It’s sometimes difficult to sort through the staggering array of tomato and pepper varieties available in today’s markets. I try to help customers at the market by asking a series of questions, focusing on the ultimate use of their tomatoes. Do they make a lot of salsa? Are they at the cabin and away from home a lot? Do they entertain and want beautiful color and variety in their salads? Are they into DIY and want to dry, can or pickle their tomatoes? Are they novice gardeners and want the best chance of success? Etc.
In addition to the questions, I post signs with photos of the heirloom tomato and pepper varieties available at the farmers market that year. Even if you are not a customer, these signs may help you organize your thoughts on which varieties to purchase.
Heirloom Tomato and Pepper Varieties Summarized by Best Use:
The following photos are signs I use at the markets, and they are organized by color and/or type of tomato primarily because these categories are easiest to explain to customers at a busy market. For more specific information on size, growth habit, flavor, and disease resistance see this post which gives more in-depth information
Best Tomato Varieties for Early Tomatoes and/or Best for Disease Resistance:
Best Heirloom Tomatoes for Making Sauces or Growing in Containers:
Best Main-Season Tomatoes for Slicing & Fresh Eating (i.e., think BLTs):
Best Beefsteak-Type Heirloom Varieties (think BLTs and bragging rights – generally later):
Heirloom Tomato Varieties – Gourmet Black Varieties:
Best Heirloom Tomato Varieties – Sweet Orange Varieties:
Best Heirloom Tomato Varieties – Mild Yellow & Tangy Green:
Best Heirloom Tomato Varieties – Gourmet Striped:
Best Variety of Cherry Tomatoes (Heirloom & Hybrid):
Best Pepper Varieties – Hot & Spicy:
Best Pepper Varieties – Sweet:
Share some of your favorites? I’d love to hear about the varieties you like or love, as well as the ones that haven’t done well for you in the past, for whatever reason.