Grape Tomatoes as a Potential Crop for Growers and Consumers in the Southeastern United States

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Grape tomatoes have become popular additions to the produce offerings at supermarkets across the country. These tomatoes are smaller in size than cherry tomatoes making them desirable for salads and snacking. Several varieties are now available from many seed sources. Sixteen varieties were evaluated at the Beaumont Horticultural Unit in Beaumont, MS in the summers of 2002 and 2003. Samples of 11 varieties were sent to the Garrison Sensory Evaluation Laboratory evaluation for by panelists in 2003. An expert panel was conducted evaluating the reactions of respondents. All panelists were instructed to taste and evaluate the attributes of appearance, shape, size, color, gloss-shininess, translucency, stem, stem appearance, aroma, descriptor terms of aroma, general tomato aroma, hand/texture/firmness, mouth/bite/skin penetration, skin chewability, firmness of flesh, mealiness, juiciness, mushiness, internal pressure in mouth, seed/seed size, flavor, sweetness, sourness, saltiness, umami, overripe flavor, and general tomato flavor. Based on the information gathered through the sensory evaluation panel, >Mini Charm= was the most preferred grape tomato variety in this study. >Mini Charm= ranked first in 11 of the 20 attributes evaluated. The least preferred variety was >St. Nick=.

Christine Coker
Mike Ely
Patti Coggins
Journal of Horticulture