Are all black tomatoes inferior?

(Still) looking for a good black tomato. One that ripens properly, not prone to cracking, prolific, etc. I have dabbled in black tomatoes for years but most are a disappointment. The biggest flaw is their inability to ripen properly: the tops always ripen way later than the rest. Years back I grew something that created small-ish black tomatoes in a six-pack arrangement. Can’t remember what it was but that was a good golf-ball tomato. Suggestions would be welcome. I have a VERY reliable red I grow called Ozark Pink that produces endless, blemish-free tennis balls of yumminess.

Forgot to mention I’m in 6a…


hmm, tomatoes with green shoulders are ripe. The top never turns, it’s already ripe, much like green tomatoes. Some do not have green shoulders like Pink Berkeley tie-dye.
They are more picky, harder to grow without problems, but blacks are all I grow. Much sweeter than most. On reds, I like blood reds, anything pink, I just don’t care for the taste. I don’t like yellows either.


You have probably tried these, but…my friends and I have had great luck with Black Krim (early and productive). The variety simply called “Black” has also been great. Black Prince is such a beautiful fruit and so perfectly tasteless and bleh. Black Cherry - NO (boring for cherry when I can be eating SunGold). Black from Tula is a winner but I have only grown it once or twice. Black Sea Man is a great determinate variety…recommended. Even though not perfectly black, Cherokee Purple and Paul Robeson are also good…the former is superior in flavor IMO, but the latter has higher production.


I’ve tried Purple Russian, Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, Paul Robeson, Black from Tula, Black Cherry, Pink Berkeley Tie-Dye, and Carbon. The Russian/Ukrainian cultivars have never performed well in my 6b Kentucky climate. I liked Berkeley pretty well—it had an acidic flavor profile and was productive while it lasted—, but found it disease-prone; also went to mush quickly. Best performer I’ve grown here is Carbon; it was productive, good-textured, disease resistant and sweet. Cherokee Purple was similar, but I believe Carbon was a stronger producer. Russian Purple was my new black tomato this summer; like all the Slavic tomatoes I’ve tried before, it did not enjoy our humid, blighty climate, and gave up the ghost before any of my other tomatoes; flavor was insipid. I’ll either go back to Carbon next year or try Black Brandywine, about which I’ve heard good things. (Note: There’s a regular-leaf Black Brandywine and a potato-leaf True Black Brandywine; so maybe I’ll try both.)


I like Indian Stripe. I grow the potato leaf version. It is productive for me. Varies in size from small to large. I do have Carbon seeds, I’ll try it next year. I also like the flavor of Girl Girl’s but it tends to get BER, so it’s out. I did pick a perfect one today.


I’ll second Black From Tula – at least for my climate.


I also have had poor results with dark tomatoes, well regular size ones, anyway. Chocolate Cherry is a dark variety, and has done extremely well in our climate. But the only good larger dark tomato that has done well for me was regular-leaf Black Brandywine, and that was from this season. Much more prolific than potato-leaf Brandywine’s like the yellow and pink versions that we have grown. Very good flavor, and wasn’t prone to cracking.

This was our best year out of six for tomatoes, because of it being very warm and abnormally dry this summer, not the rainy, humid summers we usually get. So, maybe that was a factor in us getting a good black tomato. I’ve tried Paul Robeson, Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, and they have been busts here.


The potato leaf version of Black From Tula is moderately better than the regular leaf version. You can sometimes find it listed as “Spudatula”.


the problem i have with black varieties is they always succumb to fusarium. gold varieties do great for me. so probably your experience will differ and depends on your growing location.

I just came in from getting some tomatoes picked and I continue to be just amazed at how productive Black Krim has been. I have two plants and tonight I harvested 34 BK, and one plant had 33 while the other only 1.

So far this season I’ve picked 116 Black Krim, so for me they are unbelievably productive for what can be a pretty good sized tomato. By comparison BW has given me 36 off one plant.

But BK are the KING OF CRACKS!!! And they crack very early in their development.

In my view Brandywine is a real close second. But for me both Brandywine and Black Krim on a BLT is just gourmet dining at home!


