New Utah State Record Largest Tomato

See below for Big Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007)

Also see below for Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012)

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Actually this blog title is just an ambition at this point (September 8, 2014), but confidence is justified I think.  Within a week, at least one of these two tomatoes will likely crack 4 lbs.

1. Big Zac (? DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012)(5.35 Lyons 2010)

Fruit set on about July 12th from a 6X+ megabloom, though only four lobes have grown well.  First blush noted on September 4th, 54 days since fruit set.  For a big tomato to grow for this long (now at 57 days) during the summer months is truly exceptional.  Growth has been fairly steady since day 17 at 0.11 lb./day, with an apparent surge from days 36-40 of about 0.18 lb./day.

Standard caliper measurements (widest diameters in 3 approximately perpendicular axes) put this one at 5.321 lbs.  No taped CC’s yet.  No way is it 5 lbs.  Take a look at the lobing.  Imagine placing the tomato inside an ovoid shaped container (weight prediction formula is based upon the premise that most tomatoes are roughly ovoid shaped) : so many gaps and hollow places.

I’ve assigned a GAF (Geometry Adjustment Factor) of 0.75 rather than the standard 0.95 to hopefully account for some of this.  Output is 3.99 lbs.  Even that seems a bit generous, but it is a very huge looking tomato.

So this is my guess:

Big Zac (3.99 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012)(5.35 Lyons 2010)

Big Zac (2.602 DT 2012) HT A-001 9-8-2014 B

Big Zac (2.602 DT 2012) HT A-001 9-8-2014 A

Second candidate:

2. Domingo (? DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012)

Pollinated on about 7-24-2014 from an impressive 5X+ megabloom.  Growth has been remarkable, particularly after all other competing tomatoes were removed from the vine on August 9th.  First blush today, 46 days since fruit set.  Was hoping it would go 50+ days before ripening commenced.  But it still has a good shot at 4 lbs.

Calipers put it at 4.732 lbs.  Has gained 0.136 lbs./day average since day 16 with a peak between days 22-26.  Taped CC’s put it at 5.117 lbs.  It’s a solid, rectangular cuboid shape with modest lobing.  I think these measurements will produce a closer estimate than the same measurements would for the Big Zac profiled above.  Still, the best adjustment factor I have to go on is the one which applies to an earlier tomato of the same variety, namely:  Domingo (2.734 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012).   This combined GAF/DAF was 0.895.

Should be able to get four more days of growth out of this one, with a daily weight gain of 0.1 lb./day.  So my projection for this one is:

(4.732+(0.1 X 4)) X 0.895 = 4.493 lbs.


Domingo (4.493 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012)

So that’s my projection for this one, but I still can hardly believe what the formula produces!

Domingo (4.55 Wahl 2012) HT A-002 9-8-2014 C

Domingo (4.55 Wahl 2012) HT A-002 9-8-2014 A rev

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Update, September 9th, 2014

Here it is, the new Utah State Record (barely!):

Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012)(5.35 Lyons 2010)

Weighed at D&G Scale, Inc. on a certified scale which weighs only to 0.02 lb. precision, so their scale read 3.76.  My scales weigh to 0.002 lb. precision.  The short-lived record was 3.754 lbs. – cannot get any closer than that!

Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012) A Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012) E

Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012) I

Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012) L Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012) N Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012) P Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012) R Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012) S

Harvested 59 days after fruit set.  Final caliper measurements put it at 5.170 lbs., taped CC’s at 3.756 – Yes, the EXACT actual weight!  This is not fudged, I simply tucked the tape all the way into the crevices for the Z-axis measurement.  So in this case, tape measurements are obviously more accurate.

With the Z axis measurement using calipers, I can get anywhere from 80.5 to 140.4 mm.  But for consistency, the “rule” requires measuring at the widest point.  If I had used the more reasonable average (110.45), the formula produces 4.064 lbs. – still 1/4 lb. overestimate, but much closer than 5.17!

Alternatively, applying a GAF of 0.70 to the caliper measurements yields 3.809 lbs., an acceptably close estimate.  But assigning a GAF in advance is more an art (guesswork) than science.  Thus it is.

The Domingo tomato measures to 4.836 lbs. today, so definitely on target to break 4 lbs.

