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? 5-/1r AN EVALUATION OF THREE CHERF Y- OM'r T A TT E5
Donald S. Burgis and Gary g.Pilrb79-.
AREC Bradenton Research Report GC1979-15 I.F.A.S.- Univ. of Florida september 1979
Small tomato fruits are used regularly in salads and specialty dishes by Florida
consumers, but few of these fruits are Florida-grown. The largest supplier of cherry-
type tomatoes to the U.S. is Mexico, but statistical information on acreage and value
is unavailable. An indication of the quantity of small tomato fruit shipped into the
United States from Mexico is recorded in the data from Nogales, Arizona. Almost 73
thousand tons of cherry tomatoes crossed the border at this location from October 10,
1978 through June 28, 1979. California produces more cherry tomatoes than any other
state, with yields of 11.0 to 22.6 tons per acre. Production in Florida is limited to
approximately 200 acres, the majority of which is in Hillsborough County. The most
popular varieties include 'Large Red Cherry,' 'Small Fry,' and 'Sweet Cherry.'
The purpose of this study was to determine the yield and potential value of cherry-
type tomatoes when grown in west-central Florida during the fall and spring seasons.
Standard Florida sand-land preparation techniques were utilized f use with the
full-bed mulch method of production. Soil was fumigated with Dowfume MC-33 (350
Ibs/acre) only in the spring 1976 season. Beds were 2.5 ft wide and were spaced on
4.5 ft centers. Plants were set 1.5 feet apart in a single row and were staked and
tied. Each experimental unit contained 10 plants. Seeds of 'Large Cherry,' 'Small
Cherry,' 'an 'Small Fry' were sown February 12, 1976, transplanted into 2x2 inch
Speedling' trays on February 27, and planted in the field at Bradenton on April 5.
Seed of the same varieties were sown on July 21, 1978, transplanted to trays on
August 3, and planted in the field on September 10. Fruit were harvested at weekly
Weekly marketable yields, by total fruit weight, are shown in Table 1. 'Small
Fry' had the highest yield (82.1 and 73.8 lbs/10O plants for 1976 and 1978, respectively)
while 'Small Cherry' had the lowest yields (24.7 and 43.2 lbs/10 plants). Mean fruit
size ranged from 0.8 ('Small Cherry') to 1.2 inches ('Large Cherry') diameter in 1976
and from 0.9 to 1.4 inches in 1978 (Table 2). 'Small Cherry' required the most fruit
per pint (67.0 and 60.0 for 1976 and 1978, respectively) and 'Large Cherry' required
the least (19.3 and 15.2, respectively). 'Small Fry' yielded more pints of fruit per
plot during both seasons than the other varieties.
Projected yields per acre show that during the Spring 1976 season 'Small Cherry,'
'Large Cherry,' and 'Small Fry' produced 1270, 2246, and 3973 12-pint flats, respec-
tively (Table 3). Computed at a value of $4.00 per flat, gross values would range
from $5,079 to $15,893. These same varieties planted in the fall produced 2190, 3394,
and 4316 12-pint flats, with a range in gross value of $8,760 to $17,263. The increased
yield of 'Small Fry' would more than compensate for the additional cost of the hybrid
Varietal improvements that would enhance cherry tomato production in Florida would
include a determinate plant character, a more concentrated fruit set, and resistance to
Verticillium and Fusarium wilts, gray leafspot, and nematodes. For small acreages,
this crop would be adaptable to family operations for sales to local markets.
Table 1. Weekly marketable yield
during 2 seasons at Bradenton,
(by weight) of 3 cherry-type tomato varieties grown
Wt. of fruit harvested (Ibs)Z
June 4 June 11 June 18 June 15 Total
Nov. 6 Nov. 13 Nov. 20 Nov. 27 Dec. 4 Dec. 11 Total
Z10 plants per experimental unit.
Table 2. Marketable yield (by weight and number) of 3 cherry-type tomato varieties grown
during 2 seasons at Bradenton, Florida.
Total Weight Fruit
wt fruit 100 fruit Total No.fruit Total diameter
Season Variety (lb.)z (oz) no. fruit per pint no. pints (in.)
Spring 1976 Sm. Cherry 24.7 18.7 2109 67 31.5 0.8
Lg. Cherry 46.0 68.4 1075 19 55.7 1.2
Sm. Fry 82.1 43.0 3054 31 98.5 1.0
Fall 1978 Sm. Cherry 43.2 21.2 3258 60 54.3 0.9
Lg. Cherry 55.8 69.8 1279 15 84.1 1.4
Sm. Fry 73.8 46.0 2568 24 107.0 1.2
z10 plants per experimental unit.
Table 3. Projected yield and value per acre of 3 cherry-type tomato varietiesZ.
Spring 1976 Sm. Cherry 12.0 1021 152 1270 5,079
Lg. Cherry 22.2 520 270 2246 8,984
Sm. Fry 39.7 1478 477 3973 15,893
Fall 1978 Sm. Cherry 20.9 1577 263 2190 8,760
Lg. Cherry 27.0 619 407 3394 13,575
Sm. Fry 35.7 1243 518 4316 17,263
ZBased on yields reported in Table 2 with the assumption of 4840 plants per acre, with
plants spaced 18 inches apart with beds on 6 foot centers.
YBased on value of four dollars ($4.00) per 12-pint flat.