Every year I experiment with at least one new tomato variety. In 2013 it was only one variety because I was in the midst of building my new greenhouse and pressed for space and time to garden! I chose the heritage paste tomato Sicilian Saucer because I like a big, meaty, flavourful tomato for making delicious roasted tomatoes.
Sicilian Saucer is an Italian heirloom tomato producing giant, heavily lobed, beefsteak type fruit. I’ve grown other Italian heirlooms like Costoluto Fiorentina and Costoluto Genovese and always been impressed with their rich flavour, so my expectations for Sicilian Saucer were pretty high.
This variety is supposed to be an indeterminate variety, I guess it was in that it never stopped growing, but it certainly didn’t grow up! After growing to about a metre tall it then proceeded to put on all sorts of crazy vegetative growth from every leaf node except the topmost. The plant exploded sideways!
It certainly didn’t help that I didn’t have time to keep up with pruning it. After a few cursory attempts to remove the suckers and force terminal growth I lost control and before I knew it I had a bushy little troll of a tomato plant.
I don’t have a problem with that, but what really irked me was that despite blooming copiously, only ONE tomato had set on the plant by the end of July! Every other tomato I grew was loaded with fruit, so I didn’t have a general pollination problem. I think it’s because Sicilian Saucer is one of those tomatoes with giant, multi-petalled blossoms. Those spectacular flowers seem reluctant to receive pollen, maybe all those petals get in the way. Apparently I need something called a tomato vibrator to aid in pollination. Sounds too kinky for me…
That single tomato grew, and grew, and grew! When I finally picked it in mid-September it was immense and so heavy that I knew it would be richly flavourful. I don’t have an accurate kitchen scale but it must have weighed at least a kilo.
I decided to use it in a batch of roasted tomatoes and when I dismembered it into large chunks I was surprised to find that it filled the glass dish I usually roast my tomatoes in. The bloody thing made an entire batch of roasted tomatoes all on its own… and a big batch it was too!
The plant has produced a few late fruit but I’m not sure that they are going to ripen, even if I bring them inside, they’re just not very well-developed and it’s getting pretty cold in the greenhouse, I don’t have my heater installed yet.
Sicilian Saucer certainly produced one doozy of a tomato, but I don’t think I’ll grow it again. I’m not giving up that much space in my greenhouse for one tomato, no matter how large and tasty!