Heinz 1439 Tomato: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2008

Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2008

Heinz 1439 TomatoWhile the better part of the tomatoes I grow are heirlooms, I don’t specifically have anything against hybrid tomatoes. This year, I thought it would be fun to grow one of the tomatoes I talked about in “Corporate Tomatoes, Company Peppers”. A tomato developed specifically for the food industry.

As mentioned in the article, these tomatoes are nothing like the tomatoes you find in the grocery store. Just like your home garden, the manufacturing giants have the luxury of being able to pick fruit at the peak of ripeness and process it quickly. So, can food science produce a better tomato? What exactly does corporate perfection taste like? It cannot hurt to find out.

The description from the company I got it from reads:

(VFA) This is a determinate hybrid variety. It is a bit generic sounding for most heirloom tomato growers. However, this is going to be a trial for 2008 to try a commercial type tomato grown by Heinz Company. Maybe we should have also tried a Campbell’s type? Let’s find out if this type is very tasty or like some of our tasteless winter commercial purchases from our local grocery. Seed company states that it was “developed especially for the best ketchup, purees, and sauces”. Smooth, slightly flattened 6 oz. globes. Good resistance to disease and cracking/splitting. DETERMINATE, 80 days.

The Beauty Pageant:

Size: Medium. Every fruit is pretty much the size of a baseball.

Shape: Round and just a smidge wobbly shaped.

Color: Red. While I hope it does not taste like a grocery store tomato, it sure does look like one.

The inside: Slightly loose gel, but overall it holds up well to slicing. The seeds are rather large for the size of the tomato and I am willing to bet that is by design. This tomato was made to be turned into sauces and condiments, so large seeds would make it easier to mesh them out.   Thick core with thin walls.

Texture: Very smooth, but the skin is a bit tough. Again, I would be willing to bet that is by design as the skins would need to stand up to a little additional processing to be removed.


Off the Vine Tasting: Tangy, very tangy and very full tomato flavor, especially in the gel. The meat is not as full flavored but still nice and has a sweet undertone to it.

Sliced and Salted Tasting: Salt really cranks the flavor and tang up. Once again, I would not be surprised if this was by design as this would be beneficial to a processed product.

Cooking Thoughts: While of course this would make a wonderful sauce (after all, I don’t think that a company would spend tens of thousands of dollars producing a sauce tomato that is no good for sauce) the strong tomato flavor of this tomato lends itself to all kinds of tomato-y things like bruschetta, salsa, salads, etc.

Growing Notes:
Very prolific plant. Well contained as well.

Will Hanna grow this one again:
Probably not. This is a very good tomato, but not one you will find on the trading lists (due to it being a hybrid) so I would have to buy it each year. It is just not that much of a wowsa tomato to go out of my way for it.

7 thoughts on “Heinz 1439 Tomato: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2008
  1. When you don’t know about anything else as far as planting you can always plant tomatoes especially in the south. With the steady supply of tomatoes you can have fresh vegetables on your table for a longer period of time.


  2. I’ve been reading your Tomato Tastings 2008 posts, and they’re great! It’s really interesting reading. Thank you for sharing.


  3. I was wondering if you’ve tried the heirloom ‘Green Zebra?’
    It’s our first green, and I was thinking it might be similar to ‘Green Moldovan.’


  4. I have just started my first vegie garden and have just planted my first tomato seeds. I am gardening in Australia and Spring has just sprung. I have planted grosse lisse which seem to be a very common tomato and I am hoping one that is forgiving to the beginner! I am very keen to buy the more unusual varieties of vegetable and your tomato tastings just keeps inspiring me on to bigger and better.


  5. Keith on

    I thought 1439 was open pollinated. Anyway, I was surprised how good they turned out to be. I hadn’t expected much from them, but they have produced about as well as any. And while they may not have the character of some others, they hold their own. I’ll definitely have a spot for one or two in my tomato patch this spring.


  6. MM on

    If this is the Heinz 1439, it is available from seed savers because it is OP. I just planted for Fall 2009 and used seeds I saved for the 2008 season. It pretty much matches the size and description above but I would add that I could taste a flavor that reminded me of Heinz catsup.

    The only negative I have is that it does take a week longer than early varieties.


  7. eris on

    The others above are correct, Heinz 1439 is open pollinated. Even though its origin and use is commercial, Heinz has the ability to pick the tomatoes when perfectly ripe and process them immediately, so there is no need for the benefits hybridization usually provides (long storage life, bigger, sturdier fruit, etc).

    I adore them for their super-tomato-y flavor and for the thin skin that slips right off.


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