Dwight Sipler, Flickr

Dakota Gardener: You have to try this tomato

A friend in a community garden walked over to me. “You have to try this tomato,” she said.

I was intrigued. “What’s so special about it?” I replied.

“Just taste it,” she said.

I looked at it. It was a golden cherry tomato. I had never seen a golden tomato before. It did not look special. In fact, it looked like a red tomato that wasn’t ripe.

I’m not too keen on eating weird-looking vegetables. I have eaten purple carrots and black tomatoes before. They tasted terrible. A carrot should be orange and a tomato should be red.

I ate the golden tomato just to be kind.

It tasted amazing.

That tomato immediately became my favorite tomato of all time. Now I grow golden cherry tomatoes in my garden every year.

Last summer, a group of 22 families evaluated golden cherry tomatoes in North Dakota. They tested the two most popular varieties: Sungold and SunSugar.

Gardeners raved over them.

The golden fruits were bold, beautiful and tasty. Their flavors were “unbeatable.”

Gardeners reported how their children would sneak into their gardens to pick and snack on the golden fruits. Imagine a child who wanted to eat vegetables! Truly amazing!

The vines were healthy and productive. Several gardeners reported harvesting bucket loads of fruits. One gardener picked a gallon of tomatoes each day from 10 plants.

Sungold vines were especially healthy and vigorous. The 6-foot vines grew like “monsters,” one gardener reported. Sungold produced early in summer and continuously until frost. The plants were covered with clusters of tangerine-orange fruits. Its fruits were sweet with a hint of citrusy, tropical flavor.

As good as Sungold was, most gardeners preferred SunSugar. SunSugar fruits were golden yellow with slightly thicker skin and were much less prone to cracking.

But the biggest difference was in its taste. SunSugar tomatoes were sweeter and extremely delicious. Families absolutely loved its flavor. It was almost like eating candy, reported one gardener.

Both Sungold and SunSugar have vigorous, indeterminate vines. Pruning and trellising is required.

I’m grateful that a friend introduced me to golden cherry tomatoes. Today, I invite you to try one of these golden gems. Go online and search for seed sources. You won’t be disappointed.

For more information about gardening, contact your local NDSU Extension agent. Find the Extension office for your county at www.ndsu.edu/agriculture/extension/county-extension-offices.


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Tom Kalb

Mr. Kalb is an NDSU Extension Horticulturist.

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