This tomato is called the Berry Nice. And, it happens to be the third "berry" type article I've posted this month!
I started growing this tomato through our autumn here (subtropical climate) and grew my plants from seed I purchased online through eBay.
I'll be honest the Berry Nice name was what really drew my attention to this tomato in the first place and I've said it before – I'm a tomato tragic so it's difficult for me not to try a tomato variety I haven't seen before. Initially, this tomato disappointed me (more about why later) but in the end there were several features of the Berry Nice tomato which really took my fancy and make me want to grow them again.
Berry Nice Tomato (image below)
As with all my tomato reviews in this series, I will summarise by giving the tomato variety a final rating score by averaging my rating scores for the tomato on the following criteria:
Size of Fruit vs Productivity
Taste & Meatiness (texture)
Disease and Pest Resistance
So, let's berry the hatchet and do this review!
The Berry Nice tomato is a small sized indeterminate plant (continues to grow-on kind-of like a vine) with a thick leader and many long branching off-stems; therefore, it will need staking or support. Most indeterminate tomato plants grow quite big and keep sprawling but I found this plant to be less rigorous.
I like to use a trellis support structure of some sort and train the plant to the top then let it tumble naturally over. My trellises vary, sometimes I use a wire or steel mesh (like concrete reinforcing mesh) and other times I use the affordable plastic trellis material – all do a good job to hold the plant off the ground.
This tomato is an heirloom variety so it's true-to-type if you wish to keep the seeds for re-planting. Berry Nice truss (image right)
The fruit has a glossy red colour and when I say glossy I mean shiny glossy! These images are not photo-shopped I promise this is one of the most sparkling tomatoes I've ever seen. I guess it's because the skin is so firm and taught that holding one of these tomatoes feels like an imitation plastc tomato toy.
The size of this tomato is pretty uniform with most being a reasonable half golf ball size and the shape is not round but slightly pointed at the bottom which reminded me of an Oxheart tomato (only a lot smaller).
The main dissapointment for me was its growth which was dismal to say the least. I grew my plants in several different locations some with fresh clean soil mix, others in pots and all grew poorly which showed me this tomato variety is very succeptable to disease. The growth was also slow and for an indeterminate tomato plant it didn't grow very large either.
Productivity was surprisingly good though, and the fruit develops in large bunches/trusses often up to 14. Another good trait was how well the fruit held onto the vine even when totally ripe they were hard to pick off, which means less loss to wind drop etc. Along with this is the ability for the fruit to hold its firmness and texture for very long periods just sitting on the kitchen bench – amazing.
Special Growing Tips and Observations (common to all tomatoes)
Obtaining the seed through heirloom seed providers would be the best option if you wanted an authentic plant similar to the description. Save your own seed from then on by saving some from the cutting board or by scraping the seeds from a few good specimens and dry them on some paper towelling before storing in packets. I initially purchased my Berry Nice tomato seeds on eBay.
Soil preparation and planting is no different than any other tomato plant:
Does best in well-draining soil.
Dig-in some compost and manure for extra food.
Throw around and dig-in a few handfuls of dolomite (for extra calcium).
Plant seedlings quite deep up to its first set of leaves (to promote more root growth).
If direct sowing with seed, sow two or three per station, keep soil moist, then thin out to one plant.
Feed young plant with some seaweed solution every few weeks.
Boost feed with some potassium or trace elements at flowering or early fruit set.
Mulch the soil around base of plant.
Try to grow in a different garden bed each season to help control disease and pests.
The Berry Nice tomato will grow all year in a subtropical climate but is best grown in autumn/winter/spring. In cooler climates start the plant in spring (after frosts) and ensure the surrounds are tomato disease free if at all possible…
Taste and Best Uses
Berry Nice tomatoes on open melt toasties (above image)
The Berry Nice tomatoes are great on toast and do taste great overall, in fact, quite similar to a larger Oxheart tomato with that earthy undertone. The firm fruit "pops" in the mouth and are a real treat eaten just like a berry. Also, excellent when used in salads – try to keep whole if possible to show off glossy skin and crunch when eaten.
Final Say and Score
Although I'd like the plant to actually grow a little bigger and get less leaf diseases, the Berry Nice tomato is a good producer and a top tasting fruit.
Extra points for x-factor due to its unique firmness, and extra kudos for being an heirloom variety.
I like this variety of tomato because of its unusually firm and glossy skin, and excellent taste.
Size of Fruit vs Productivity – 9
Taste & Meatiness (texture) – 10
Disease and Pest Resistance – 4
Growth – 5
X-Factor – 10
Full score is 38 points with an overall average total of a 7.6 – SSM Tomato Rating making the Berry Nice down the list in rating but still a tomato I recommend highly!
And that's the Berry Nice tomato finished, our 6th to be showcased in our tomato series, and another variety which reminds us once again that not all tomatoes are created equal.
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Mark Valencia – Editor SSM
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