Curbside service is available! Select "In Store Pickup" as your shipping method.

Paste Tomatoes—Searching for More Flavor



Written by: Kevin Milaeger

January 28, 2021


Last year I planted a few different paste tomatoes in our trial garden, so I could compare their flavor. I was disappointed in the results. Most of them could be described as flavorless. I tried them all many times and the findings were always the same—blah. Searching the web, I found several sites that did a comparison of paste tomatoes, and rated the winners. Now we’re growing a number of new paste tomatoes based on those findings. We’ll have extra plants available during Vintage Veggie week in mid May, if you’d like to try some.


photo courtesy of

Russian Big Roma

photo courtesy of

Hungarian Heart


Many gardeners who grow paste, or sauce, tomatoes intend on making sauce. The ultimate flavor of the sauce is determined by the many spices that are added when making it. As far as the tomato itself is concerned, what is needed is a nearly seedless, meaty tomato, and plenty of them. The tomato is merely the base to which all the other ingredients (herbs, spices) are added. (Perhaps it’s the spices that bring out the flavor of the tomato, like salt does for so many foods.) So, the flavor of the tomato may not be a major concern for making sauce. But it is to me, because I don’t make any sauce. I just like growing different kinds of tomatoes. Sometimes I want a tomato that is meaty, not too juicy. So I grow a couple of paste types. I serve them fresh, adding a little pepper and salt, and usually some basil leaves and of course olive oil. So the search for a more tasty paste tomato is on.


photo courtesy of


photo courtesy of

Salvaterra's Select


I remember my mom canning tomatoes when I was a kid. She never made sauce to freeze or can, just canned tomatoes. In the winter she used the canned tomatoes to make her delicious spaghetti sauce, the favorite meal for us kids. This was before sauces like Ragu and the like were available. I remember those canning days well, because it always seemed to start on the hottest day of the summer. Our little kitchen was poorly ventilated and after a long day with several burners going, the heat was intense. And my mom did it without any help. I was too young, and when I was a little older my brother and I would be clowning around too much to be of any help. Years later I asked her what kind of tomatoes she used for canning and she said whatever was available. If our garden came up short, she would buy them by the bushel from one of the many roadside stands that there were back then.



Viva Italia

photo courtesy of

Oxheart Pink


For this year’s Vintage Veggie program (starting May 13), we’ll be offering at least five new paste tomatoes for you to evaluate. They are ‘Russian Big Roma,’ ‘Hungarian Heart,’ ‘Sausage,’ ‘Salvaterra’s Select,’ and ‘Viva Italia.’ Another is ‘Oxheart Pink,’ though not technically a paste type, it has very dense flesh and few seeds. I’m most looking forward to ‘’Salvaterra’s Select’ and ‘Sausage.’ Both are noted for their intense, tomatoey flavor. We hope you’ll try some of these and let us know what you think. Here is our complete VV list for 2021. Along with the paste tomatoes we’re offering about eighteen other tomatoes. I’m anxious to try ‘Box Car Willie,’ a classic heirloom of the famous “New Jersey” type. ‘Brimmer Pink’ is another that appeals to me, a sweet pink beefsteak that originated over 100 years ago. Those of you who like cherry tomatoes probably know of one called ‘Sweet Baby Girl.’ We’ve been offering it for at least fifteen years, but now the seed is no longer available. So we’re trying a few new cherry types to see if we can find something as good or better. If ‘Sweet Baby Girl’ had a fault, it was that it split too easily. I’m looking to try ‘Princess Yum Yum,’ an extra sweet cherry that’s disease resistant. We’re also always looking for varieties that do well in containers. So many folks like growing in pots these days, including me. Usually that means a “bush,” or determinate type that stays shorter. ‘Simplicity’ looks interesting to me, a beefsteak type that will probably be less than 48” tall and bears earlier than most beefsteaks.



Box Car Willie

photo courtesy of



The Vintage Veggie program features over sixty varieties of vegetables. Tomatoes are the biggest category, followed by peppers, cucumbers, squash, and others. Check the list and see what’s coming. We’ll be talking about them in future blogs.


