Ten cultivars were awarded an AGM. Fruit counts/weights for truss-thinned plants were provided for each AGM cultivar.
BOUNTIFUL – Appearance similar to a ‘Marmande’ producing large, red, slightly ribbed and flattened fruits. Fruits show the usual cracking at the crown. Multilocule, juicy, quite soft flesh. First fruits early to colour. 45 fruits/17,025g (average fruit weight = 378g). Brix 4%.
BRANDY BOY – Earlier ripening than ‘Brandywine’ with a more juicy and refreshing taste. Large, very ribbed, flattened, rose-pink fruits. 43 fruits/14.920g (average fruit weight = 347g). Brix 5%.
BRUTUS – Good fruit uniformity, possible use on the showbench. Quite flattened, ribbed fruits with darker green crowns showing no signs of cracking before ripening. Multilocular flesh with a juicy refreshing taste. 41 fruits/17.170g (average fruit weight – 418g). Brix 4%.
ORANGE WELLINGTON – Flatter rather than round, smooth fruit, no greenback before ripening orange-golden. Fruits have five locules, juicy and with a lovely taste which lingers. 40 fruits/ 10,914g (average fruit weight = 273g). Brix 5.5%.
OXHEART SEL RIVIERA – Oxheart/peer-shaped, large, smooth, multilocular fruits. Soft flesh of pleasant taste. 48 fruit/714.630g (average fruit weight = 305g). Brix 6%.
PEMBEPANTER – Smaller fruit than several beefsteaks. Fruits deeper rather than flat, quite early pink-red skin, matt shine, ribbed with slightly darker crowns. Juicy but firm flesh with five locules. Very good taste. 42 fruits/11.848g (average fruit weight = 282g). Brix 6.5%.
GIGANTOMO – From the same stable as ‘Porterhouse’, not quite as early, but fruits of good weight, flattened, green crowned ripening to red. Multilocular with juicy flesh not too soft and of a good flavor. 44 fruits/20.965g (average fruit weight = 476g). Brix 5%.
SUPERSTEAK – Quite flattened, large fruit with a smoother skin than several in the trial. Multilocular, juicy, quite soft flesh of pleasant taste. 30 fruits/16.195g (average fruit weight = 540g). Brix 5 5%.
TOMANDE – This is a hybrid ‘Marmande’, flattened fruit with green crowns before ripening, some ribbing. Multilocular, juicy and of good flavour. 46 fruits/15.206 g (average fruit weight = 330g). Brix 5.5%.
BEEFMASTER – Large, deeply ribbed, green crowns before ripening. Multilocular, very juicy, soft flesh of pleasant taste. 36 fruits/21,123g (average fruit weight = 587g). Brix 6%.
What is brix?
Brix is a measure of the percentage of soluble solids in the fruit’s juice. For most fruits (including tomatoes) the soluble solids are sugars. The concentration of soluble solids can be calculated using a refractometer which measures the ability of a solution to bend (refract) a light beam that is proportional to the solution’s concentration.
Growing beefsteaks outside
If a sunny, sheltered site is available outside could be grown, or in big pots on the veranda, but as indeterminate plants they want staking and sideshoots will need to be removed. With the unpredictability of the spring weather it is better to delay seed sowing until mid-April as it takes about seven weeks from sowing to produce sturdy plants with first flower buds ready to plant out during the first week of June. Cold winds and frosts can still hit at this time so cut-off soft drink bottles make excellent makeshift cloches if carefully placed over the individual plants until they establish.