Saturday, August 29, 2009

Central Coast Tomato Taste Tests 2009 - Glacier

Welcome to the first edition of the "Central Coast Tomato Taste Tests 2009". I was inspired by Hanna's awesomeness. In fact, I found her "Tomato Tastings" so helpful that I decided to produce similar posts about the tomatoes I'm growing. Of course, these posts will have a special emphasis on cool-summer/early varieties. This is due to the non-tomato-y weather we have here on the Central Coast of California. So, without further ado, let the tasting begin!

The first tomato up on the chopping block is Glacier.

Seed Catalog Description:
An early, short-season, open-pollinated, potato-leaf variety that flowers when it is only 4-inches tall then sets loads of very flavorful 2 to 3-ounce, round, red tomatoes. Good flavor.
Days: 65
Size: Indeterminate
Color: Red
Season: Early-Season
Type: Heirloom

Production and Earliness:
My best plant has produced 91 tomatoes so far this season (end of August). The total production weighs in at 5.7 lbs. On average, the fruits weigh 1 ounce each. I picked the first ripe tomato on 7/21/09.

Fruit Size, Color and Shape:
Glacier produces lots of golf-ball-sized fruit. These tomatoes are bright red and they are mostly round, but can be heart-shaped or horizontally flattened.

Plant Growth Habit:
Glacier is a potato-leaved variety. It has sparse foliage and does not grow to great heights. My plants have stayed under 6 feet tall. It produces several branching inflorescences (flowering branches).

Glacier is juicy, especially considering the small size. There is a lot of gel.

Glacier is a sweet tomato with low acid. A pinch of salt really brings up the flavor. The taste isn't "knock your socks off", but it is pleasantly tomato-y.

Cooking and serving options:
Glacier is a bit limited in the cooking/serving department. The small size is fine for slicing as a side dish or topping a pizza. It is not a meaty tomato, but instead tends toward the more juicy end of the spectrum.

Is it a winner?
Glacier has an interesting growth habit, with is short stature and sparse potato-leaves. It would be good for a small garden or for people who don't want to get out ladders to pick tomatoes ;) Kids would be able to see all of the action up close.

Glacier is a pretty good producer in our cool climate. It has produced the 3rd highest poundage after Stupice and Early Girl. Notice how the seed catalog description said "good flavor". They didn't say more because there's really nothing left to say. It's not bad, but it's not great. I might grow Glacier again because it seems to produce well in a small space, but there are definitely better-tasting tomatoes for the heat-challenged.


Autumn Belle said...

This is very interesting. However, the task of differentiating the tastes between the different types of tomatoes will be quite difficult for me. Based on my limited knowledge and exposure to tomato growing, I think they taste almost the same.

Stefaneener said...

We did a taste comparison between Early Girl, Stupice, and Cherokee Purple today. They were all nice, but the Stupice edged the others out. It seems as though tomatoes are such a high-input crop that you might as well really love love love the taste to grow one.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Very nice post Jackie!

Michelle said...

Any tomato that comes out of your own garden is going to be far better than your average store bought tomato. But I agree with Stefani, I would like to grow only the best tasting, but on the other hand you need to grow new varieties to find the best. Now I know that I probably won't have to try Glacier - thanks!

Jackie said...

Autumn Belle, I bet if you were to taste heirloom varieties, you would be able to tell the difference ;)

Stefaneener, I'm glad to hear that Stupice won your taste test, since I'm growing 2 Stupice plants. I would have guessed that Cherokee Purple would claim first prize.

Michelle, glad I could help you decide not to grow Glacier. I agree that it only makes sense to grow the tasty ones.