After a discussion on Gardeners Question Time recently where it was claimed that blight-resistant tomatoes are ‘a marketing tag’, the Burpee Europe team wanted to share their side of the blight-resistant breeding story.
The Burpee programme has been in development for over 14 years and Simon Crawford, the head breeder, has been involved in breeding tomatoes since 1978 with Red Alert being his first introduction. The general response we have had to our varieties has been very positive and our PhD studentship in Bangor provided independent scientifically validated results to support our claims. We also won the Siemens Innovation Award at Bangor for the programme. Our British bred varieties are grown and respected across Europe.
Dr David Shaw Hon. Senior Research Fellow, Bangor University, who specialises in Genetics and Plant Pathology states that he has not heard of any part of the country where Crimson Crush etc do not tolerate blight. And that trials are always done on a market garden just like a large veg garden. Regarding taste, one of the seed companies who sell Crimson Crush, actually chose it initially from a blind taste test, and later when it came out top, realised it was blight resistant.
“I always add some blight resistant varieties to the mix for growing each year. Although not immune, their great resistance to the disease ensures that I should get a good crop of tasty toms when other varieties have long since succumbed. My personal favourites for flavour are ‘Consuelo’ and for the patio ‘Veranda Red’.”
– Steve Ott, Editor of Kitchen Garden Magazine
“Growing blight resistant tomatoes is a game changer for me because I don’t have a greenhouse, so I can only grow them outdoors. Growing other varieties can be a waste of time as some years blight gets them before they crop, or it’s an extremely short season. I almost gave up growing tomatoes but blight resistant ones like Crimson Crush and Cocktail Crush means we can enjoy fresh tomatoes for months. I found the early varieties like Ferline lacked flavour, but the latest ones like the ones I’ve mentioned are delicious.”
– Michelle Chapman, vegplotting.blogspot.com
“Burpee have invested a huge amount of their time and expertise in breeding blight resistant tomatoes to help gardeners be more likely to enjoy successful tomato harvests in their gardens. Blight resistance can vary from one variety to another; some years are worse for Late Blight than others. I have grown a number of Burpee’s blight resistant tomatoes – I’ve found them robust and resilient. If you’re concerned about blight, I would recommend growing tomatoes that have been bred to be blight resistant. These varieties include ‘Crimson Crush’, ‘Cocktail Crush’, ‘Rose Crush’, ‘Consuelo’, ‘Veranda Red’, and ’Nagina’. ’Nagina’ was the most productive tomato I grew for my Tomato Trial in 2018.”
– Beth Otway, www.pumpkinbeth.com
In the Which Gardening blight-resistant tomato trials in 2018. Crimson Crush came top of the table with 5 stars overall, for blight resistance, yield and flavour.