Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners is a citizen science program







'Opalka' Tomatoes
 
Sub-Category: Paste
Main-Season
Heirloom
 
Description: Open pollinated. Main season paste type from Poland. Indeterminate plants produce with bright red, 3 to 5 inch, solid, pepper shaped, dry textured, nearly seedless fruit in clusters of 3 to 5. About 80 to 90 days to maturity.
Days To Maturity: 80-90
Seed Sources: Seed Savers Exchange - updated in 2014
Fedco Seeds - updated in 2014
Totally Tomato - updated in 2014
Reimer Seeds - updated in 2014

 
Rating Summary
 
Overall: (4.1 Stars)Overall
Taste: (4.3 Stars)Taste
Yield: (3.9 Stars)Yield
Ease/Reliability: (4.0 Stars)Ease/Reliability
 
Reviews
 
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Number of Reviews: 35

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KEY: O=Overall Rating, T=Taste, Y=Yield, E=Ease

Reviewed on 03/07/2018 by TheFluffyOne - An experienced gardener

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Taste Taste
Yield Yield
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Kane, Illinois, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

A great paste tomato, even good fresh. This is THE paste tomato for me. I have only grown it a few times 2009. 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016 but what a great tomato. There are few seeds with this one, it is relatively dry, with a strong tomato flavor. I like it better than Amish paste and San Marzano. It seems to have innate disease resistance though prone to bloom rot. Oddly, squirrels seem to favor this one.
 

Reviewed on 11/11/2015 by Linda J - An experienced gardener

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Broome, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Small - Less than 400 square feet (20' x 20')
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

Good yield, flavor and texture for sauces. Susceptible to blossom end rot.
 

Reviewed on 12/05/2012 by ClaudiaH. - An experienced gardener

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Cortland, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 143 - 163 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

Opalka tomatoes are very unusual. They are shaped like a bullhorn. A good sizes paste tomato, nearly seedless.
 

Reviewed on 11/10/2012 by NH Seacoast - An intermediate gardener

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New Hampshire, United States
Frost Free Season: 143 - 163 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

What a funny looking tomato! The taste is superb for salsas and sauces, very easy to peel. Hardly any seeds or jelly, meaty bright red beauties. Not a tall plant. Produced most of our season, few problems. If I had jarred spaghetti sauce, I would add a few of these and they would add a rich flavor. Will grow these again, and more plants.
 

Reviewed on 10/30/2012 by Chautauqua CCE - An experienced gardener

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Chautauqua, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 143 - 163 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

Great tomato that brought a lot of attention in the garden even while it was still green. The skin felt thick and almost leathery when green and when it matured to red it was beautiful. Very tasty and VERY FEW SEEDS....this was one several of our volunteers and our attendees at the open houses noted to plant for next year.
 

Reviewed on 10/24/2012 by Roots & Wisdom - An experienced gardener

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Schenectady, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Small - Less than 400 square feet (20' x 20')
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

Great tomato
 

Reviewed on 10/22/2012 by CCE Oneida County - An intermediate gardener

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Oneida, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

The color of this tomatoe is a very bright red. This along with it\'s shape drew much attention in our garden. It is a firm tomato with few seeds. However, we experienced much blossom end rot with this variety.
 

Reviewed on 10/22/2012 by nmeohen1 - An experienced gardener

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Cortland, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 103 - 123 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Large - More than 1,600 square feet (40' x 40')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

Loved the nearly no seed fruit.
 

Reviewed on 10/19/2012 by CCE Seneca County - An intermediate gardener

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Seneca, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Small - Less than 400 square feet (20' x 20')
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

Our one plant did not produce until very late in the season and then many fell off the vine before they were ripe. The 3\\\' bed was over-crowded and not staked well so this could be the problem. The fruit that was produced was very big and tasty. Good for sauces and salsa.
 

Reviewed on 09/11/2012 by LouLou - An experienced gardener

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Wayne, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

The Opalka has over-achieved this summer, beginning in compost-amended soil in our trial beds. Despite the low rainfall (we watered at least once a week) and high temperatures, this variety performed beautifully and we have had at least a bushel of fruit from early August to mid-September from this one plant. We had to trim off many branches in early August to allow two other companion tomato plants enough room for their growth. The fruit is tasty and makes a nice, red tomato sauce.
 

