Best Tomato Varieties for Kansas City Backyard Gardens


With summer in full swing, I find myself thinking about food, farmer’s markets and gardening on a daily basis so what better topic to write about than everyone’s favorite vegetable (or is a fruit?), tomatoes! I am no expert, but I’ve had a backyard garden my entire life, and I enjoy experimenting with new varieties each year. Plus, I just happen to be the daughter of the tomato whisperer. I have grown my fair share of slicing tomatoes and cherry tomatoes which are the focus of this blog entry. I do not, however, grow sauce and canning varieties such as Roma so feel free to share your favorites in the comments. Are you a backyard gardener? What do you think of my list, and what are your favorites?

Sarah’s Characteristics of a Good Slicing Tomato

  • Sweet
  • Acidic
  • Juicy
  • Fine, smooth texture for slicing
  • Good on BLTs!

Sarah’s Characteristics of a Good Cherry Tomato

  • Sweet
  • Moderately Acidic
  • Thin Skinned (so pick them early and often)
  • Juicy
  • Small enough to pop in your mouth as a snack, or throw in salads

Best Slicing Tomatoes for Kansas City Gardeners

Better Boy Tomato

I call this old reliable. Better Boy is a hybrid variety with a medium size and firm red skin (not a pink red, more of an orange red). It is always my first to produce each year, and has an extremely high yield all season long. The flesh texture is smooth, and they are moderately juicy. The flavor is very balanced combination of sweet and acidic. They are medium sized and round; I find this size more practical than some of my more exciting hybrids.

Brandywine Tomato

This is an heirloom variety with heavy, large, sometimes misshapen, flat fruit. The skin is thin, the color is a pink-tinted red. Brandywine tomatoes have a pronounced sweet, tangy acidic flavor that I find intense and delicious. They are very juicy. I have had great luck growing these in our climate as well, and I generally find the yield in the medium range.

Marianna’s Peace Tomato

This is my first year growing Mariana’s Peace tomatoes, but I can’t leave it out. This is the best tasting tomato I have ever had. This is an heirloom variety of medium size and flat shape. It is supposed to have a low yield, and late to maturity. I have read that the skin was thick, but I found it to have a normal/medium skin thickness, and the texture was silky smooth. The flavor is rich, and perfectly balanced between sweet and acidic. This is the perfect slicing tomato, and it will make the best BLT of your life.

Honorable Mention:

Goliath Tomato

Not my favorite, but Goliath tomatoes tend to develop very early.

Black Cherokee Tomato

I can’t get Black Cherokee tomatoes to grow well in my yard, but I like the flavor, size, and interesting dark color

Pineapple Tomato

Pineapple tomatoes are very large with an orange/red blotchy flesh and sweet, tangy, fruity flavor.

Celebrity Tomato

Celebrity tomatoes are a small, red, prolifi, well-balanced hybrid.

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Best Cherry Tomatoes for Kansas City Gardens

Black Cherry Tomato

Black cherry tomatoes are very rich, complex flavor on small, round mahogany colored cherry tomatoes. I keep trying other varieties, but this is my favorite.

Sunsugar Cherry Tomato

Sunsugar tomatoes are very sweet, juicy tangy flavor on small, bright orange cherry tomatoes. Said to be crack resistant.

Sungold Cherry Tomato

Sungold cherry tomatoes are sweet, fruity, tasty bright orange cherry tomatoes. I like the flavor, but I remember preferring the sunsugar.

Honorable Mention:

Yellow Pear Cherry Tomato

Yellow Pear cherry tomatoes have nice flavor on a larger, pear shaped cherry tomato; adds visual interest to dishes and salads, and can be sliced in half.

About the Author

Sarah Snodgrass is a residential real estate agent specializing in Kansas City's historic neighborhoods and enclaves.

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