Paste tomato review so far in 2019

This year I didn’t grow my old standbys (San Marzano and Opalka) at all. I wanted to try all new blood. This post only ranks the paste type tomatoes, which is the majority of what I grow, since I make lots of soups, salsa, and sauces.

Plum Regal. It was expensive seed, but these things produce like nuts, and I get large (5-7 Oz), perfect plum tomatoes. My earliest paste variety this season. Firm texture, better than Roma, bigger, and not a speck of BER. Not a SINGLE fruit has rotten on the vine. Determinate, but as of today they are still growing and blooming. Average flavor for a Roma-type but cooks well. Plants are at about 48” tall (caged).

Giant Garden Paste. These are shaped like a small beefsteak but denser. Not impressed with production so far. Healthy plants but very light production, indeterminate, so they may kick in yet. No BER so far. Typical paste tomato flavor.

Marzinera. Hybrid of San Marzano with Cream Sausage. Fairly shy producer so far, but a vigorous, indeterminate plant, much like it’s San Marzano parent. So far, about a third have BER (something I don’t get much of in general). The ones that ripened well have a San marzano - like flavor. They’re a bit more orange than the others, but red inside.

Cordova. Later variety only just now producing. Fruit very similar to Plum Regal. Also determinate but a deeper green, taller, denser plant than Plum Regal. No BER so far. As I said, it seems to be a bit later, and is rated at 85 DTM versus Plum Regal’s 72 or 75 (sources vary, but the lower number seems accurate for me).

Based on the amount of green fruit, I expect it to be a similarly strong producer, typical of determinate paste tomatoes. Still growing and blooming, plants are about 55” tall.


Thanks for posting this, you answered the question I was about to ask. I was happy with my Jersey Devil last year and the year before, but this year I’m having more blight than I’d like to see on some of them and the 2 plants I put on “virgin” dirt, which was amended with manure and a heaping handful of tomato tone in the planting hole, is producing almost 100% of its Jersey Devils with blossom end rot. I figured at least the tomato tone would have provided enough calcium over there.

With the paste tomatoes, I’m basically looking for the Early Girl of paste tomatoes. Good but not necessarily the best taste (it’s being cooked anyways…), good disease resistance, indeterminate, and a massive yield. It sounds like Plum Regal may be the one to get. I’m going to have to put Plum Regal on my list for next year. Never mind, it’s determinate. Any recommendations for indeterminate paste tomatoes?

I planted some Country Taste tomatoes after reading Alan’s posts about it, but they get much more blight than Better Boy and Early Girl and don’t produce nearly as much as they do. If I order Country Taste again it’ll only be for the sake of my next door neighbor who loves the plants I gave her this year.

As far as cherry tomatoes goes, I’m still happy with the Jolly hybrid. I was even happier a few years ago when a volunteer came up and produced medium sized tomatoes that were otherwise just like the Jollys, but I didn’t save the seed.

Although determinate, Plum Regal produces well for at least 60 days for me. Which is about how long it takes for the septoria blight to set in and start really beating the crap out of the plants.

Even my indeterminates are usually dead well before the first frost.

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Here in CT I’m able to control the blight on most hybrids and some heirlooms by aggressively pruning the lower foliage and keeping the upper part of the plant a little bit open/airy until late summer when I just let it go. I’m talking about keeping the foliage more than 2 feet off the ground. I also water properly almost every evening, keeping the leaves dry as I do it. Good nutrition, a good amount of water, and good pruning practices does the trick here. But I grow only so many types of tomatoes in any given year, mostly hybrids…

I have a neighbor who’s one of those people who grows 120 tomato plants and about 25 different varieties of tomatoes every year. They grow lots of hybrids and lots of heirlooms. The blight kills some really tasty tomatoes from their garden. I don’t see the point in growing some of the tomatoes they grow if you’re only going to get a few before blight kills the plant.

Paste Tomatoes in general are better than the slicers when fall rains hit me. I like Northern Ruby Paste, and Heinz 2653.