The ground isn’t even frozen yet, and already I’m searching the new seed catalogues, looking for sweet cherry tomatoes to grow next year. Seed catalogues and gardeners all seem to agree that cherry tomatoes have greater concentrations of sugar than larger, full-size fruits.
Most catalogues will describe a cherry tomato as sweet, or even very sweet, but seldom do they let on exactly how sweet a tomato can be. Probably that’s because soil, moisture and climate conditions are so influential that no one can predict how much sugar a tomato will develop during a growing season. But certain hybrid cherry tomato cultivars (and possibly some species cherry tomatoes) are known to have the genetic predisposition to acquire more than average sweetness.
I’m always on the prowl in seed catalogues, looking for cherry tomato descriptions that give a brix sugar rating for the fruits. So far, I’ve found a few in the new 2013 catalogues, including ‘Sweet Orange TMVF’ with a 9 to 10 brix rating, ‘Golden Honey Bunch VFFT’ with 10 brix, and ‘Cupid F’ with red fruits and 8.2 brix (these three from stokeseeds.com). Another is golden ‘Sun Sugar F-1’ with 10 brix and twice as much vitamin A as similar red cherry tomatoes (from damseeds.com).
The scale of sugar content is measured with a brix refractometer (available from leevalley.com), which would make a terrific holiday gift. It would be an interesting project to measure the sugar brix ratings of cherry tomatoes I grow. Some gardeners have certain favourites they grow every year, and it would be useful to have sugar brix ratings to compare, in much the same way sugar in wine grapes is monitored and compared from one year to another.
I’ve only just begun to survey the field of catalogue offerings, and you can be sure I’ll be back with more about the sweetest cherry tomatoes. It might take all winter to develop a definitive list, but I’m on it.