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A Matter Of Taste

Your guide to growing delicious region-specific tomatoes

March 2023

Want to know the best tomato varieties to grow in your region? Here are some suggestions for those living in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware:

Purple Zebra tomatoPURPLE ZEBRACelano tomato.

If you want a tomato that looks just as good as it tastes, search no more. According to All-America Selections, Purple Zebra is a national winner with fruit that is “firm in texture, complex in flavor and has a taste more sweet than acidic.” This variety has high resistance to tomato mosaic virus, verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt and late blight. Start seeds indoors 4–6 weeks before the last frost for best results. In the garden, space transplants no less than 2 feet apart or, if using containers, select 5-gallon pots with drainage. This variety produces 150–200 green-striped, purple tomatoes and requires staking.Most gardeners can begin harvesting tomatoes 80–85 days after transplant.


Another national winner, Celano, is an early-producing, high-yielding grape-type tomato for your patio or garden. According to AAS trial notes, Celano developed fruit much earlier and produced much longer than comparable varieties. Deep-red, oblong tomatoes typically weigh a little over half an ounce and taste sweet. As for disease resistance, this variety has superior tolerance to late blight. Transplants should be spaced at least 2 feet apart in the garden and will benefit from staking.


Early Resilience is a fantastic selection for canning enthusiasts. Each plant will produce roughly 25 tomatoes with good-quality flesh and excellent flavor. This variety displayed high resistance to blossom-end rot and numerous diseases. From transplant, gardeners can expect to harvest tomatoes after 70–115 days. For best results, space each plant at least 24 inches apart. Staking may help but is not required.