Reviewed on 06/05/2011 by sadie - An experienced gardener

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All Counties, Ontario, Canada
Frost Free Season: 123 - 143 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Large - More than 1,600 square feet (40' x 40')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

I have been looking for a main crop for canning and salsa. This is the variety! They have a great taste for eating or canning. The larger size means you have to wash and peel fewer tomatoes. These did not resist late blight, but then not much did.
 

Reviewed on 02/28/2011 by Jules48 - An intermediate gardener

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Greene, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Small - Less than 400 square feet (20' x 20')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

This is a great tasting variety that I've gotten a good yield from. Unfortunately, it is not disease resistant. With the blight issues over the past few years Opalka didn't fair well in my Northeast garden. This is one I just may try again in the future.
 

Reviewed on 02/17/2011 by Ferdzy - An intermediate gardener

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Ontario, Canada
Frost Free Season: 143 - 163 days
Soil Texture: Sand
Garden Size: Large - More than 1,600 square feet (40' x 40')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

This has been one of our two standard paste tomatoes for years. Large, densely meaty, horn-shaped red fruits produced in abundance. These are, of course, a paste (cooking) tomato but they are good enough to eat fresh in a pinch.
 

Reviewed on 01/11/2011 by Charlie LI - A novice gardener

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Suffolk, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: More than 203 days
Soil Texture: Not Sure
Garden Size: Small - Less than 400 square feet (20' x 20')
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

This review is a little late but, I had 4 opalka plants and they grew to be huge plants, they broke the stakes and started producing fruit, and more fruit, and more...What I couldn't eat or process in time went to friends at work who wanted more. I lost some to blossom end rot but 95% of the fruit was fine. Meaty, good size, great taste and I canned 30 Quarts of them. This was my first year growing them and I will keep them as a staple in my garden.
 

Reviewed on 11/14/2010 by TheFluffyOne - An experienced gardener

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Kane, Illinois, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

Caveats I rated this as a paste tomato for cooking and not eating out of hand, it was a hard year for tomatoes here again (2010) . These tomatoes were huge bull horn-shaped, my seed source was PineTree since someone mentioned fruit size variability with suppliers (I DO NOT recommend PineTree btw). The yield was very, very high and they held well on the vine. . As others indicated they did not ripen evenly for me, and I had to pull them and ripen them inside a bit to even things out, but they were simply fantastic for pasta night. Little seed, thick and meaty with no excess moisture. I never got around to drying these, but imagine they would be fantastic subjects. I also grew San Marzano as a paste tomato and these simply blew those out of the water. I will continue to grow this next year, what a fantastic tomato. ********************************************************************************** 2o11, 212 update. I continue to grow this tomato. In 2012 I compared it to Amish Paste...Opalka fared very favorably against it. It has far more resistance to blossom end rot than San Marzano and is a wonderful tomato for sauce or drying. I grow this one for sauce and in that regard it is the possibly the best. One more thing, tomatoes were originally grown as ornamentals, and the ornamental value of this plant is extremely high.
 

Reviewed on 08/23/2010 by GaetanoL - An intermediate gardener

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Westchester, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 183 - 203 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Small - Less than 400 square feet (20' x 20')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

Great flavor. Good yield, but I lost more Opalka fruit to blossom end rot than to any other variety. I am a home gardener with about 20 tomato plants and 12 different varieties. Also, I had a large range in size of fruit...much more than any of my other varieties planted.
 

Reviewed on 12/30/2009 by KathyW - An experienced gardener

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Foster, North Dakota, United States
Frost Free Season: 103 - 123 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

We've grown this for many years and find that seeds from some catalogs produce small fruit (perhaps 3 in.) while others produce 6+ in. fruit. All have similar leaves and good, dry fruit. The big ones do not ripen evenly for us - perhaps sunburning? Also susceptible to blossom end rot. Salsa that includes small Opalkas thickens after canning and cooling!
 

Reviewed on 06/19/2009 by Gman71 - An experienced gardener

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Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Frost Free Season: 123 - 143 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

Opalka in my humble opinion is one of if not the best paste tomato I have ever tasted. It is a bit drier than some, but out of tons of tomatoes I have ever tasted, it really tastes rich and seems to be the type of flavor that our grandparents would raise and talk about. It does have a tendency to crack and be imperfect but one should keep in mind that this is a sauce tomato and not a table tomato.
 

Reviewed on 03/21/2009 by Raun - An experienced gardener

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Franklin, Ohio, United States
Frost Free Season: 123 - 143 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

Grew this variety for the first time last year (six plants.) Finest eating and paste-sauce variety I have tried to date. Growing double the amount of plants this year since they outperformed other Roma types we have tried in the past. I did find that to make sauce I needed to alternate a juicier tomato or else I would clog my mill. Meaty and sweet! No added sweeteners to my sauce last year, which is a good thing. Eating or preserving, definitely a five star tomato in my opinion..
 

