Silvery Fir Tomato: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2009

Part of Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2009

silvery fir tomatoThere is one self evident truth about vegetables. If someone has worked really, really hard to make one that looks extra pretty, chances are it will taste pretty blech. Tomatoes especially. So, when I read the description of this tomato, I was pretty sure it would not taste all that spectacular. Super model tomatoes are just like the human kinds. Better if admired from afar.

I have been able to harvest this one due to the fact that it was planted in the front yard, away from my tomato bandits. Since it was described as an excellent container plant, I planted it in a wine barrel in the front yard.

silvery fir tomato leavesAnd it is truly a pretty plant. Full and feathery, at least until the yellowing happened. It has been an extraordinarily rainy summer. I know this barrel has not been dry, but I also know the drainage is good. The entire plant started to turn yellow all in one week. No reason for it to. It had water, it had fertilizer. I am not sure if the tomatoes would normally look like this, or if the mysterious yellowing affected them.
The description from the company I got it from reads:

The bush type plants are a compact 24” tall and have silvery ferny foliage and round red fruit that dangles like Christmas ornaments. You can put it on display in an attractive container or in a hanging basket. The 3” – 3 ½” tomatoes have slightly tart, classic tomato flavor. A determinate type tomato, the fruit will set and ripen at the same time.

The Beauty Pageant:

Size: Somewhat smaller than a baseball..

Shape: Lumpy, bumpy on top and smooth and shiny on the bottom.

Color: Weak orange-ish-red. You know, if it were not for the fact that they were literally falling off the plant and they squeezed like they were ripe, I would swear from the appearance they were not ripe. Pics of other tomatoes online do show the fruit ranging from brilliant red to the same weak watery red these are.

The inside: Very thin walls. Multiple chambers with small seeds packed inside. Meat seems washed out.

Texture: Mealy but juicy. The gel is loose but does not make a mess.

Tasting:

Off the Vine Tasting: Well, I was not expecting a great tomato and, by golly, it has delivered. The gel is very tangy and tasty, but the meat is as bland as a store bought tomato. There is a weak echo of sweetness in the meat, but just a faint bit. You really have to pay attention to even realize the meat has any flavor.

Sliced and Salted Tasting: The salt sweetens the gel just a bit without affecting the tang, which makes for a nice balance in flavor. But salt in no way helps that bland meat.

Cooking Thoughts: About the only thing that I can think to use this tomato for is in a salad. If you were to de-seed it, you would be taking the only chance for flavor this tomato has.

Growing Notes:
Grew very well until 3 weeks ago when the whole plant started to turn yellow. It may be that the extra rain and the good drainage has leeched the nutrients from the soil, but frankly, that is common in any container. There is a pepper and basil plants in the same container and they are not showing signs of yellowing. Which leads me to believe that the tomato is just extra susceptible to the perils of life in a container. As this is touted as a good container plant, the fact that it is extra sensitive to normal container problems is not good.

Will Hanna grow this one again:
No. Well, at least not for tomatoes. This was a fun tomato to grow and is visually very pretty. It got lots of compliments from people who saw it. But, the fruit themselves were pretty lack-luster.

4 thoughts on “Silvery Fir Tomato: Hanna’s Tomato Tastings 2009
  1. Hi – by any chance were the leaves also curled? Did the plant seemed stunted in growth? It could have been Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus. IIRC, it is spread by a specific type of white fly. The slices of the tomato were just beautiful!

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  2. Holly on

    I have lots of fruits on my Hanna Seedlings but have yet for any of them to look like they’re remotely ripening. What a disappointment to read about the Silvery Fir, it really is a beautiful plant. From what I recall, my plant is still green, but I’ll let you know if any of that changes.

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  3. I ‘ve grown Silver FirTree tomatoes for the last 7 years. Like most plants in a barrel, they do not do as well. These are great for our 3 month growing season in the north(Montana). All the plants produce 20 – 30 tomatos each. And I have had a second crop (10-15)if I grow them in my green house. They are a determinate. The taste is nothing special other than “tomatoee”. They are bug and desease resistant too. Try them again. You’ll like them.

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  4. I grew this tomato last summer and rather liked it. It did not get very big, and it is not supposed to because it is, in fact, a dwarf. I live in Tacoma, WA and garden in 5 gallon nursery pots where there is not a lot of sun because of neighboring trees. Even so, it gave me several tomatoes with a taste which was neither spectacular nor bland. I will grow it again because it is a REALLY early tomato and the only non-cherry that produced within two months of setting out the starter plants.

    Your plant may have been affected by a blight, or it may have reached the end of its VERY determinate life span.

    I would very much like to know how Murray got such a huge yield of tomatoes. There may be more than one strain of this tomato. My plants came from Hirt’s Gardens.

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