'Hoffman Cluster Surprise' Tomato
Highly productive indeterminant tomato with a profusion of cherry-
sized tomatoes produced in a large cluster in the summer. 69 days
Exposure: Full sun with good drainage
Size: 3'T x 5'W
Fruit: Smooth, red, cherry-size
Planting time: Spring, after last frost.
Care: Fertilize before planting with a slow release fertilizer,
then every 2-3 weeks with a quick release nitrogen source.
A new and popular tomato product is a cluster
of vine-ripened fruit still attached to the stems. These products
are known as 'cluster tomatoes', 'cluster-harvested tomatoes',
'truss tomatoes', or 'on-the-vine tomatoes'. The term 'truss tomatoes'
is frequently used in Europe, and 'cluster tomatoes' is used in
the United States. This new way of marketing tomatoes is credited
to Italian producers who first began testing in 1989. The popularity
of this vine-ripened product quickly swept through the European
greenhouse tomato industry, and more recently the North American
industry. Most currently grown varieties are indeterminate meaning
they tend to be taller plants requiring high trellis systems.
The clusters are harvested by clipping the main cluster stem from
the plant. All tomatoes on the cluster remain attached, and range
in maturity from breaker to ripe. Prices vary, as with other tomato
products, but they frequently sell in grocery stores for $2.00
per pound. Many cluster tomato varieties have outstanding flavor
and appearance to compete with the best of the vine-ripe tomatoes
sold. In addition, consumers are highly attracted to the to the
tomato aroma provided by the stems of the cluster. Outstanding
fruit quality and shelf-life allow the consumer to pick tomatoes
from the cluster over several days. Try the 'Hoffman Cluster'
tomato and see if you like it.