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Cheers for the Red, White and Green

April 24, 1999|JULIE BAWDEN DAVIS

There are hundreds of tomato types to choose from. Here is a sampling.

* Black plum (indeterminate heirloom): Small, teardrop-shaped sweet and fruity tomatoes that ripen to a deep mahogany. Plant grows to 6 feet.

* Bucks County (indeterminate hybrid): New this year. Large, red, beefsteak-type tomato.

* Caspian pink (indeterminate heirloom): Produces 10- to 12-ounce pink, semi-ruffled tomatoes.

* Charlie Chaplin (indeterminate hybrid): An new eye-catcher with red ruffled fruit. Great for slicing or stuffing.

* Chello Yellow (hybrid): Yellow cherry tomato has 1- to 1 1/2-inch intensely sweet fruit. Determinate, but produces for a long period. Good container candidate.

* Enchantment (indeterminate hybrid): Prolific plant with bright red, egg-shaped, 3- to 4-ounce fruits. A large sprawler that requires staking.

* Granny Smith (indeterminate hybrid): Medium-sized fruit is light green and makes a good tomatillo substitute. Tomato has a slightly acid, salty flavor.

* Green Zebra (indeterminate): Technically not an heirloom or a hybrid, this variety is a cross that has been stabilized. Stunning 3- to 4-ounce tomatoes with dark green stripes over a paler green body. The light green flesh is flavorful--sweet, yet slightly spicy. Prolific plant that grows tall.

* Juliet (indeterminate hybrid): Elongated, 1-ounce cherry tomatoes grow in grape-like clusters on loaded vines. Skin is glossy red and the taste is sweet. A 1999 All-America Selections winner.

* Pineapple (indeterminate heirloom): The golden background of this fruit is mottled with scarlet red. Cut it open to see a yellow tomato with red streaks. A prolific plant that produces a good number of sweet, fruity tomatoes that can weigh 2 pounds or more.

* Pink Ping Pong (indeterminate heirloom): This plant grows large, bearing pink fruit the size of pingpong balls. Tomatoes are juicy and sweet with a hint of tartness.

* Ruffled Yellow (indeterminate heirloom): Yellow tomatoes with a pleated accordion shape that looks stunning when the tomato is cut for salads. The 8-ounce fruit can also be scooped out and used for stuffing.

* Spoon (indeterminate hybrid): Yellow currant-sized tomatoes are sweet on this prolific plant.

* Sunsugar (indeterminate hybrid): A tall-growing golden cherry.

* Tangerine (indeterminate heirloom): Large tangerine-colored beefsteak-type tomatoes that taste sweet and rich.

* Totem (open-pollinated): This dwarf grows to about 12 inches tall and will bear in a 1-gallon pot. The tasty red cherry tomatoes are under 1 inch in size and abundant.

* Vita-Gold (hybrid): Golden egg-shaped tomato with a meaty taste and texture. Does well in containers.

* White Queen (indeterminate heirloom): Highly productive beefsteak-type fruit weighing 8 to 12 ounces. Tomatoes are thin-skinned and white with a hint of pale yellow.

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