Monday, June 02, 2014

Tomato Patch: Buckets of SuperSauce

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.

Large SuperSauce tomatoes are eye-catching

I was skeptical but intrigued by Burpee’s 2013 description of a new paste tomato called 'SuperSauce':
“It’s SuperSauce! The new tomato superhero. A whole lot bigger, a whole lot better, a Roma with aroma. Weighing in at 2-lbs., a whopping 5.5” tall x 5” wide, SuperSauce produces gallons of luscious, seedless sauce from a single plant harvest—one tomato fills an entire sauce jar.”

The description continued: “Very few people in the gardening world consider a paste tomato for anything other than to make paste or sauce. SuperSauce is extraordinarily delicious and versatile as a salad tomato, as well as having a distinctive quality in that its large segments of fruit often make a shape that is perfect for a meaty and tasty hamburger slice, quite different from the horizontal slice commonly used from a large round tomato. Easy-to-grow, indeterminate, disease-free plants yield a summerlong supply of the exquisitely-flavored marinara, tomato gravy or meat sauce plus plenty for slicing and salads.”

How could I resist ordering a packet of seeds to try, even at a pricey $6.50 plus shipping?

SuperSauce is solid, as a paste tomato should be
My first impression of SuperSauce was negative.  When the seeds sprouted and the plants began to grow, they were what you might call “leggy,” “scraggly,” or “spindly.” Their leaves seemed odd shaped, healthy but somewhat droopy or turned down.  I wasn’t expecting much from SuperSauce, but I transplanted them into the Tomato Patch at four weeks, and SuperSauce grew, blossomed, fruited.

What do I think of SuperSauce now?  I like it—I like it a lot.  SuperSauce is a SuperPasteTomato.

How does the fruit coming out of my garden compare to Burpee’s advertising hyperbole?

“Two pounds and 5.5” long and 5” wide”?  Mine averaged 5” long, about 2 1/2” wide.  From four SuperSauce plants I picked several bucketsful during just two weeks in August.  Fruit of an early picking averaged about 11 oz. and of two later pickings averaged 14.5 oz. and 18.75 oz.  In mid-season, one SuperSauce weighted 1 lb. 13 oz.  Fruit production peaked in August, but I picked numerous smaller fruit into October.

One SuperSauce almost filled a quart container
“Gallons of luscious, seedless sauce from a single plant harvest—one tomato fills an entire sauce jar”?  I originally thought that Burpee ad writers need to get out of the office and into a kitchen, but by mid-season I thought that one SuperSauce plant might, over a season, produce enough fruit to make up to one gallon of sauce.  One average SuperSauce tomato may pretty much fill a sauce container, as you can see in the photo of one fruit in a 4-cup container, but one large tomato does not yield, by far, a “jar” of sauce, at least any jar a respectable sauce maker would use at home.  Compared to the Amish Paste variety I’ve preferred in recent years, the average SuperSauce weighs about the same but has less waste from cracks and blossom end rot when processing for sauce making.  It also may be a few shades lighter red than many paste varieties.

“Delicious and versatile”?  Reasonably tasty, yes, more so than some paste tomatoes, and flavorful enough to pass as a slicer or salad tomato, especially tomato gourmands who find the flavor of supermarket varieties such as Compari acceptable.  Solid and meaty, a slice or two of SuperSauce on a sandwich doesn’t send juice racing down the eater’s arms to drip off elbows—a definite plus.

“Easy-to-grow, indeterminate, disease-free plants yield a summerlong supply”?  Yes, yes, yes.  And the size and number of the growing fruit gives even a tomato fanatic cause to pause and admire.

Enough, already.  I plan to plant SuperSauce hybrids again next year.  It has replaced Amish Paste as my top choice of paste tomatoes.

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:

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