Reviewed on 03/08/2009 by Macadoo - An intermediate gardener

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Montgomery, Pennsylvania, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Small - Less than 400 square feet (20' x 20')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

these were the most prolific and fleshy sauce tomatoes I have grown. they were very tasty
 

Reviewed on 01/04/2009 by brokenbar - An experienced gardener

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Big Horn, Wyoming, United States
Frost Free Season: 103 - 123 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Large - More than 1,600 square feet (40' x 40')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

Love these! I have a sun-dried tomato business and these are stellar producers of meaty, tasty, drier fruits that have few seeds. These dry beautifully and pack a nice tang. Oddly enough, they are not as tasty eating out of hand but there flavor improves with cooking. BIG and you can get some interesting shapes! A very old heirloom that is still around for a reason!
 

Reviewed on 01/22/2008 by ant - An experienced gardener

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Logan, Illinois, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

I grew this in 2007. It yielded reasonably well. It made fantastic sauce with no extra cooking time. It was pretty much sauce right out of the mill. It would certainly have reduced the time if I had been making paste. The taste of the sauce was wonderfully sweet.
 

Reviewed on 12/27/2007 by rwkrieger - An intermediate gardener

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Prince William, Virginia, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

Excellant taste in a sauce or raw. A decent producer and some can get really big. Not the most blemish free tomato but I plant it every year in my Northern VA garden.
 

Reviewed on 03/16/2007 by GardenMom - A novice gardener

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Albany, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 103 - 123 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

This variety is worth growing for the look of it, especially if you have kids. Watching the unusual shapes grow and ripen is a ton of fun. However, they aren't super prolific (although moderately so) and many of the tomatoes have blossom end rot. There weren't any other disease issues and the taste was great for a paste tomato. It didn't make the cut to grow this upcoming year in my small garden, but I would definitly love to grow it again!
 

Reviewed on 01/13/2007 by Best Chance - An intermediate gardener

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Oakland, Michigan, United States
Frost Free Season: 143 - 163 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Small - Less than 400 square feet (20' x 20')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

I just like this tomato for some reason. It is so cool-looking, pretty tasty, and prolific for its variety.
 

Reviewed on 12/23/2006 by Suz - An experienced gardener

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Dutchess, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Large - More than 1,600 square feet (40' x 40')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

I use this tomato and polish linguisa as the base for the sauce I can each year. The tomatoes are huge and very meaty, with few seeds. The shoulders are not usually green, which helps when I am processing these for sauce. However, this tomato is too large to can whole, for the most part. I grow roma or san marzano when I want sauce that has whole tomatoes in it. This year (and the blight was hard on the tomatoes) I processed 45 quarts of sauce from about 10 tomato plants. In my opinion, however, the plants need some special pruning to allow the fruit to mature properly. So when the plants reach the top of the 4' cages, I start to prune all of the flowers off, and any suckers that form. That way I know that I will have the majority of the tomatoes ripening around the end of August/beginning of September for canning. However, the flavor of the canned tomato is excellent, and
 

Reviewed on 11/24/2006 by Jess_L - An intermediate gardener

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Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Small - Less than 400 square feet (20' x 20')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

I was not too happy with it. It did produce a lot of tomatos, but by the time they got ripe they were badly blemished. I wasn't that impressed with the taste either.
 

Reviewed on 10/17/2006 by Char - An experienced gardener

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Essex, New York, United States
Frost Free Season: Fewer than 103 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

I had great success with this plant in Illinois with my clay soil, and am now enjoying it here in the Adirondacks with the rocky loam/sand soil. Very prolific - I just let it roam, and get very good sized fruit that is thick-walled and exceptional for drying, and for use in chili and salsa.
 

