Marianna’s Peace: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2006

Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2006

Marianna's Peace TomatoThis is the tomato that I have been waiting to try all summer long. I have heard only rave reviews of this tomato, and being the celebrity chaser that I am, how could I resist?

Besides that, this is another one of those “back story of adventure” tomatoes. Marianna is supposedly a Nazi Holocaust survivor. And in case you had never heard the fact, the Nazi’s killed 6 million people of Jewish descent and killed an additional 5 million for other reasons. The story goes that Marianna narrowly escaped being a Holocaust statistic after escaping from a Nazi round-up at her Czech high school. It took her 10 years to find and rejoin her family. The seeds for this tomato were a gift from her father shortly before he died.

The description from the company I bought it from reads:

The sugary nectar of this huge 5 inch tomato’s creamy, dense, red flesh is intensely rich, with perfect sweet-acid balance and sublime, complex flavors reminiscent of the finest of the “old-fashioned” tomato flavors. This big, beautiful irresistible 1-2 lb. deep red fruit is the talk of the tomato world and has found its way into Top 10 favorite tomato lists of gourmands worldwide. It is perfection.

The Beauty Pageant:
Marianna's Peace Tomato Sliced

Size: This is spoken of as being a beefsteak tomato, but in my garden it is on the small side for being a beefsteak. It is a nice size but the ones that have come off the plant are not overly large.

Shape: Like a bed in a bad hotel, this tomato is lumpy and bumpy. Not so bad that you would wonder who won the fight, but definitely not a “pretty” tomato.

The inside: This tomato has very tight gelatin and relatively few seeds. Despite this, it is still a pretty juicy tomato. The meat seems to hold a nice bit of juice in it that is separate from the gelatin.

The chamber walls are nice and thick so there is quite a bit of meat to this tomato.

Texture: The texture is pretty smooth but soft. The meat to this tomato is not firm and falls apart pretty quickly as you chew it giving you the impression that you have a thick (and not unpleasant) tomato paste in your mouth.

Tasting:

Off the Vine Tasting: I am not disappointed in this tomato. As promised, this has a tomato’s tomato taste. Very tangy, very tomatoey. The gelatin carries most of this strong tomato flavor though. The meat has good flavor, but the gelatin is where the real tomato flavor party is at.

Sliced and Salted Tasting: Salt is this tomato’s friend with benefits. Adding salt to this tomato brings out a perfect amount of sweetness, and it truly is a perfect balance. All that tomato flavor that store bought tomatoes hint at but could never in a million tomatoes deliver on is brought to you in a single bite of this tomato.

Cooking Thoughts: This tomato seems like an all round good candidate for most things. Serve as a side on its own and it will get rave reviews. Make a salsa or bruschetta and it will get rave reviews. The soft flesh would make a great, quick sauce that would get… rave reviews. Great cooking tomato.

Growing Notes:
Now the bad news. Well, not really bad, just not as good as I would like. It is late in the season, and I am just now getting fruit off this plant. It is a small plant as well. If I get more than a half dozen tomatoes off it before the first frost, I am going to feel very lucky. And this tomato was in a pretty ideal location in my garden. It is healthy but it just does not produce.

The tomatoes also took forever to ripen. I have been looking at a half pink tomato on this plant for probably close to two weeks. Though you don’t see it in this pic, there is some green shoulders (top of the tomato) to this tomato that make it hard to determine when it is ripe. Even putting green shoulders aside, the squeeze for ripeness test still took longer than I liked for this tomato, especially given its low production.

I know, I know, it has been a bit too cold and a bit too warm over the past few weeks, but that is typical Cleveland weather and this tomato doesn’t seem like it can deal with that well.

Will Hanna grow this one again:
Yes, but with a disclaimer. This tomato is a showcase tomato at this point. A tomato that I grow simply because it tastes so good. I will grow it so that when I have a dinner party, I can put a few sliced ones on the table to show off what sort of fabulous flavors can come out of my garden. I will be lucky if I get enough to do that, let alone make a sauce from them.

8 thoughts on “Marianna’s Peace: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2006
  1. Jack on

    Hi,
    After reading your write-up on the Marianna’s Peace tomato, I would have to agree with you about most everything with one large exception. I grew 6 of these plants this year and every one of them bore an abundance of fruit, and over an extended season. I’m sure local weather conditions and soil type, etc. may have had a lot to do with it though. As far as taste goes, they’re #1 in my book, with the exception maybe of yellow brandywine, my personal favorite. My yellow brandywine tomatoes seem to always be mis-shapen, catfaced, but I love their taste. This was the first year that I grew the Marianna’s Peace and I think they are excellent. Regards,
    Jack

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  2. Hi Hanna,

    I just got some Marianna’s Peace seeds from Sorellina (YGG) who says that “she’s a monster of a plant” with fruit average 1.5 lbs.!

    I was glad to find your review of this variety when I googled it, though!

    Amy.

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  3. Doug C on

    Hi Hanna,
    I have to say your picture of the Marianna’s Peace seems off. Maybe the camera but if not, you need to let it ripen more on the vine. Way, way too early by that photo. Mine have always been very dark red in color. Marianna’s is one of my all-time favorites.
    Take care,
    Doug

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  4. Joan on

    I purchased a Marianna’s Peace tomato. It is huge, huge, huge. the tomatoes are as big as grapefruit. They are taking forever to ripen so I haven’t tasted them yet. I must have 60 or more tomatoes one one plant. The plant is over 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide.

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  5. Hi hanna, A little correction on marianna’s peace tomato history. It was the russian soilders not the natzi’s who came for marianna and her classmates. In case you have never herd the fact, the russians killed as high as 60 million mostley peasant farmers (christian people)condemned to siberian death camps. These farmers were self-reliant people who grew many varieties of tomatoes. In fact the many tomatoes that you grow today owe their origin to a once great people who were murdered. The hideous fact is stalin and his henchman were allies of the united states of america and great britain. The truth shall set you free. God bless!

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  6. I have been enjoying Marianna’s Peace for weeks now. My one and only plant has grown at least 10 feet and given me at least 45 tomatoes and still counting. All are at least 1.5 to two pounds each and delicious! All my neighbors are asking how I grew such fabulous tomatoes. I live in Southern California near the beach and just used compost in a raised bed. The tomatoes are very sweet with just a hint of acid. They are probably the best tomatoes I ever tasted. I am now saving the seeds. Remember the gestational period is about 85 days so plant early and enjoy. Joan

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  7. I received a packet of Mariannas peace seeds free from a local garden centre. I only managed to get one seed to germinate,but the plant grew well in a pot in my little lean-to greenhouse which it shares with 6 Money makers.It has produced 8 large fruit which, given the less than perfect conditions,I am pleased with. They seem to be taking a while to ripen, which given other people”s comments, seems to be the norm.Fred.

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