Monday, May 19, 2014

Tomato Patch: Delizia, a French Import

In this guest blog series by Bob Nixon, he explores various tomato varieties and how well they grow in the Mid-Atlantic region. Look for Tomato Patch posts every Monday for the next few months as our local tomato season gets underway.

Delizia Hybrid tomatoes
Howard County Master Gardener Kent Phillips and I swapped plants of our “trial” varieties last spring, and in the transaction I got a transplant of Delizia Hybrid, seed of which Kent got from Cook’s Garden.

The Cook’s Garden catalog describes 'Delizia,' a “customer favorite,” this way: “Tomato connoisseurs rave about the marmande variety's meaty flesh and sweet deliciousness. This hybrid brings a new level of disease resistance to this flavorful classic French beefsteak. 'Delizia' is exceptionally vigorous, producing heavy yields of large, succulent, pumpkin-shaped 1 lb. fruits. A standout tomato in our 2010 and 2011 summer trials.”

I’ve grown tomatoes, it seems to me, longer than they’ve been invented, but I had to look up the meaning of “marmande” variety.  “Marmande” is the French term for tomatoes that the English call “beef” and Americans call “beefsteak.” If I were alert and not dreaming about tomatoes, I should have figured out the meaning from the catalog description.

Does Delizia rate a “rave” notice?

I may not be a “connoisseur,” but I’ve tasted scores of tomato varieties, and Delizia’s flavor is, well, delicious.  Ok, I give it a “rave.”  It also has been disease resistant with heavy yields.  The fruits are shaped something like small, squat pumpkins with modest ribs, but the ones on my plant averaged about the 7 or 8 oz. given in the second catalog description, not the one-pounders of the first catalog description.

This yummy variety has one downside.  It’s so squat—most less than two inches tall—that core removal takes away a significant part of the fruit, leaving relatively little flesh left for eating.  With so much of the tomato going into the recycle bucket rather than onto a plate or into a sandwich, I think I’ll have to call Delizia a great “chunker” but not a good “slicer.”

Will I grow Delizia next year?  I will if Kent gives me another plant.  Hey, Kent….
About the Author
Bob Nixon is a retiree who lives at Meadow Glenn, a rural residential home near Clarksville in the piedmont region of Maryland. He loves gardening with emphasis on veggies and perennial flowers, and he is gradually reforesting parts of his home lot with native trees. And while he is gardening or mowing or just walking about, he sometimes reflect on life and what’s happening beyond Meadow Glenn at his blog: http://www.ancientgardenerblog.blogspot.com/.

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