The San Marzano paste tomato is considered the best heirloom variety for sauces and making paste. Originally from Italia, the San Marzano and its cousin the Roma are the two best producers for the small city garden or balcony. These reliable croppers produce well even in mixed summers. For making sauces and tomato paste these are the chef’s first choice.
While the large beefsteak and small mini tomatoes are ideal for fresh use in salads, the paste tomatoes are grown for quantity and processing in the kitchen. These indeterminate types (keep growing) do particularly well in raised soil beds with good drainage but will also produce well from reasonable sized pots. The fruits ripen over several weeks and keep well until a sufficient quantity for processing is achieved.
The Amish Paste tomato is considered by some to be slightly more flavoursome than the San Marzano. While it does produce well in small city gardens it is not as sturdy as the San Marzano. The Incas Bush tomato is a pot tomato growing up to 1 metre in height. Both of these work well for fresh use but are not as productive when it comes to quantity for processing.
The Roman Candle paste tomato is a spectacular bright yellow tomato with a sweet distinct taste. It works well for adding a dash of colour to sauces and salads. While not strictly a paste tomato, the Moneymaker tomato is a good producer of sweet fruit that helps to make up a quantity for processing. It is probably the best all round garden tomato for the small producer.
This year has been a good year for growing paste tomatoes. While the smaller varieties and mini tomatoes are a safer bet in the limited growing conditions of the average city garden, it is good to have a main crop of these thicker larger tomatoes for processing. The San Marzano particularly has performed well, despite recent heavy rain and will be repeated again next year.