Tomatoes are the most-important item for Louisiana vegetable growers selling at roadside stands and farmers' markets. A consistent supply of tomatoes draws customers and helps the sale of other produce. Growers are using hot-set tomatoes to extend the production of tomatoes into the summer and fall months. Louisiana growers are looking for hot-set tomato varieties to use in the summer and fall that set good crops of extra-large and large size tomatoes that are crack-resistance and firm with good color and shape. Florida 91 was used as the standard in making comparisons of the other varieties.
Twelve hot-set tomato varieties were evaluated at the Hammond Research Station, Hammond, La., Willard and Elaine Vicknair Farms, Ponchatoula, La., Matt Ranataza Farms, Belle Chasse, La. and Lynn Day Farms, Kentwood, La. All the plots were planted in early August. Planting the plots at this time provide an evaluation of the performance of these varieties for the summer as well as the fall seasons.
The varieties were evaluated for maturity, yield, fruit size, fruit color, fruit cracks, firmness, plant size, foliage, fruit shape and taste. The planting at Hammond Research Station was evaluated three times while plantings at growers' fields were evaluated only once.
The top varieties in the test were BHN 216, Phoenix and Florida 91.
BHN 216 is a medium-early variety that produces good yields of large-size fruit with no cracks. The fruit were firm with good shape and color and with a good-to-fair taste.
Phoenix is a medium-maturing variety that produces good yields of large and extra-large fruit. The fruit was firm, had no cracks and had a good-to-fair taste. The fruit shape and color were good. The plants were medium to large in size and had good to very good foliage.
Florida 91 is a medium-late variety that produces large and extra-large fruit with good color and shape. The fruit were firm and did not crack. The fruit were borne on a medium-large size plant with good foliage. The taste was good-to-fair.
Growers are encouraged to try these varieties for summer and fall tomato production.
The evaluation of the performance of the twelve hot-set tomato varieties is in the attached table.