Introduced into the 1991 Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook by Carolyn Male. It was given to her by co-worker Carl Swidorski, who said the seed originated in Poland circa 1900. Phenomenal set of 3" by 6" red paste tomatoes on vigorous wispy vines. Excellent flavor and very few seeds make this a perfect processing tomato. Fruits hold well on the vine.
- Indeterminate - Fruit ripens throughout the season
- Red fruits grow to 3 inches by 6 inches
- Excellent flavor and few seeds
- Perfect processing tomato
- Fruits hold well on the vine
Instructions - Sow seeds indoors ¼" deep. Tomatoes are sensitive to freezing temperatures, so wait to transplant outdoors until the soil is warm. Plant in full sun.
- Start Indoors: 6 weeks before last frost
- Germination: 7-14 Days
- Plant Outdoors: 24-36” Apart
- Support: Cage, stake, or trellis
Ratings & Reviews
Best sauce tomato
Strong grower in zone 5 MI, excellent for sauce; meaty and few seeds.
Consistently Strong Producer
The Opalkas have thrived year after year here in zone 7a Maryland. The plants produce heavy clusters throughout the season. The dense flesh is flavorful, great for salads or for making sauce. This is a very good all-purpose tomato. Wish there were a photo feature on the reviews so you could see how pretty the clusters are on the vine.
Slow starter, but really starts roaring in the garden!
by Bob Majewicz
These tomatoes were a little challenging as seedlings, they were the smallest and not as robust as the other varieties I started. I wasn't sure how they would do once in the garden. Well they have been out there about two months and are blowing away all the other varieties. They have outpaced and outgrown all the other varieties and are one of the two most productive types I have. I would definitely recommend them, but be patient getting them started,it worth the wait and TLC.
The most prolific heirloom Roma I've ever grown
by Frank from Winchester Virginia
As for the multiple heirloom Romas varieties that I've grown spanning more than fifty years, this Opalka outproduced them all, plus its flavor is truly exceptional. Expect at least four gallons of fruit from each well-tended plant.
This tomato is prolific, better have a sturdy support from the beginning, store bought tomato cages may be inadequate. It's a good paste tomato, on the dry side with few seeds
Fantastic Paste Tomato!
I've tried many paste tomatoes, and this is the driest of them all. So dry, that a 6"-7" fruit is practically weightless. It does not take long to cook these down for sauce or paste; and they hold their shape well when diced for salsa. In my garden, the plants typically produce so many tomatoes that they pull over the average tomato cage or ladder. I use a 7' T-Post to support them. The flavor is better than most paste types; and puts Roma to shame. It's good enough to use fresh on sandwiches and the like. Opalka is also an excellent choice for dehydrating because of it's inherent dryness; but also because the cylindrical shape makes for even-sized slices. My garden space is very small, but I always make room for Opalka.
Simply outstanding tomato
by George D.
Without a doubt this is the very best "paste" tomato. It qualifies as a paste tomato because of its dense flesh with few seeds, but the flavor is so superior to the standards like Roma or San Marzano. It tastes like a real tomato. Absolutely delicious sliced and put on on a hot dog or brat. Incredibly productive. A neighbor who grew up on Better Boys liked it better than the Brandywine I gave him. Must be careful, though; I've had one "Opalka" seed from a commercial seed source that wasn't the one described herein. If you get a good one, save the seeds. 10 stars!
Wonderful, productive paste tomato
We always grow Opalka and Federle for their big, beautiful, delicious red fruit with few seeds and little water. Excellent for sauce. He fusses with supports, adding braces, tying strings as the long, laden vines get heavy.
We grow multiple varieties of tomatoes in our Catskill Mountain garden as, each year, weather and frosts favor different ones. Have wound up with many, many green tomatoes at a hard frost. (sigh)
We have endemic late blight, uneven rain, some 40* nights and blossom end rot. But, we always get nice paste tomatoes from those two varieties. We also grow (gorgeous) Speckled Roman but they're SO delicious most get used as slicers until end of season.
This tomato is amazing! I have over 10 varieties that I grew this year, and this is by far the best one. It is the end of September, and all my other tomatoes have blight and died but these are still going strong and producing flowers. The fact that they hold on the vine EXTREMELY well, means that you get more ripe, sweeter, higher brix tomatoes! Also did a fantastic job of not splitting in our unyielding rain! Puts all other paste tomatoes to shame for taste and grow ability.
Hardy & Happy to Grow, But Doesn't Always Deliver
I was excited to grow these Opalka tomatoes, especially since they're meatier and don't have as many seeds in the middle. The plant germinated easily and grew quickly. In fact, I was surprised at how happily these little tomatoes grew! My husband had to build a trellis for them to keep growing along :)
However, I was not able to get more than 1-2 tomatoes off the vine. I didn't have any disease issues. There were a few hiccups with caterpillars, but I was able to remove them. It could have been the weather, to be honest, since Tennessee saw extremes between scorching sunlight and monsoon-levels of rain. The plant still continued to truck along, so perhaps it is hardy to some degree. But it just didn't produce many flowers, which led to very little fruit. In comparison, my zucchini plants flowered like crazy.
I plan to try them again in 2023, perhaps a bit earlier to avoid the erratic second half of summer. Hopefully, I get more out of them!
My new favorite!!
I had watched Living Traditions Homestead ( YouTube) talk about these for years and how great they were so I finally tried them. This is by far the largest and meatiest paste tomato I have ever grown. I will probably never grow another paste tomato now. I grew them next to San Marzano and Amish paste. These looked liked giants in comparison.
**Wonderful!! We are so happy that you love them!!
Very, very nice tomato... tasty, full of "meat" and perfect for winter house
without much effort it gives 3kg per stalk
The Alpha-Omega of all paste/sauce/salsa tomatoes!
by ZdawgDaddy-The mac daddy of tomato growers!
Hey guys, you have found the only paste/sauce/salsa/salad tomato you will ever grow again. I promise. If you see a review less than 5 stars it is simply because someone (like me a few times) got seeds from a seed company that doesn't know what Opalka tomatoes are supposed to look and taste like and send lousy Roma or San-Marzano. Trust me it happens. Save the seeds if you get these or get them from here because other companies don't know what these are and are super hard to find the correct ones! Please know these are going to look very unhealthy when started. Do not try to rescue them with miracle gro or something. They don't tolerate anything like that. It is just how they grow. They are a little longer to really develop both plants and tomatoes but when they do you will get gazillions of them. I promise you will never make a better sauce or salsa with these tomatoes.