Sunday, November 15, 2015

Variety Spotlight - Jaune Flamme Tomato

Jaune Flame Tomatoes
This tomato seems to be very popular and widely adapted. If you poke about on the web you'll find that gardeners from climates as diverse as Moab, Utah and Ontario, Canada (not to mention Carmel Valley, California) have success with this variety. And yet, there's little information available about where it came from. The usual tidbit found regurgitated at the many online seed sources, including Seed Savers Exchange where I purchased my seeds, is that it is from France and apparently originated with Norbert Perreira from Helliner and was commercialized by Tomato Growers Supply in 1997. But, do a web search for "Helliner, France" and you will, or at least I did draw a total blank. Does this place even exist? Ah, but after a bit more digging around on the web I found there's a town named Hellimer in northeastern France. And whoever Norbert is or was, did he develop this tomato, or was it passed down in his family, or did he get it from another source? That information doesn't seem to be available either. Oh, and apparently Norbert's last name is often misspelled, it's also spelled Parreira rather than Perreira.  Further digging around leads me to believe that it originally came to the U.S. through the Seed Savers Exchange Annual Yearbook, seeds were requested by a U.S. member from Mr. Parriera back in the early 1990's and then subsequently picked up by Tomato Growers Supply. I've only been a member since 2001 so I don't have older yearbooks to check to see if Norbert Parriera was a listed member, he wasn't in 2001.

Regardless of where this variety came from, it is an excellent tomato. Some descriptions call it an oversized Sungold tomato for it's intense fruity sweet/tart flavor. It's described as "apricot-like". It surely has an apricot hue and it is quite versatile. I've successfully made sauces and pastes with Jaune Flamme (also called simply Flamme). It's also amenable to drying. And it's hard to beat eaten fresh. Disease resistance seems to be good, at least to the diseases that afflict my garden (no late blight so far). Productivity is neither too heavy nor too light. It's an indeterminate grower but hasn't gotten to be too large in my garden, in fact I've been giving it the space at the south end of my row of tomatoes where it gets more space and light than it's larger neighbors. The first year I grew it I placed it mid row where it was overwhelmed and produced a small crop compared to the other varieties I was growing. Given more space and light it became much more productive. For comparison here's the annual harvests for the four years that I've grown it:

  • 2012 - 15.8 pounds
  • 2013 - 26.2 pounds
  • 2014 - 28.3 pounds
  • 2015 - 18.2 pounds
This year the crop was light because I killed the plant prematurely, but that's a story for another post.



The tomatoes are borne on long trusses holding up to a dozen tomatoes. One of the reasons I initially tried Jaune Flamme was because it is supposed to be an early producer. In 2012 it was one of the first to ripen, harvested on August 17 along with other small fruited plum and cherry tomatoes. It has consistently been one of the first to ripen in August, as early as August 2 in 2014 and this year as well. Other than this year it has produced over a long season, from August into December until the first frost.
Jaune Flamme "Sott'Olio"
Jaune Flamme Tomato Conserva

Jaune Flamme has earned "keeper" status in my garden for it's earliness, productivity, and most importantly its delicious flavor and versatility.

This is the latest in a series of posts that I've done about some of my favorite varieties. I started doing Spotlight posts a few years ago when Liz of Suburban Tomato started a Saturday Spotlight series. Liz isn't an active blogger anymore but you can still find her list of spotlight posts contributed by a number of bloggers on her blog here.  Dave of Our Happy Acres also maintains a list of his own Variety Spotlights, check them out here.

3 comments:

  1. I've seen this tomato show up on your harvest Monday posts for so long but wasn't sure if it would be a variety that would grow in my very different climate - I'm glad that you did a spotlight on it. I'm always looking for an early tomato & this one looks promising...I've added it to my ever increasing list of tomato varieties to try.

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  2. I grew Flamme for several years and loved the tomatoes. It wasn't always super productive for me here unfortunately. I wish it did better for me because I love it fresh or especially when roasted.

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  3. I am aware of this variety, though I can't say I have seen it on sale here in the UK. To be honest, I am not greatly enamoured with orange / yellow tomatoes because I have had a few bad performers. I know this is an over-generalisation, but there you go!

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