NC State Extension

Grape Tomato Variety Evaluation

PROJECT LEADER(S): Doug Sanders, Randy Gardner
TYPE OF PROJECT: Research
LOCATION: Cunningham Research Station, Kinston, NC

IMPACT

This study was designed to identify high-quality grape tomato varieties that are adapted to growing conditions in eastern North Carolina. The goal of this research is to enable growers in this region to effectively capitalize on an existing and profitable specialty market.

METHODS

A total of 11 grape tomato varieties were evaluated for yield and quality. A selection of 5 of Dr. Gardner’s most advanced lines were grown, as well as 6 commercially available varieties.

RESULTS

This trial was severely compromised by Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. Thus, only comments about fruit characteristics are made. Some plants escaped infestation until later in the season; characterization of plant habit should be interpreted with caution. All cultigens except Chiquita had acceptable fruit size, but only PX 2036 and Sweet Olive were considered to have acceptable uniformity of size. NC 017914, Chiquita, and Jolly Elf had unacceptable flavor. PX 2036, Sweet Olive and Chiquita cracked badly. NC 017914 was the only cultigen with poor color.

Variety Source Fruit
Size
7/2/02
Uniformity
Rating
7/29/02
Flavor
7/29/02
Free
Crack
7/29/02
Color
7/29/02
Sweetness and
Comments 7/2/02
NC123G NCSU 5 X X X X — Vigorous bush
NC017914 NCSU 5 1 2 5 2 4 ??
NC02147 NCSU 4 X X X X 5 ??
NC02181 NCSU X X X X 3 Cracks and large bush
NC02186 NCSU 5 1 3 5 4 3 SM variable
PX 2036 Seminis 5 4 3 3 4.5 4 Big vine good yield
Sweet Olive Johnnys 3 4 2 4 Cracks and open small vine, not all green fruit
Chiquita Johnnys 2 2 2 2 4 Cracks bad and open bush, too large
St. Nick Sieger 5 2 3 4 4 4 Vigor and too much bush
Jolly Elf Sieger 1 2 5 X 2 Short vine, very large fruit
Favorita Johnnys X X X X — Bad BER

Ratings: 1= worst, 5= best.

CONCLUSION

Yields were not calculated this year due to disease problems. Additional trials are needed to identify appropriate varieties. Exploring methods to control Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus should be a top priority in further research. The Specialty Crops Program is funding an additional study in 2003 that will provide more information.

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