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Update September 12th, 2014 –

Some well merited questions arose about whether this Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014) represents a single tomato or not.  Basically, all sections/lobes must have continuous flesh with at least one other lobe.  Turns out this one is a REALLY close call.  Here’s the clearest  of the pictures which shows flesh from the small lobe being separated from the main part.  Pink flesh contrasts red skin.

Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012) ZA rev2

A very delicious specimen!

Big Zac (3.756 DT 2014)(2.602 DT 2012) ZM rev

Here’s the latest pic of the Domingo specimen:

Domingo (4.55 Wahl 2012) HT A-002 9-11-2014 C

Calipers put it at 4.897 lbs., taped CC’s at 5.311, DAF/GAF adjustment for previous large Domingo at 4.273, 1 CC formula at 4.682.  Based on the look and feel of it, I would put it closer to 4 lbs. than any of these projections.  But it would be very nice to have it top 4.5 lbs.!  I think 5 is out of the question, however – not with all those indentations!

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Update September 16th, 2014 –

Steve Marley from New York state just weighed a Domingo specimen from the same seed stock as mine – 4.55 Wahl 2012.  Using taped CC’s, his measured to 7.589 lbs., but actual weight was only 5.75 lbs. – a huge disappointment and undermines the ability of this formula to accurately predict weight.  His specimen requires an unprecedented DAF/GAF of 0.758!  I’ve measured hundreds of specimens and never had one which required such a huge adjustment down.  One can only imagine that it is riddled with hollow seed locules and the texture from the outside is quite spongy.

Two days of zero growth with my Domingo specimen then today it put on just a bit of weight, even though it’s about 85% ripe.  Fresh circumference measurements are 620 X 523 X 501 mm (24.4 X 20.6 X 19.7 in.).  The 3 CC’s formula yields 5.746 lbs; 3 diameters formula projects 5.206, while single CC formula projects 4.960. This is a rather flattened specimen so 1 CC likely would be the closest of the three.

“The Real MacCoy” is the same variety from the same seed source with very similar looking geometry. So using the GAF/DAF from that specimen will probably yield my best estimate:

5.746 X 0.758 = 4.355 lbs.

At least this rather conservative estimate puts me above 4 lbs., finally!

This is a huge adjustment down, but has to be considered realistic.  A new state record and > 4 lbs. are both quite likely, however, so no disappointed is merited – yet.

Will probably weigh it tomorrow, though it would be really nice if I could hang on to it for 11 more days for the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers official weigh-off…

Latest pics:

Domingo (4.55 Wahl 2012) HT A-002 9-16-2014 H

Domingo (4.55 Wahl 2012) HT A-002 9-16-2014 G

Domingo (4.55 Wahl 2012) HT A-002 9-16-2014 ADomingo (4.55 Wahl 2012) HT A-002 9-16-2014 F

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Update September 17th, 2014 –

Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012)

Before harvest:

Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) H Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) F Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) E

Before official weigh-in:

Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) J Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) M rev

On certified (by Utah Department of Agriculture and Food, Division of Weights and Measures) scales, courtesy of D&G Scale, Salt Lake City, Utah:

Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) S rev Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) V rev

Documentation and Certificate:

Thurber, Tomato, Domingo (4.657 Thurber 2014) Certificate, Domingo (4.647 Thurber 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012).jpeg

In refrigerator, hoping it will last for 10 more days until the local weigh-off, sponsored and hosted by the Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers at Thanksgiving Point on September 27th.

Tomatoes in fridge 9-17-2014 A

A combined DAF/GAF adjustment factor of 0.809 was needed to bring this one down from ellipsoid based projection of 5.746 to actual weight of 4.647 lbs.  A huge correction factor, but not the worst seen, as mentioned above.  In the center of the bottom is an indentation that penetrated all the way to the stem, probably 0.3 lbs. of error just with that.  It will be a while before I cut it up to check for hollow seed locules.

The bar has been raised again, this time more than one little notch!  Plenty of ideas for beating this one in 2015.  Nothing likely to surpass it in 2014, although another 4 pounder is a possibility…

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Update September 22nd –

Having trouble keeping this specimen in the proper temperature range.  Warmest setting on the fridge is about 40° so I have to keep turning it off and on.  Has endured 40-70° F.