Please email me ( with your questions and comments!

Click here to see Kevin Milaeger's Vintage Ornament Blog



January 2021 - Paste Tomatoes—Searching for More Flavor

January 2021 - New Gardeners - Dig In!


October 2020 - The End of the Season

September 2020 - Planting Now for Fall Harvest

August 2020 - Midsummer Garden Notes

July 2020 - Cukes Now! Tomatoes for the Fourth?

June 2020 - Tomato Plant Supports and Fertility

May 2020 - Time to Plant

April 2020 - Making Salads More Memorable

April 2020 - Victory Gardens Then and Now

April 2020 - Turn Off the News and Get in Your Garden

March 2020 - Stay Healthy---Plant Some Greens

February 2020 - Winter Planning, Winter Reading


September 2019 - Planting Fall Greens---what's your excuse?

September 2019 - 2019 Tomatomania Review

August 2019 - The Hypochondriacal Garden

July 2019 - Tomatoes 2019---A New Record!

June 2019 - Tomatoes---Early Summer Progress Report

June 2019 - Dwarf Tomatoes---The Next Big Thing

May 2019 - The Urge to Plant is Getting Stronger

April 2019 - Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Greens

April 2019 - Jefferson's Tomatoes & Tomato Nutrition

March 2019 - The Year of the Potato

March 2019 - Tomatoes---America's Favorite Vegetable

February 2019 - The Greens are Coming

January 2019 - Long, Chilly Nights Make Me Think of Tomatoes


June 2018 - Learn the Rules Before You Break Them

May 2018 - To Plant or Not to Plant

March 2018 - Brrr...Can You Plant this Early?

February 2018 - February's Climatological Shift


October 2017 - Remember: Every Tomato Variety is Someone's Favorite

August 2017 - A Tomato Miracle

July 2017 - Our Big Garden & Some Unpleasant News

June 2017 - Mid-June Tomato Report

June 2017 - Tomatoes----The Acid Test

April 2017 - It's Time to Plant Onions

April 2017 - Raspberries: It's time for annual pruning

March 2017 - Warning! Internet Garden Danger!

March 2017 - Tomato Talk---Shorter Varieties are Trending

March 2017 - It's Only the Start of March, but...

February 2017 - Tasty Greens and Winter Tomatoes

February 2017 - Green is Right Around the Corner


October 2016 - Autumn Greens, Eggplant and more

September 2016 - The Tomato Polls are Closed, the Winner is...

September 2016 - Pity the Hornworm? Maybe not.

August 2016 - It's true!---Sometimes tomato beauty is only skin deep!

July 2016 - Summer Heat Means Fast Ripening

July 2016 - July Tomato Update---a few concerns

June 2016 - The Great Bell Pepper Challenge!

June 2016 - Super Start for 2016 Vegetables!

May 2016 - Tomato Planting Date Inches Closer!

May 2016 - Vintage Veggies Now & Disease Resistant Tomatoes!

April 2016 - A Few New Plants & Garden Updates!

April 2016 - Go Outside---It's Time for Planting!

March 2016 - Yep! ----It's Time to Plant Greens!

March 2016 - The Quest for the Perfect Tomato

March 2016 - Think Green! It's almost time to plant

February 2016 - Pepper Pointers: it's all about patience

February 2016 - I See Greens on the Horizon

January 2016 - Tomato Disease --- What can you do?

January 2016 - Tomatoes on my Mind!


November 2015 - My Late Harvest (The tomato picking continues...No Kidding!)

October 2015 - Its Mid-October---the End is Near!

September 2015 - 2015---Not the Year of the Pepper!

September 2015 - Top Varieties at Tomatomania 2015!

September 2015 - Get the most from September tomatoes!

August 2015 - Tomatomania 2015---Coming Soon!

August 2015 - Oh No!!!......Freaky Tomatoes

July 2015 - A Marvelous Community Garden

July 2015 - Finally----the first ripe tomato

July 2015 - Is it Possible to overdose on peas?

July 2015 - The Garden in July --- I'm still planting!

June 2015 - And Just When Things Were Looking So Good...

