Tomato Review- Azoychka

This is my new series in which I taste and report on the tomatoes I think I can identify, in the garden. Since we just had our first light frost, we are at the official end of tomato season; this is my little way of drawing out the season. Today, we are talking about the Azoychka. It sounds like a noise that Scooby Doo and Shaggy would make. Zoikes, yo. Please read on:

This variety left a lasting impression on me because of the uniformity of the fruit and how prolifically the plants produced. If I wanted lots of tomatoes (and I do!) or I was going to produce them for sale, this would be a top pick. Despite the crappy weather, with the late season cold and rain, this plant produced large fruit and it lasted until, well, it’s still going, actually. I’m going to pull what’s left of the green fruit but to be honest, almost everything ripened on these plants. The photo above is one of the first fruits that came out of the whole garden. All of the other varieties were cat-faced but not Azoychka. The fruits were a gorgeous bright yellow, just shy of gold so they stand out on the sea of green, possibly making them look even more prolific!

As you know, there was the great seed debacle of 2011, in which Dave accidentally threw away all of my info on what plant were what but thanks to the fact that I numbered each row when I transplanted the seedlings, I know which plants are the same. From that, I can deduce that these seedlings were both easy to start and easy to grow. I had tons of this row number in the mix.Gardeners will love this seed.

Shall I get to the part we are all interested in, the part in which I tell you how these tomatoes tasted? Hang on, let’s talk about the physical characteristics of the fruit, first. The fruit was virtually flawless despite the crappy weather. The skin is a bit thicker than I like but not as bad as the grocery store tomatoes. (Again, this would be an excellent market variety. Or you could ship it to, let’s say Danielle, in New York, who has been denied fresh fruit and may be suffering scurvy.)  This tomato is fleshy. It has very few seeds. The Tomato Fest website says this is a very rare variety and I would say that’s probably correct since it would take so many fruit to get enough seed to produce commercially. One would have to be really committed to seed saving in order to get enough seed.The fruit itself has good heft, all were uniformly a full hand size tomato. It’s everything you want from a classic beefsteak variety. They also aren’t overly juicy. I think this might actually make a good canning variety.

Now you want to hear about how it tastes? I can hear you saying, “For God’s sake just tell me how it tastes!” Alright, cranky pants. Here’s the deal: all those wonderful qualities and the tomato is well…plain. I’m not going to say disappointing because very few home-grown tomatoes are but it was certainly less exciting than I hoped. The flavor was mild, somewhat sweet but it lacked in that acidity that I really want from my tomato. I put some salt on it to see if I could coax out some better flavor and still, not that much. Is it better than a grocery store monstrosity? Definitely. Did it rock my world? Not so much.

So have I written this variety off? No, certainly not. What kind of person might enjoy this tomato? Coastal growers might really love this tomato. It’s hard, if not impossible to grow large fruit on the central coast. This is a larger variety that grew and thrived in the anti-tomato weather, which the early summer offered us. The plants produced a lot of fruit and I would even say it’s a perfectly good canning variety. If you’re canning you typically want a lot of fruit from your plants. I would grow this again but maybe not next year. I want to spend the next few years trying out as many varieties of tomatoes as I can until I find the perfect fruit for my garden. If you are interested in trying to grow Azoychka, you can find it here, on Tomato Fest’s website. You may be able to find it elsewhere but this is where I got my seeds from. They are local and their seeds are of excellent quality.

Stay tuned for more tomatoes.


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