Midnight Snack tomato shows its hidden star.Photo/Illustration: John Pendleton
Midnight Snack is a cherry-size tomato with good looks and superior flavor.Photo/Illustration: John Pendleton
This tomato growing season has been a challenge. It started with weather that was too cold, then turned too hot; it was too dry, then too wet. Then when tomatoes were starting to take shape, there were back-to-back hailstorms.
So I wasn’t sure if the tomatoes on the Midnight Snack plant had a problem or not. They looked bruised, but I left them on the vine just to see what would happen. With a little bit of time, I could tell those dark black-purple spots on the stem end of the fruit weren’t bruises but part of this tomato’s distinct personality.
All-America Selections (AAS) selected Midnight Snack as a national vegetable winner last season. This year I finally had a chance to try the packet of seeds the organization sent. I started the seeds indoors in March and transplanted the starts into the container garden at the beginning of June. They took all of their 70 days to grow to ripe-red with that beautiful black-purple overlay.
It’s easy to see and taste why this tomato was voted a winner by the independent panel of AAS judges. These snack-sized indeterminate tomatoes grow on 5-6 tall vines that definitely needed staking to keep them upright.
But there was an added surprise. When I removed the green, petal-like part of the flower (the sepal), the tomato revealed a pattern in the shape of a star.
This hybrid cherry tomato is a star in another way, too. The indigo coloring comes from the accumulation of anthocyanin pigment that shows off its healthy antioxidants. Blueberries have this healthy feature and so do other tomatoes, like Indigo Rose. Midnight Snack has a nice balance of sweet-savory flavor that makes them easy to eat fresh off the vine.
Midnight Snack was bred by Jim Irvine for the PanAmerican Seed Company. He says he worked on these tomatoes because he “wanted an indigo tomato he wanted to eat.”
Thanks to Jim, PanAmerican Seed and AAS, a (tomato) star is born.
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