dermis – I also didn’t know they had a sub-dermis. The sub-dermis on the Berkeley Tie-Dye looks like it is under a layer of shellac. The interior of the first tomato was solid green, no pink blush, but others that have ripened had the blush. I believe the blush comes on when it is close to being overripe.

The dermis is a green color when ripe, the sub-dermis reddish-orange, the flesh is green with some pink in the center towards the bottom. It tastes a bit like a lime, but not too acidic. It makes a really great slicer, and the flesh is tender with numerous small pockets of gel. The tomatoes range from a nice round shape to oval with a stretched blossom scar, and occasional wrinkling. The stem attachment point is wide, and the core is about as deep as it is wide. I have had some slight cracking on some tomatoes, but I think that is due to a change in water moisture that had mostly been consistent; the skin is on the thicker side, but not overly so. Overall I would give this tomato an 8/10 rating, and would gladly grow it again.

The plant is now 4.5 months old, and has started exhibiting signs of some kind of wilt. I had sterilized the soil it is in, but I think my project of connecting the containers together  for easier automated watering allowed wilt to transfer over unfortunately.

The plant seemed eager to grow well over 5′ tall, but I topped the growth off since it was growing indoors, in a 3 gallon container, and 5′ of tomato is more than enough indoors.

San Francisco Fog Tomato

Talk about a cold weather tomato. It totally lives up to its namesake. They taste like typical hot-house tomatoes from the grocery store. Medium gel, with a mealy texture. That said, I only rate it 5/10…however, I would consider growing it again. Why? This plant produces loads of tomatoes that after 5-10 seconds in boiling water, the skin slips off perfectly with a squeeze,  the stem anchor is narrow and easy to cut out, and they’re blemish free, which makes it super easy to turn into sauce; buckets of sauce. It’s still growing fruit and setting flowers this late into December.

Tomato stats:
Total harvest weight: 7.5 kilos
Average fruit weight: 64 grams
Total fruits picked: 117
Seed to first pick: 142 days
Lifespan: 207 days


Black Prince Tomato

This was one of my all time favorite tomatoes (rating 9/10). The flesh is dark and multi-colored, flavors are complex, yet sweet, medium gel and tender flesh. Nearly no blossom scar, the stem anchor is shallow, almost non-existent, the skin is blemish free on most, and no cracking…except when there was some inconsistent watering. The vine has grown over 12 feet, and is still happily growing and making flowers in late December. It’s a true cold weather tolerant tomato from Siberia.

The stats:
Total harvest: 5.3 kilos
Seed to first pick: 143 days
Plant lifespan: 207 days
Average fruit weight: 72 grams
Fruits picked: 74 states this plant is “perfect for patios”. While it grew great on the patio, it’s propensity to reach for the sky makes me disagree with their take.

Black Prince at 4 months
Black Prince at 4 months
Black Prince Tomato
Black Prince Tomato