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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