Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Snow White Cherry Tomato and Great White Tomato
Well white, like black, is a pretty relative term when it comes to tomatoes. I would describe these as a pale, buttery or lemon yellow. Very pretty, and nice as part of plate of mixed tomato colours.
While this is often sold as an heirloom tomato, it is a fairly recent open pollinated selection, first discovered by the Gleckler Seed Company in the late 1980's, in a batch of Orange Oxheart tomato seed sent to them by a customer. They began selling it in the mid 1990's. In spite of this documented history, a lot of people seem to think it dates back as far as the Civil War era, but they are mistaken. We got our seed from Tatiana.
Great White has rapidly become one of the more popular of the so-called white tomatoes. Many of them are dismissed as bland and uninteresting in flavour, but Great White generates some very positive reports. I have to say I was pleased with it. I'm not a big eater of raw tomatoes and I prefer a mild, sweet tomato to one with more traditional flavour. This one manages to do a good balancing act - not so sweet and mild as to be dull, but without the traditional strong acid flavour of dark red tomatoes. Of course, some people will like this more than others! It's dense and firm-fleshed, without a lot of seeds.
We found it a very good producer, and although it came to a premature end (like every single other non-cherry tomato in the garden this year) due to septoria spot, it produced very generously compared to many of the others. The tomatoes are a very large, quite dense beefsteak type tomato - ideal for sandwiches, pizza and the like. Some of them blushed pink on the bottom as they ripened. These are a large, rangy, indeterminate plant (which is why it survived the septoria spot fairly well - all those that survived did so by out-growing it) and it will need lots of room and staking. It's a bit of a late starter, at 85 days. It is said to be crack and drought resistant, and indeed I would say so. We had a very trying year for tomatoes, with a wet, cold June followed by a hot, dry July and and hot-mostly-dry-but-intermittently-quite-wet August. In other words, the exact weather to make tomatoes crack and many of them did. Not Great White. It may have some tendency to Blossom End Rot, but we had no problems with it.
Snow White Cherry
Unlike Great White, I can't find a lot of information about the history of Snow White. Tatiana briefly describes it as having been bred by Joe Bratka of New Jersey, who is a very well known amateur breeder of tomatoes, and who is also known for having introduced some heirloom tomatoes that had been in his family for a long time. So again, it's quite a recent tomato but as an unusual open-pollinated variety it tends to make the rounds with the heirlooms. It should be ready in 65 days, so a fair bit quicker than Great White (but that's usually the case with cherry tomatoes).
At any rate, we picked this to grow because like Great White, it's widely reckoned to be the best of the white cherry tomatoes. We certainly liked the flavour very much. Like Great White it's sweet and mild without being bland. Everyone who has tried it this summer has liked it very much. Most cherry tomato plants make up for their small fruit by growing huge, rangy vines and producing lots of tomatoes, and that was the pattern with Snow White as well. Good staking or trellising is vital! It had the septoria spot as badly as anything else, but like the rest of the cherry tomatoes it has continued to grow new leaves as fast as the septoria destroyed the old ones, and to produce plenty of fruit.
I've seen it described as crack-resistant, which is to laugh. I'd have to say that's the one flaw - it cracks like peanuts at an elephants' party. It was quite a lot of effort to find a handful of uncracked tomatoes for the photo. Like I said, we had the ideal weather for cracking tomatoes, but I also have to say that given the opportunity to crack, it took it. This has been a problem in general with the cherry tomatoes this year, but some have done much better. Ildi, for instance, and Black Cherry. Nevertheless, I'd be inclined to grow this again. We've been drying a lot of them. We'll see what we think of that.