Tomato Tasting: ‘Moskvich’
This is one of the rare occasions when I didn’t start my plant from seed. I actually saw this for sale at a local store, but had never heard of it before. It was sitting in a rack with a bunch of plants I knew to be OP or heritage varieties so I inferred from that that ‘Moskvich’ must fit into either or both of those categories too.
Fortunately I was right this time (I have been bitten in the ass by that assumption before). ‘Moskvich’ is a variety from Russia (the Russian translation is actually “one who lives in Moscow”), bred in the 1970’s by the Vavilov Institute located in Moscow, Russia. Those Russians sure know how to breed tomatoes.
On the tag when I bought it, the maximum height described was 4ft and determinte. Neither of these were the case. I compared how mine was growing to growth notes and pictures with others who had grown Moskvich and realized that this variety was indeed labelled correctly, but the growth notes were all wrong. More on that below.
This tomato did amazingly for me. From the second I planted it it took off, and quickly overshot that “4ft” label it came with. With the harsh season, it grew to about 5ft and was definitely a sprawler (many large branches that come off the main stem close to the ground). I have a feeling with a less harsh summer it would definitely grow higher then six feet. I waited all summer for this one to stop producing (not that I wanted it to mind you) based on the fact that it was labelled a determinate. It did no such thing, it produced right up until the frost finally killed it off. This is a very hardy plant, massive production, I got about 6lbs from one plant. It didn’t seem to mind the heat or water restrictions too much. This variety was ready to harvest in about 70-75 days. Despite irregular watering (from me and in the form of flash storms all summer) there was absolutely no cracking or splitting. I got no catfacing or other growth distortions. This tomato just kept chugging along forming perfect fruit no matter what came its way.
This is your classic looking red beefsteak tomato. Brilliant red, no green shouldering at all, round, and very uniform in shape. These fruit were BIG. Much bigger then most early tomatoes are, about 3-4″ in diameter, meaty, and they weighed in at about 280g (10 oz) – 510g (18 oz). While this may not be the wackiest looking tomato I grew all season, it certainly held its own in growth and flavour.
This was your classic home-grown-just-picked-from-grandma’s-garden kind of tomato flavour. Acidic, a little sweet, meaty, and all around a great tomato. Sure, it might not win the best or most unusual flavour prize, but it’s nothing to sneeze at either.
What is great about this tomato is that it’s good for pretty much anything you want to use it for. One slice covers a piece of bread, making it great for sandwiches. Its meat makes it good for canning and preservation, as well as sauces. What this tomato doesn’t have in wild and wacky flavour, it has in good all purpose workhorse value. A little bit of salt, and its flavour really comes alive. So if you’re a fan of eating a tomato fresh off the vine just as is, this is a good one to grow.
The sheer production, resistance to really wicked weather changes, resistance to heat, and workhorse-esque uses of this tomato makes it a must grow for me from now on. This is a really diverse tomato, and for somebody who’s as indecisive as me when it comes to what to use all my tomatoes for, that’s a big bonus. There are lots of really delicious tomatoes, but they’re either too juicy for a sauce, or maybe they’re too dry to eat fresh and have to be processed. This tomato will do it all, and produce wicked amounts of blemish free tomatoes for you. And in an area like mine that’s really hot, plagued with water restrictions, and shorter season, that’s a big bonus for me.
Originally posted @ Populuxe.ca, November 2009