June 2015 - Tomatoes, Cukes, and a Whimsical Onion

June 2015 - Trials and Tribulations in the Veggie Garden!

May 2015 - Trouble in Tomatoland!

May 2015 - Tomatoes are Claustrophobic

May 2015 - A Little Chilly, but it's Rhubarb Time!

May 2015 - Joan's Rhubarb Torte Recipe

April 2015 - "Ketchup and Fries" plant video

April 2015 - Early May in the Vegetable Garden

April 2015 - What Vegetables Can I Plant Now?

April 2015 - Making Salad Interesting

March 2015 - Ready... set... GROW!

March 2015 - Unusual Potatoes --- Not Just for Tots Anymore!

February 2015 - Next Month is Spring!

February 2015 - Greens to Grow 2015


September 2014 - Tomatomania Review 2014!

September 2014 - Tomatomania Results by Category or Cummulative

August 2014 - Kale! Kale! The Greens are Here! Click here for Recipe

August 2014 - The August Harvest Begins

July 2014 - Greens to Grow for Fall!!!  Click here for Spreadsheet

July 2014 - My Tomatoes are Blushing

June 2014 - Some Tomato Concerns

May 2014 - Garden Update --- the Cold Weather Experiment

May 2014 - Is it Time to Plant Tomatoes?

May 2014 - Vintage Veggies #4 and Vintage Veggies List 2014

April 2014 - A Chilly Spring... What Can I Plant Now?

March 2014 - Start Growing Your Own Food Right Now

February 2014 - Greens to Grow   (Click here for Spreadsheet)


October 2013 - Keep Calm and Garden On!

October 2013 - Autumn Vegetables

September 2013 - Tomato Popularity Poll Results Blog

September 2013 - Tomatomania Category and Cumulative Results

September 2013 - Tomatomania 2013 BlogVideo and T-Shirt

August 2013 - Greens to Grow and Spreadsheet

July 2013 - Spaghetti Squash

July 2013 - New Tomato and Zucchini Recipe Blog

July 2013 - Tomato and Zucchini Recipe

June 2013 - Cold Spring - What it Means for Vegetables

May 2013 - Tomatoes in Containers

May 2013 - Vintage Veggies 2013

April 2013 - My Tomato Garden Preview 2013

April 2013 - Don't Forget Rosemary!

April 2013 - It's Planting Time

March 2013 - Onions

March 2013 - Vintage Veggies

March 2013 - Greens to Grow Update

February 2013 - Hot Peppers

February 2013 - Grafted Tomatoes

February 2013 - Greens to Grow


September 2012 - Tomatomania Results

July 2012 - Compass Plant

July 2012 -July 2012 - Heat Wave

June 2012 - Okra

June 2012 - Potato Onion

May 2012 - Gas Plant

May 2012 - My Tomato Garden

May 2012 - Vintage Veggie Fest

March 2012 - Growing Raspberries in SE Wisconsin

March 2012 - Winter Tomato Project

February 2012 - Success with Sweet Peppers

February 2012 - Vegetable Cukes Miniature 

January 2012 - Tomatoes New Varieties


September 2011 -Tomatomania Review  

August 2011 - Tomatomania Preview

August 2011 - Racine Vegetable Garden Tour

July 2011 - Vegetables in my Garden

July 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes

June 2011 - Vegetables - Diseases made Simple

June 2011 - Vegetables - Container Growing

May 2011 - Vegetables - Squash and Tomatoes

April 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Event Preview

March 2011 - Vintage Veggie Fest Announcement


September 2010 - Tomatomania Review  

August 2010 - Flowers Late Summer Color 

July 2010 Vegetables Cukes and Tomatoes 

June 2010 Tomatoes New Varieties


September 2009 - Tomatoes End of Season Review  

September 2009 - Tomatomania Review

July 2009 - Tomatoes General and Fruit Set Problems

June 2009  - Tomatoes Fertilization

June 2009  - Tomatoes Personal Experience 

May 2009 - Tomatoes General

May 2009 - Tomatoes Diseases

May 2009 - Tomatoes Selecting and Growing

April 2009 - Tomatoes General