Best in the Pacific Northwest: Stupice and Sweet Million Tomatoes

Varieties that can handle intermittent and unpredictable availability of sunlight, such as Stupice and Sweet Million tomatoes, are a good bet in the Pacific Northwest region.
By Barbara Pleasant
February/March 2010
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Stupice and Sweet Million tomatoes are equal to the challenge posed by variable sunlight in the Pacific Northwest gardening region.

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Tomatoes must often play hide-and-seek with warm sun in the Pacific Northwest region, where ‘Early Girl’ held a big lead in the slicing category. Small-fruited varieties such as ‘Super Sweet 100’ and ‘Stupice’ get plenty of respect here because they are so dependable. Plus, many gardeners have discovered the fun of drying elongated grape-shaped tomatoes such as ‘Juliet’ and ‘Principe Borghese.’

Slicer Tomatoes

1. ‘Early Girl’
2. ‘Beefsteak’
3. ‘Stupice’

Also: ‘Big Beef,’ ‘Cherokee Purple,’ ‘Willamette’

Cherry Tomatoes

1. ‘Super Sweet 100’
2. ‘Sungold’
3. ‘Sweet Million’

Also: ‘Black Cherry,’ ‘Gold Nugget’


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

Also: ‘Viva Italia,’ ‘Principe Borghese’

Really Big Ones

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

Also: ‘Early Girl,’ ‘Big Beef,’ ‘Goliath,’ ‘Hillbilly’


1. ‘Yellow Pear’
2. ‘Stupice’
3. ‘Glacier’

Also: ‘Juliet,’ ‘Principe Borghese’


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

Also: ‘Taxi,’ ‘Jubilee’

Neighborly Advice

“I plant tomatoes in large black nursery pots with the bottoms cut out, sunk a few inches into the ground. To protect the plants until the weather warms, I use Wall O’ Waters or make my own cages from clear plastic sheeting.”

Dave Sexton
Portland, Oregon

“About a month before transplanting, I cover the tomato beds with black plastic to warm the soil and take it from soggy to nicely moist. I also add heat via Wall O’ Waters, plastic hoop houses or row covers wrapped around the tomato cages.” 

Carrie Dennett
Seattle, Washington

“Harvest fruit as soon as it’s ripe to prevent draining energy from plants and encouraging pests. Plant a few extra plants and donate the extra produce to the local food bank.” 

Jim and Kennette Orsingher
Roseburg, Oregon

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 .

Post a comment below.


3/1/2013 7:56:24 PM
I live on the OR coast in Bay City. Because we live a little higher on the mountain our backyard and our neighbors yard are not level. There is a concrete wall between the two. Our neighbor grows the best tomatoes! He plants them in his yard and they grow over and down the concrete wall. This seems to help with the warming problem! The concrete holds the heat and the tomatoes flourish.

2/24/2010 2:47:36 PM
We out on the western side of Washington have a challenge in all our little micro climes as well. While maritime is fine with most of your cooler weather fare, it's not so fine with tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, though I sure keep banging my head against the wall trying. And we out on the north Olympic coast have 120" plus of rain to deal with. It's maddening sometimes. I've been struggling with tomatoes now for years without fantastic huge bounty results. I want those large bounty results, not just a few to keep us over summer. So this year we will try with the most super earlies - the ealiest I've found is Glacier Tomato from Territorial Seeds. We really need a full blown green house for these three crops but we can't afford it. So we piece and patch things together to get the warmest possible combination we can. But we have to protect everything from drowning here. Summers bring great long sunny days but not real warm. Lets put it this way...if it gets over 75 and up to 80 we all start feeling sorry for ourselves. Tomatoe Plants love it and we humans fall apart along with the lettuce and spinach. For a whopping 2 weeks we actually get hot weather. That is it. *sigh* The great northwest, a very real challenge!

2/17/2010 2:57:06 PM
Washington State is in and of itself an odd region. The rain shadow effect of the Cascade curtain leaves the east side of the state more challenging for gardeners with less moisture, blistering summer temperatures, and sub zero winters. Having said that, last season produced some excellent tomatoes in the "German Pink" and "Green Zebra" varieties, while friends and neighbors had much success with "Black Krimms," "Early Girls," and "Brandywines." Chuck

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