Eight tomato varieties were evaluated in 1999 for consumer preference of appearance and taste. Fruits were collected from a tomato yield trial conducted at the Southeast Research and Extension Center at Monticello, Ark. Four of the varieties (`Mountain Spring', `Celebrity', `Better Boy', and `Early Girl') were red-fruited. Three (`Bradley', `Traveler 76', and `Pink Girl') were pink-fruited. One variety, `Mountain Gold', was yellow-fruited. Fruit evaluations were conducted on three separate dates. Varieties were ranked 1–8 by the taste panelists for both outward appearance and for taste. Appearance and taste were not correlated. `Mountain Spring' was ranked best in appearance, followed closely by `Pink Girl' and `Celebrity'. However, the panelists ranked `Mountain Spring' next to last (seventh) for taste. `Pink Girl' was ranked first in taste, followed by `Better Boy', `Bradley', `Celebrity', and `Early Girl'. `Mountain Gold' was ranked last (eighth) for both appearance and taste. These results indicate that consumers should not rely on appearance alone when purchasing tomatoes. The results also indicate that tomato producers should have a thorough knowledge of the market that they are serving.
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