I have found in the Hudson Valley NY that any of the Eastern European black tomatoes just do not do well. Neither did Cherokee Purple or the newer black varieties from Baker Creek. The black cherry tomatoes from Baker Creek , I forgot the name, did very well but tasted terrible. The yellow tomatoes usually do great in my climate.

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Just want to thank everyone for posting their experience with black tomatoes. I’ll keep trying this color / varieties because they honestly do taste different. Less acid / seemingly denser like a steak / beautiful. But yeah they just aren’t flawless ever like my Ozark Pinks and Tigerellas… But such as it is…

I like carbon. It seems to have two forms. One is a round tomato similar to celebrity, which doesn’t get cracks and the other is the more typical oblong irregular shaped beefsteak type which cracks. It’s funny because the plant makes both types of tomatoes, but depending on the year or individual seed started one form may be more dominant. At least for me. I grew Cherokee purple this year as well and it was all over the map, meaning some were insipid, some really acidic, some were indistinguishable from carbon, and some were really flavorful.

Yesterday I harvested these JD’s Texas Special and Black From Tula tomatoes. We prefer the flavor of the Black From Tula.


Richard, I just looked back into this thread and saw your photo of tomatoes. Based on the concentric cracking, the darker tomatoes are Black From Tula. I have no idea what the pink tomatoes are, but they are NOT J.D.'s Special C-Tex. J.D.'s Special C-Tex was developed from a cross of Black Krim with Early Girl. It should be a very dark tomato with color similar to Black From Tula.

My favorite black tomato is Kumato. It is a hybrid but I suggest raising a few seedlings and selecting for healthy offspring producing large fruit. They grow well from seed and the fruit characteristics are on par with the parent. You will end up with a variety similar to true Kumato that is true-to-seed.

The main highlights of the variety are that it tastes good (duh), firm flesh even when fully ripe (very good for slicing) and that is has the longest shelf life of any variety that I’ve grown.

I knew the variety from the supermarket but was inspired to grow some seeds of those fruit after seeing this video:

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By black I assume we are talking about the older muddy brown tomatoes rather than the newer truly black high anthocyanin lines. Some of the high anthocyanin varieties are dreadful, others are excellent.

Taste is a very personal thing. Something that one person loves another may hate. I personally dislike kumato, I find they look pretty but taste extremely bland. They are better when not picked at breaker stage, cold stored, and ethylene ripened, but they are not good enough to bother growing when I have other options.

I really dislike ‘Black Russian’, they are very pretty but probably my least favourite heirloom tomato of any colour. Poor taste, low productivity, crack often, no thanks.

I really love ‘Japanese Black Trifelle’. It has green shoulders when ripe as most of the better tasting tomatoes do, it is highly productive in my garden, and it tastes great to me. The down side is that the fruit is a little small for my liking.

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All Ford cars : Do you really have to F ix O r R epair D aily
every one of them?
Have you ever: Said a bad word, taken something that didn’t belong to you, given an obscene gesture?

Ever, Never, All …. is really not a good way to form any question … for the answer is always “NO”.

I have tried a number of them and one which was literally all black…just a novelty …The green, and when fully ripe, burgundy/brown/green shoulders are fairly unavoidable. I cut it off when I use them (never quite understood the green tomato craze,…lacking flavour and toxic). Black Krim ( and I have come across some over the years that were not quite like my original ones, rich/satly/ anything you have to be a bit suspect of seeds)…they looked the same but flavour was not quite there. I continued to gather BK from various sources and plant all to see if I could get that back and I believe I did. Japanese Black Trifele (sp?) Is quite prolific and again, if left until shoulders are more burgundy/brown rather than green, are quite good. But you will need good heat and sun penetration. And leaving things longer, there’s always the critter problems.

I don’t care for the green tomatoes either, but Sun Green I did like. Hard to tell when ripe, they do turn a touch yellow. After a bit you figure it out. I mentioned this already and it hasn’t changed :slight_smile: For here Indian Stripe potato leaf grows decent. I like the dark tomatoes best. Black Krim is great but it’s too low a producer.

I was thinking of using gibberellic acid on my grapes to increase size. they are pretty good grapes! Einset is the cultivar. Produce like crazy. Needs a sulfur spray and may be a fungal magnet in bad areas. Anyway it’s a natural hormone. When reading up on the product it says you can use on tomatoes to increase fruit set. I think I will give it a try.