(189) Heirloom Tomato Cultivar Evaluations for the New Jersey Market

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  • 1 1Rutgers University, Agricultural and Resource Management Agents, Rutgers Coop. Research and Extension, Millville, NJ, 08332
  • 2 2Rutgers University, Agricultural and Resource Management Agents, Rutgers Coop. Research and Extension, Morristown, NJ, 07963

A 3-year study was established to evaluate a large number of heirloom tomato cultivars for horticultural characteristics and yield. The initial 2001 screening included 110 cultivars with fruit types from currant to beefsteak. The 110 cultivars were reduced to 12 (`Arkansas Traveler', `Box Car Willie', `Brandywine Red', `Carmello', `Cherokee Purple', `Costoluto Genovese', `Eva Purple Ball', `Hawaiian Pineapple', `Mortgage Lifter', `Prudens Purple', `Ramapo', and `Santa Clara Canner') based on yield, consumer preference and fruit characteristics and evaluated in 2004. The cultivars were arranged in a complete-block design with plots of eight plants replicated four times. Fruits were harvested 10 times from 15 July to 16 Sept., graded into marketable and cull, counted, and weighed. Internal and external fruit characteristics were evaluated at the seventh harvest from 10 randomly selected marketable fruit from three replications. Days to harvest from transplanting ranged from 61 to 82 days. For the early harvest (1–4), `Mortgage Lifter' (20.18 t·ha-1) and `Cherokee Purple' (19.23 t·ha-1) had significantly more marketable fruit than the other cultivars. By mid-season harvests (5–7), the cultivar Carmello (43.38 t·ha-1) yielded statistically more marketable fruit than all other cultivars. There were few differences among the cultivars for the late harvest (8-10) period. When all harvests were combined, `Carmello' (76.59 t·ha-1) had significantly higher yields than the other cultivars except `Mortgage Lifter' (74.72 t·ha-1). External and internal fruit characteristics varied among the various cultivars. All 12 cultivars would be acceptable in different market segments.

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