Roma Tomatoes: My Picks

Now that the peak of tomato season has arrived (or maybe passed, depending on how many spider mites are in your garden), I thought I’d start sharing my observations and opinions on the various types of tomatoes we have growing in our Demonstration Garden this year.

First up – the Roma Tomatoes.

The Winners:

Golden Rave going crazyGolden Rave – By far my favorite tomato from the romas, it is a smaller tomato, but early and prolific. It has a nice tomato flavor, not bland as some romas are, but not extremely acidic. It is a VERY vigorous indeterminate plant. No problems with cracking or blossom end rot.

Cream Sausage – This white roma has been loaded down with tomatoes, although the plant is determinate and has delicate-looking leaves. For a small plant, it is productive! It is a little bit later than other tomatoes, but that’s not a huge problem. As most white tomatoes, it is a pretty mild tomato that not everyone will like. We’ve had little problem with cracking, despite the tomatoes having thin skins.

Mariana & Margherita – These are two hybrid red romas. They are a little later producing than others, but it’s worth the wait! Both produce beautiful, large roma tomatoes that will be great for salsa or sauce. Their flavor isn’t great for a fresh-eating tomato, but for sauce they’ll be superb. The plants are semi-determinate, but not too crazy. Little problem with cracking or blossom end rot on these two.

The Losers:

Super Marzano – This tomato is supposed to be the “improved” hybrid of the old San Marzano. I’m not sure what they improved. This plant has the worst blossom end rot of any of the plants, and despite the huge indeterminate vine, the yield is poor. The tomatoes are smaller and narrow, but a nice red color.

Purple Russian – Although I love the tomato itself, it has not performed well for us. The fruit is prone to bad cracking, and the plant has partially succumbed to some wilt disease (possibly Fusarium?), although parts of it still seem to be healthy. It is still producing some tomatoes, but it doesn’t seem to do best under Kansas conditions.

The In-Between

Roma VF – This older hybrid variety (with Verticillium & Fusarium resistance), is a potato leaf variety. It is determinate to semi-determinate, and has tons of leaves! However, the tomatoes have been disappointingly small and oddly shaped. The yield hasn’t been great either. We’ve had minor problems with blossom end rot on this variety.

Green Sausage – This heirloom has been surprisingly productive, although the blossom end rot has been a moderate problem. The plant is determinate, again with delicate leaves, but it is visually much more vigorous than Cream Sausage. For some reason, the tomatoes on these plants have been light – not as meaty or juicy as I have seen them in the past. Not sure what has been going on with that.

That’s my take on the Roma tomatoes this year, for what its worth!

About Rebecca

I'm a Horticulture Educator with Sedgwick County Extension, a branch of K-State Research and Extension, located in Wichita, KS. I teach about fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Posted on August 6, 2009, in Around the Garden and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Rebecca,
    This blog is awesome! I still don’t know how you have the time or energy to do it all. I wish we had access to a demogarden right outside our door…don’t think that will ever happen for us here! Keep up the good work!

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