The Full-Bodied Cherry Tomato

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Whether you are a seasoned farmer or a first-time vegetable gardener, planting cherry tomatoes in your garden will give you a lot of joy and bang for your buck. The flavor in a cherry tomato is intensely sweet, and their gorgeous color and shape will make any salad or salsa more beautiful. They will also start producing before your regular-sized tomatoes ripen and will continue to produce right up until the first frost in October. Their only limiting factor is their fruit grows on vines, and those vines tend to spread so they will need a structure upon which to climb. I like to grow them along the chicken wire fencing that surrounds my kitchen garden.

My dependable faves in the cherry tomato category are Juliettes, Sun Sugars, or Sun Golds, whichever you can find, Yellow Pear, and Matt’s Cherry Wild — in that order of preference. To give you an idea of sizes and colors, take a look at this photo taken last summer on July 6th.

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Juliette’s are like small Romas, meaty, packed with flavor and not overly sweet. They are the first tomato to ripen in the spring and the last to produce in the fall. They are big; I often cut them in half when I put them in a salad. If I only grew one cherry tomato, this would be the one.

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Sun Sugars are a golden orange color when ripe and grow as a cluster of grapes on a vine. They are very similar to Sun Golds. They are intensely sweet and tend not to crack.

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Yellow Pear. Their name says it all. Another tomato with great color, shape, and taste.

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Matt’s Wild. They are tiny, deeply red in color, and intensely sweet. They grow like a cluster of grapes on a vine. They are so small; they hardly ever make it to the dinner table as we often pop them in our mouth right off the vine.

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This year, I’m going to add one more variety to the mix, the Black Cherry. My reason for wanting them is to round out my tomato color palette. Here is a picture of Black Cherry tomatoes from Johnny’s Selected Seeds website.

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Happy planting, but please wait to plant until after the last frost date for your area; the tomato plant’s leaves are very tender, and the plant will wilt and likely die if there is a frost.

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14 thoughts on “The Full-Bodied Cherry Tomato

  1. Oh, thank you for the mini tomato review. I’ve grown Sun Golds often, and while I love the tart sweet taste, I don’t like how many of them crack. I’ll definitely need to try one of those alternatives.
    We had early frost warnings one year, so I pulled up all the cherry tomato plants and rested them in baskets in the cellar. I was able to go down and pick the ripening tomatoes for another whole month before we ate them all. They seemed to survive well and ripen gradually still attached to their vines.
    I’ve also harvested just past green tomatoes in late August (because of frost in that area) and laid them out on a blanket, covered with another blanket. They gradually ripened too and were a great addition to meals while they lasted.

    1. These are such great tips! Thank you. I think I have the perfect place to store those vines — under my deck — while the tomatoes ripen in the fall. This is such an excellent suggestion! Thank you!
      About the Sun Golds, I agree about the splitting, and have switched to Sun Sugars because they have been bred to split less than the Sun Golds.

      Thanks for your great advice. I look forward to more of your wisdom!

  2. Judy, these look great. Definitely plant Black Cherry tomatoes. I’ve grown them for the past four years and they are beautiful and sweet and very prolific, even in my barely-enough-sun backyard kitchen garden.

    1. Great to hear!! I’m going to treat cherry tomatoes with a little more respect than I have in the past. Now that I fully get that they are a vine, I’m going to give them a place to vine, like I would a grapevine. This is a new revelation for moi! I’d love to come over and see your new raised beds next week.

  3. Those all look so spectacular. I have had good success with Heirloom Yellow Cherry’s – plentiful and so incredibly sweet. And, I just love the Blacks. And, one I don’t see here are the Green’s – amazing flavor. I want all the summer!!

    1. Kat, please share your favorite Green variety of cherry tomato. A green would certainly round out the color and taste palette very nicely.
      So glad to know about the Heirloom Yellow Cherry, as well. Thanks and look forward to hearing back from you. Judy

  4. I have started several different types of tomatoes and peppers and will have them at the MG meeting next Thursday. Most plants will be $2. A couple types will be $5 because I only received 10 seeds. I grow them as a fund raiser for Jr Camp.

    I grew Matt’s Wild Cherry, Garden Peach, Yellow Pear and Black Cherry last year as they were referenced in a book Eating on the Wild Side for nutritional values. All were wonderful!

    I love the size of the tomatoes you have listed.

    Pam “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

    ― Jim Rohn

    1. Pam, I visited the Demonstration Camp at Elmington and was blown away by the gardens there. Can you tell me more about this summer’s Junior Camp?
      Thanks for the cherry tomato comments! Judy

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