Thursday, October 1, 2009

Central Coast Tomato Taste Tests 2009 - Paul Robeson

The next tomato in the taste test series is Paul Robeson.

Paul Robeson, the man for whom the tomato was named (from Wikipedia):
Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson (April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) was an American actor of film and stage, All-American and professional athlete, writer, multi-lingual orator, lawyer, and basso profundo concert singer who was also noted for his wide-ranging social justice activism. A forerunner of the civil rights movement, Robeson was a trade union activist, peace activist, fellow traveler, Phi Beta Kappa Society laureate, and a recipient of the Spingarn Medal and Stalin Peace Prize.
Sounds like a cool dude!

Seed Catalog Description:
Seed for this Russian heirloom was made available by Marina Danilenko, a Moscow seedswoman. This favorite tomato was named after the operatic artist who won acclaim as an advocate of equal rights for Blacks. His artistry was admired world-wide, especially in the Soviet Union. This "black" beefsteak tomato is slightly flattened, round, and grows to 4-inches. It’s deep, rich colors stand it apart from others…a dusky, dark-red, with dark-green shoulders, and red flesh in it’s center. Very flavorful fruits with luscious, earthy, exotic flavors and good acid/sweet balance. Paul Robeson (aka Pol Robeson) won "Best of Show" at Carmel TomatoFest. As this variety originates from Siberia and sets fruits at lower temps, it is an excellent choice for cooler growing regions.

Production and Earliness:
My plant has produced 24 tomatoes so far this season. The total production weighs in at 5 lbs. I picked the first ripe tomato on 8/03/09.

Fruit Size, Color and Shape:
On average, the fruits weigh 3.4 ounces each, though the size varies quite a bit. They are prone to "funkyness" on the bottom:

It's hard to categorize the color of this tomato...reddish, mahogany, greenish, orangish. Each tomato is different. Some have an orange "base color" when ripe and others have a red "base color".Plant Growth Habit:
This plant is regular-leaved. It was relatively more susceptible to the disease that affected my tomatoes this year. (I don't know for sure what the disease was, but I'm guessing early blight.)

The texture is a little bit mealy and somewhat crumbly.

The taste is hard to describe. It's earthy, slightly citrusy, medium-low acidity. Each bite is different! Because the fruit ripens to different colors, the flavor of each tomato is a bit different. I like the flavor - definitely. But it's hard to put it into words.

Cooking and serving options:
It's a slicer, through and through.

Is it a winner?
I like the flavor a lot. I appreciate the fact that every tomato tastes slightly different, but all are good. Drawbacks include the low yield and the fact that disease symptoms showed up early and strongly. In spite of this, I'll be growing it again next year because of the "delicious factor".


Betsy J said...

I'd say anything with a "delicious factor" should make a guest appearance every year at the Tomato Lady's garden!

kontrazt said...

Hi, do you keep some tomatoeplants for next year, or do you grow new plants each year? I would like to get my crop to start earlier, since i live in Sweden. do you have experience of keeping tomatoeplants over winter? Any advice?

Btw, your blog is giving me a lot of helpful advice and information! Thanks for sharing!

Jackie said...

Betsy, you are right...PR will be making a reappearance!

Kontrazt, I start new plants each year. I've never overwintered them, though I have heard it's possible if they can be kept warm enough. The problem is that by the end of summer they are VERY tall and have brown lower leaves. My best advice for you would be to start seeds indoors each year in spring about 4-6 weeks before than last frost date in you area. Then plant them outdoors about 2 weeks after the last frost date. Give them as much light as possible while growing. If you have a greenhouse, you can start them even earlier and grow them bigger before planting them out. But if you must grow them inside, they will probably get too leggy and weak if you start them too soon. Best of luck to you!