I’m applying a 10% bleach solution to spray the rotting spots every day.  Here’s the top and a close-up of the worst spot:

Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) ZADomingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) ZD

And the worst spot on the bottom:

Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) ZM rev

It will likely be leaking in 5 days so will be for display only at the local Giant Pumpkin weigh-off event.  Based on estimated weight loss from other big ones I’ve kept intact for several days after weighing, I’ve come up with about 0.45% percent weight loss per day. So after 10 days, this one is projected to weigh:

4.442 lbs.

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At the weigh-off, 10 days after harvest:

Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) ZN rev

Weight of 4.465 represents a weight loss of 0.4% per day.  Bleach treatment and refrigeration worked well to preserve this specimen for 10 days!

Some final pics before seed extraction:

Domingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) ZS revDomingo (4.647 DT 2014)(4.55 Wahl 2012) ZU rev

For those who prefer little tomatoes (can you even see it?) and constantly ridicule those who try to grow big ones… Think:

• Sandwiches

• Pasta sauce

• Pizza sauce

• Fresh eating if you want to feel like you’ve actually eaten something

• Speed of picking 100 lbs. of fruit

• Interesting shapes and sizes (not much character to the tiny ones)

• Canning

• Soups and stews

• Almost any purpose other than a snack while working the garden


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Update November 4th, 2014

And for the fourth time this year, a new Utah State giant tomato record!

Big Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007)

The 3.75 Catapano was a sibling of the 3.9 Catapano – the specimen from which virtually all really big Big Zac specimens of the past 6 years have descended, including Dan MacCoy’s new world record.

Big Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007) AABig Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007) AHBig Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007) AD

About 4.681 on home scales:

Big Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007) AI rev

After about mid-October, fungal growth and aphids get REALLY bad in the closed up high tunnel.


Big Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007) AP revBig Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007) AM revBig Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007) AV revBig Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007) AZ revCertificate Big Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007)

Two years ago, this would have competed for Top 10 status at Big Pumpkins; but this year, all top 10 submitted tomatoes came in at over 6 lbs.!!!  Perhaps giant tomato growing is finally starting to catch on and records will start to fall as they have for pumpkins for the past 20 years or so.

Big Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007) BK revBig Zac (4.670 DT 2014)(3.75 Catapano 2007) BN

We pigged out on some really hefty and tasty tomato sandwiches made from this Big Zac, then used the rest in sauce!

I realized something very interesting about this vine.  A picture of the first megabloom on this vine was shown on a post back on June 29, 2014 and listed as a 6X.  Here I post that picture again:

Big Zac (3.75 Catapano 2007) 6X blossom 6-29-2014 B

This was one of many impressive megablooms that did not mature due to insufficient pollination.  Well, here’s a picture of what remains of that megabloom this morning!!

Big Zac (3.75 Catapano 2007) HT A-00 B rev

So this is Truss #1. Note the smaller, unopened blossom on this same truss in the earlier picture.  My strategy on this plant was to remove all but the largest tomato once fruit set was achieved. As with all significant megablooms this year, I attempted to self pollinate as best I could with a battery powered tooth brush.  Since I never encountered any really impressive megablooms after this first one on this vine, there was usually 2-3 tomatoes growing at once.  Here are the results of the 6 tomatoes harvested from this Big Zac (3.75 Catapano 2007) vine.

Truss No.     Harvest Date     Weight (lb.)

1                  8-20-2014        1.788

2                  8-30-2014        2.394

3                  8-30-2014        2.628

4                  9-26-2014        2.754

5                11-04-2014        4.670

The trend is pretty clear, the further up the vine, the larger the tomato.  Similarly, the larger the vine, the bigger the tomato.  Alternatively, the later in the season the tomato was harvested, the larger it was.  Of course no conclusion can be drawn from this very small sample size on a single vine in one year with many uncontrolled variables.  But it does call into question the assertion that, “the tomato with the largest potential will grow on the first or second truss”; or “tomatoes grown high on the vine won’t be able to get enough nutrients since they have so far to travel and gravity will hold back the water and nutrients”; or “your largest tomato will be harvested in August or September”; or “the third and fourth trusses won’t produce tomatoes as big as the first two”.

Anyhow, it’s an interesting anecdote, at least for those trying to grow ’em big.

This Big Zac was 24% heavier than any Big Zac I’ve grown before and I’ve grown at least 120 Big Zac vines over the past five years.  I’m thinking this genetic line has some real potential!  It is an F3, so probably not completely stable.  Who knows what might become of the offspring!