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A new tomato has been crowned the best tasting heirloom tomato in Australia

The Diggers Club & Foundation 3 mins read

Black Cherry has been crowned the best tasting heirloom tomato in Australia tonight by a panel of gardening superstars and food experts at Heronswood House and Gardens, the home of the Diggers Foundation on the Mornington Peninsula.

The well known heirloom variety - Black Cherry - was a stand out for the official taste test panel who were brought together to taste and rate the best heirloom tomatoes in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the first Diggers Great Tomato Taste Test.

Blayne Bertoncello from O.MY Restaurant (Good Food Guide Best Restaurant of the Year 2024) joined this year's official taste test panel, alongside gardening royalty Jane Edmanson and Costa Georgiadis, acclaimed organic gardener Phil Dudman, author of Preserving the Italian Way Pietro Demaio, VicHealth CEO Sandro Demaio, and three of the participants in the very first Diggers tomato taste test in 1993 - garden writer Peter de Waart and co-founders of the Diggers Club and Foundation Penny Blazey and Clive Blazey. 

Diggers Club and Foundation CEO Tim Sansom said that over 65 heirloom tomato varieties had been grown in preparation for the event, before the top varieties in three categories (beefsteak and saucing, cherry, and salad) were selected for the panel to taste and rate.

"The panel have rated heirloom varieties of tomatoes for their taste, texture and appearance. It's been great to see some of our tried and trusted varieties come through as clear favourites," Mr Sansom said.

"The best tasting tomatoes are often the smallest and Black Cherry was a standout in the Cherry Tomato category. They are highly productive, easy to grow and work in salads, lunch boxes and as garden snacks straight from the vine in gardens around Australia."

"Sweet Cassidy was the winner of the Salad Tomato category - a mid-sized fruit that boasts the same sweetness of a cherry tomato. A new addition to our range and a discovery from our seed vault, we knew this tomato was something special. 

"Nonna Pepina was the winner of our Beefsteak and Saucing Tomato category. Beefsteaks are the large meaty tomatoes that can be sliced or used in sauces, while the saucing tomatoes offer more flesh and less seeds - which makes them incredibly versatile for cooking."

Mr Sansom said that the celebration was as much about preserving the diversity of tomatoes as it was about crowning a winner.

"These heirloom varieties represent an important cultural heritage that we're in danger of losing if we allow supermarket hybrids to totally take over," Mr Sansom said.

"Everyone can play a role in preserving open-pollinated, heirloom seed varieties of vegetables, just by making more informed decisions about the seed we decide to plant in our gardens. It's one of the ways we can keep control of what we grow and serve up on our plates - so those decisions remain in the hands of gardeners and not large corporations.

"The Diggers Foundation is preserving biocultural treasures like heirloom seeds to ensure they don't disappear. By growing and saving seed of these precious heirlooms we can make sure that they will be accessible to future generations."

Ends


Key Facts:

Diggers Club & Foundation Tim Sansom is available for interviews. Photographs and two minutes of vision from the taste test and tomato trial gardens captured on Friday 1 March is available on request.

There is also an opportunity to film and photograph a tomato masterclass taste test expereince at Heronswood House and Gardens, Diggers Foundation, 105 Latrobe Parade, Dromana VIC 3936 on Saturday 2 March between 11.30am-12.30pm (Blayne Bertoncello - O.MY Restaurant, Costa and Phil Dudman from the official taste test panel, along with Diggers CEO Tim Sansom will all be taking part in a follow up event with 40 masterclass participants learning about how to grow great tomatoes). The filming opportunity on Saturday 2 March will include people blind tasting and rating slices of several varieties of tomato, laid out on chopping boards.

 


About us:

The Diggers Club is Australia's largest community of gardeners, working together to create beautiful and productive gardens for a sustainable future. All profits raised by the Diggers Club are contributed to the Diggers Foundation to preserve historic gardens and preserve heirloom seeds and plants.


Contact details:

Call Jillian Marsh on 0447 034 067 or email media@diggers.com.au 

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