Reviewed on 06/12/2006 by jlo - An intermediate gardener

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Blue Earth, Minnesota, United States
Frost Free Season: 103 - 123 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Small - Less than 400 square feet (20' x 20')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

Grown in a large container on patio in Minnesota. Receives 8 plus hours of sun a day. Reaches height of 8 feet by September. Wispy, curley growing habit requires substantial center stake and a cage. Need to tie new growth weekly to the support stakes. We have broad temp fluxuations in Summer, yet with only occasional BT spray and kelp spray foliage remains disease free. Branches droop, so I cut off lower limbs so they do not touch the soil and pick up disease. I think this helps even through they are in pots. I love it for its quirky shape, flavor and texture as a paste tomato. However, I wish it were more prolific. It is Mid June and flowers have not set yet. If our growing season were just a bit longer I would get more yield. Many of the fruit did not have time to ripen last year. This year I am also planting one in the ground to compare with the container grown. Inconsistent watering, especially as the plant becomes large and demanding of attention, can create blossom end rot. Only on a few tomatoes though. Definitely my favorite paste tomato even with the lower yield. August: The Oplaka planted in the ground is much more prolific, and taller, at least 7 feet tall and 3feet wide. Also the one in the container has had some blossom end rot, as it is harder to keep the soil moisture content consistent. I tried spraying some magnesium (epsom salt) on the plant to help with this and I think it worked. Both container and ground planted Oplaka have tomatoes just starting to turn red and I have read that cutting the top of bush off will encourage the tomatoes to ripen faster. The plants are both beautiful with no disease and we have had a hot humid Summer. September: Very tall (8ft.) , wide (4ft) and very prolific the ground grown Opalka has slightly more fruit than the container version. They have and continue to make the most flavor intense sauce. Very few seeds and no spongy white interior. The container grown plant also is very tall. The inconsistent watering that can occur more easily with container plants,shuts off the calcium uptake and minimal blossom end rot occurs. Other container grown paste tomato varieties had more issues with blossom end rot if there was uneven watering.The tomato performed well through a month of many 90 degree days, with minimal blossom drop. Very disease resistant but I also placed landscaping fabric under the plant so no foliage touched the ground. The yield in quantity is much less than some paste tomatoes however the tomatoes are large and almost all of the tomato is useable.
 

Reviewed on 03/23/2006 by Cowpoke - An experienced gardener

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Stokes, North Carolina, United States
Frost Free Season: 143 - 163 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Large - More than 1,600 square feet (40' x 40')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

Poor yields at times. Fruits are very dry and meaty. Excellent for slasa and sauce.
 

Reviewed on 12/26/2005 by MATERGIRL - An intermediate gardener

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York, Pennsylvania, United States
Frost Free Season: 123 - 143 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Large - More than 1,600 square feet (40' x 40')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

This tomatoe does live up to its press in terms of being dry and meaty and large. I found the taste good, but a little too dry for me. It is a large tomato for a paste type. I might give it another try as I didn't cage the plants and did lose fruit to rot because of this. It's impressive looking because of its size and intense red color. I wanted a canning tomato and I'd try this one again. Did not have disease problems others have reported. In 2007 planted 3 Opalkas. Two of them produced small paste toms. The other produced large paste toms with fern-like wilty leaves. Yet another garden mystery. Seed was from Totally Tomatoes. Still, they were all good for canning.
 

Reviewed on 12/02/2005 by Joachim - An experienced gardener

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Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Large - More than 1,600 square feet (40' x 40')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

If you want to taste an excellent paste tomato try Opalka. Very meaty, virtually seedless and loaded with exquisite, refreshing, sweet flavors, marvelous for sauce. The foliage is wispy but the plant is very vigorous and prolific, often the tallest plant in the garden.
 

Reviewed on 09/28/2005 by Lisa in Oregon - An intermediate gardener

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Oregon, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Clay
Garden Size: Large - More than 1,600 square feet (40' x 40')
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

Didn't produce very many fruit, and disease prone; wasn't worth growing for me.
 

Reviewed on 01/21/2005 by Julie - An intermediate gardener

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Kentucky, United States
Frost Free Season: 163 - 183 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Medium - 400 square feet to 1,600 square feet
Sun Exposure: More than 8 hours per day

Opalka has been a real delight for me; in growing out, I never have problems with seedlings, but the variety has seemed a little more susceptible to some bacterial/blight problems, and some blossom-end rot in years with more irregular water or less fertile soils, not unlike many other paste-types in my garden. Taste is excellent balance of sweet/acid, with a richness lots of paste tomatoes lack. Easy to process and can. A very pretty tomato!
 

Reviewed on 01/21/2005 by tomatokc - An experienced gardener

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Missouri, United States
Frost Free Season: 143 - 163 days
Soil Texture: Loam
Garden Size: Large - More than 1,600 square feet (40' x 40')
Sun Exposure: 6 to 8 hours per day

My favorite tasting paste. Using it to make hybrids and new varieties. Outstanding when cooked down.
 




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