tomato taste test: ‘juliet’ plum, farm-market find

Juliet small paste tomatoesI CAME UP ONE BATCH SHORT OF HOMEGROWN PASTE TOMATOES this year, thanks to super-dry weather, eccentric bouts of pollination-thwarting heat, and a posse of marauding chipmunks. Not bad, really, but not quite enough to fill the freezer—I needed maybe 10 more pounds. Farmer’s market to the rescue yesterday with a big bag of ‘Juliet,’ an F1 hybrid small plum that grows in grape-like clusters—a tomato I have never grown, or tasted. Ever tried it?

The fruits of ‘Juliet’ are somewhere between a plum and a grape or cherry type of tomato— just 2 inches long or so—and borne in clusters of 12 to 18. They’re small enough that I simply halved them (above) for the skins-and-all quick tomato sauce that I freeze 40 containers of each year. I am fascinated with this rich-tasting little plum, now bubbling happily on the stove. Johnny’s Selected Seed rated indeterminate ‘Juliet’ as their most disease-resistant variety in trials (no small honor), I learned today.

I have Roberto Flores, the self-proclaimed Dirtmeister at Good Dogs Farm in Ashley Falls, Massachusetts, to thank for growing the brimming bag of ‘Juliet,’ and my crafty neighbor Susan Schneider of Shandell’s, who scooped them up for me yesterday, knowing I’d been complaining about being a bag or two short. And I have the Millerton, New York, farmers’ market to thank, too—appreciation all around, friends.

Have you grown ‘Juliet’ (packet of seed for next year, anyone?) or even more to the point: Have you discovered some new favorite varieties of fruit, vegetable, or herb at your farmers’ market?

  1. Louise says:

    Juliets haven’t done so well perhaps because we had times of too much rain and largely cool temperatures. We also had a late spring and late summer after the long winter, this year. My 4th of July tomatoes are almost ripe, now. But the Rosalita tomato, Golden Sweet, Sungold and Sweetpeas have done the best. They’re all small, but having great tasting tomatoes every day now is precious.

  2. Gene says:

    I’ve grown Juliets for years and still love them for lunch snacks, sliced in salads or on pizza. She prefers Moby Grapes in her salads; but will eat the Juliets as a snack. Who’s to miss one or two walking through the kitchen.

    At the end of the year, there’s always a “last of the tomatoes” batch of soup for the freezer.

  3. Karen says:

    A posse of marauding chipmunks! What a lovely sounding phrase except to deal with. We have a few of those. Looking forward to trying 3 different cherry tomatoes and a supersweet (it’s hot in Atlanta) and maybe a brandywine this summer. Love, love your tomato and seed starting advice. Any other advice for us tomato lovers in the hot zone?
    Thanks, Karen

  4. Dianne says:

    For the last several years I’ve been seeing Johnny’s Seeds advertising ‘Verona’ tomato as the improved ‘Juliet’. I finally bit the bullet and ordered those pricey seeds. Don’t you believe it, I am here to say you can’t improve on a ‘Juliet.’ Save your money and don’t try the new and improved variety. Sorry ‘Verona’ you just don’t have what it takes.

  5. Rosemary says:

    Yes, have grown Juliet for several years.Get local plants from Piedmont Farm and Garden, Spartanburg, SC. Check their website for amazing variety (with pictures) of hundreds of varieties of tomato and pepper plants!

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