Black Cherry Tomato
By now the black tomatoes are well known for their smoky, rich taste. Black Cherry is no slouch in this department; it wins raves everywhere and even beat out the sugar snack hybrid, Sungold, at the Laytonville Farmers’ Market tomato tasting of 2010. Sweeter than most blacks, as befits a cherry, Black Cherry still retains a deeper, more complex taste than other cherry tomatoes. It’s a bit larger too, so you can use it in cooked dishes or halve it for salads.
Though the fruits on the vine have a beautiful opalescent sheen, the plant itself is a rangy sprawler, not a front porch ornamental. It produces heavily all season but needs hot days to bring out its full flavor.
Black Cherry was bred by Florida grower Vince Sapp, who unfortunately didn’t live to see this variety’s extraordinary popularity. Vince’s wife Linda Sapp carries on the family business, Tomato Growers Supply.
Culture: Start seeds indoors six weeks before last frost. Good soil, full sun, and they’ll definitely need to be caged or staked.
Saving seed: You’ll need to separate this variety from other tomatoes by 150 feet. One hundred feet will do if there are significant barriers like buildings or dense tall plants in between. Save seeds from a minimum of 10 plants.
You can eat your tomatoes and save seeds too. Just wait until they are very ripe (over-ripe is fine for seed-saving too). Scoop seeds and the gelatinous goop around them into a container and set the mess aside until the top is covered with mold (2-7 days, depending on temperatures). Then rinse well and dry the seeds on a screen or wax paper. The seeds have a protective coating that keeps them from germinating while still inside the juicy fruit; enzymes in the mold dissolve that coating.