Egg Yolk Tomato - one to add to your grow list
Updated: Mar 2
On a hot summer day last year, I caught up on A Way To Garden podcasts and what better way to wrap up a podcast marathon than an interview with The Tomato Man, Craig Lehoullier!?! Of all the varieties he listed, the one that most piqued my curiosity was the one he called his new favorite snacking tomato - the Egg Yolk.
When it comes to cherry tomatoes, I have a preference for yellows with Sun Gold/Sun Sugar and Snow Whites being my must grows every year. Craig eluded to the Sun Gold tomato in the interview, noting the the egg yolk had nudged it out as his favorite snacking tomato. Immediately, I knew that this tomato needed to be in my life.
After a year of waiting, what I learned today is that anyone who bites into this tomato expecting the almost sizzling acidic burst typical of almost all other tomatoes will be disappointed. This tomato doesn't deliver that experience. However, someone interested in experiencing new depths of flavors that were hidden behind the zap will be happily surprised with the Egg Yolk tomato.
Getting to my first taste today wasn't an easy road. Keep reading for more about my somewhat challenging experience with this tomato that, despite the headaches getting started, will be a mainstay on my grow list.
The first thing I learned was that seeds for this tomato aren't the easiest to find. I was looking in late summer - not peak tomato starting season - but I thought they might be available for people starting fall tomatoes. I only found them at 1-2 sources. Since they were harder to find, I immediately ordered knowing that I probably wouldn't get them started for the fall, but at least I was guaranteed to have them for Spring 2019. When placing my spring seed orders, I did note they were available at through more sources than the fall.
Spring came and I started seven varieties of tomatoes and quickly had delicate little starts in all the cells, except for the Egg Yolks. Temperatures began to warm and I was moving my trays outside on pleasant days, most of the tomatoes being on the verge of ready to up pot. Still no sign of the Egg Yolks. True to my klutzy ways, I flipped the tray into its head while bringing it in one evening and most of the plants were well rooted enough that little soil was lost. The cells where the Egg Yolks were seeded dumped all over the tile. I scooped up what I could and dumped it in the empty cells, mostly to get the dirt off the floor. A week or two earlier, I'd given up hope on having Egg Yolk tomatoes this year because in short order, it was so warm that I was leaving the trays outsize almost every night, except for nights predicted to drop to or below 40 degrees.
After the other tomatoes were large enough to transplant, to my shock, the Egg Yolks finally germinated. Eventually, ending up with slightly less than 50 percent germination. I held them back until a couple weeks later than the other Sun Golds and Snow Whites, still the plants were significantly smaller than I would typically plant. At first they were so small they were difficult to distinguish from the dwarf varieties I'm also experimenting with, but soon the Egg Yolks surpassed the dwarfs and began to catch up with the other indeterminate cherry tomatoes.
Today, in late June, I picked my first Egg Yolk tomato. I was warned in online reviews that the size varied tremendously, with some producing currant size tomatoes. It's been one of the wettest springs on record in my area, so all of my tomatoes are producing on the larger side and the Egg Yolk was no exception. It was easily as large as the Sun Gold and Snow White tomatoes; larger than a quarter.
I gravitate toward yellow tomatoes because of the milder acid flavor. There isn't actually less acid in any tomato, but the yellow ones tend to have a sweeter, less acidic presence on the palate. The Egg Yolk definitely had the least acidic flavor of any variety of tomato I've tried so far. Because of this, I was compelled to roll the juices across my tongue spending more time appreciating all the flavors contained within the fruit. I actively experienced dimensions that I hadn't taken the time to appreciate in other varieties.
As mentioned earlier, the plant was slow to germinate being easily a month behind the other seeds I started. Even still, the Egg Yolk has produced its first ripe fruits only about two weeks behind the other varieties. I suspect that had germination been less challenging, it might have been the earliest producer. It is also poised to be as prolific a producer as my Sun Golds and Snow Whites.
I will definitely grow this variety again and hope others give it a chance as well.
Get more tomato recommendations from Craig Lehoullier in his book "Epic Tomatoes."