Best in the Midwest: Striped Roman and Jet Star Tomatoes

Open polinated varieties are easy to grow in the Midwest, but crack-resistant Jet Star tomatoes and Illinois native Striped Roman are gaining fans.
By Barbara Pleasant
February/March 2010
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The Central/Midwest gardening region is a good place to grow Striped Roman and Jet Star tomatoes.

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Hot summer weather brings out the best in large-fruited, open-pollinated varieties, which are often described as easy to grow in the Central/Midwest region. Just the same, many gardeners allow space for a few dependable hybrids such as crack-resistant ‘Jet Star’ tomatoes, which are highly respected for their flavor. Bred and refined in Illinois, the ‘Striped Roman’ paste tomato is also developing a following in the Heartland.

Slicer Tomatoes

1. ‘Brandywine’
2. ‘Early Girl’
3. ‘Cherokee Purple’

Also: ‘Big Boy,’ ‘Better Boy,’ ‘Beefsteak’

Cherry Tomatoes

1. ‘Super Sweet 100’
2. ‘Black Cherry’
3. ‘Sungold’

Also: ‘Sweet Million,’ ‘Riesenstraube’


1. ‘Roma’
2. ‘Amish Paste’
3. ‘San Marzano’

Also: ‘Opalka,’ ‘Striped Roman’

Really Big Ones

1. ‘Beefsteak’
2. ‘Brandywine’
3. ‘Mortgage Lifter’

Also: ‘Big Boy,’ ‘Better Boy’


1. ‘Yellow Pear’
2. ‘Roma’
3. ‘Juliet’

Also: ‘Roma,’ ‘Principe Borghese’


1. ‘Cherokee Purple’
2. ‘Black Krim’
3. ‘Green Zebra’

Also: ‘Pineapple,’ ‘Kellogg’s Breakfast’

Neighborly Advice

“A sure stopper for tomato hornworms is borage. Plant it right in among your tomato plants and you will not have to worry about tomato hornworms in that bed.”

Valerie Shoopman
Warsaw, Missouri

“Mulch, mulch, mulch to keep soil off plants and preserve moisture.”

Lynn Tschumper
Stoddard, Wisconsin

“When tomatoes are ripe, start eating them for breakfast, lunch and supper and every minute in between. The season will be over before you know it.” 

Pat Kennedy
Bath, Ohio

Read The Best Tomatoes to Grow Where You Live to find the best varieties for other U.S. gardening regions.

Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant gardens in southwest Virginia, where she grows vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers and a few lucky chickens. Contact Barbara by visiting her website or finding her on .

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