This is a sad lament for the Evil Olive Tomato, a cherry tomato variety I was so eager to love, but found lacking. Although the plants grew well in the two best spots in my Zone 6 garden, the fruit produced was absolutely flavorless. By “flavorless” I don’t mean “lightly flavored”, “subtle”, or “delicate”. I have more respect for you and your garden space than to mislead you. The Evil Olives I harvested were crunchy on the outside, wet on the inside, and tasted like nothing. I picked the fruit green and I picked the fruit reddish, yellowish, olive-drab, as shown in the photo. Not a single fruit developed any discernable flavor.


Just the Facts

  1. Evil Olive is an indeterminate variety, which needs support but did not ramble all over my garden. The plants I grew in 2022 were beautiful—strong with dark green leaves and stout vines that held heavy clusters of fruit with ease. I did not have to top-prune this variety to keep it under control, which was nice, given several of the other varieties I grew in 2022 rambled with maniacal glee.
  2. Disease resistance was pretty good. My two Evil Olive plants did eventually break out in Septoria Leaf Spot, but not until late in the season.
  3. Evil Olive produces nice clusters of five to eight salad-size yellowish green tomatoes that stay firm. As shown in the photo, the interior gel is beautifully bright red. In spite of the name, none of the tomatoes I grew were as small as an olive. Most were 1 1/2″ to 2″ across and needed to be cut in fourths to approach bite-sized. I picked at all stages of ripeness, from very crunchy green to slightly softer (but still crunchy) olive yellow. Even when left until yellowish, Evil Olives tended not to crack. In fact, the skins had a greasy feel I can only describe as strange. (Note the white spots in the wall of the tomato in the photo were caused by stinkbugs. They are not a defect of the variety, and this variety wasn’t any more prone to attack than any other I grew.)
    Evil Olive tomato cut open to show the bright red gel inside the olive green shell.

    Evil olive tomatoes are gorgeous. If only they tasted like something, anything.

  4. Taste has been described by other reviewers as “light”, “subtle”, “non-acidic”, and “boring”. I found the variety to be completely flavorless with no acid, no sugar, just a bit of crunch. The culinary experience of biting into an Evil Olive was similar to what I’d expect from a hunk of iceberg lettuce, with the lettuce providing just a tad more flavor and interest than the tomato. I did try roasting some of my crop, which didn’t help. The fruits didn’t break down and cooking didn’t bring out any hidden flavor notes. It’s telling that other reviewers, although suggesting they did taste something, indicated they would not plant Evil Olive again. I fully realize growing conditions will impact tomato flavor, but, honestly, no one is jumping up and down over the flavor profile of the Evil Olive.
  5. Evil Olive made for beautiful salads and held quite well on the kitchen counter after harvest, but I wouldn’t offer them at market due to the lack of flavor.
  6. Easy to start from seed. I had no trouble getting this variety started. The seedlings were stocky and easy to handle.


My Testimonial and Conclusion

Evil Olive so disappointed me. I gave her the very best spots in the garden, fertilized her, watered her, whispered words of encouragement into her leafy splendor, and waited with almost bated breath for her luscious and beautiful fruits. In turn, she smote me with a barrage of greasy, hard, and flavorless orbs, which bordered on inedible. This evil, evil olive will not again be invited to the dance.

Please share your experience growing Evil Olive tomatoes. I’d love to know in the comments how this variety did for you and if you’d grow it again.

Linda Gribko is an avid gardener, naturalist, author, artist, and photographer living just outside Morgantown, West Virginia, on a one-acre property she calls Yellow Bird's Rest. She's been gardening since the age of three, when she was put to work plucking rocks from the family vegetable patch, and was gifted her first growlight set-up at the age of eight. Linda is best known for her wildflower photography and the digital mandala art she creates from her nature photos, but is also a mixed media artist and published author. Her quirky first novel, "Giving Voice to Dawn", was published in November 2016 and was followed up with "The Lion's Apprentice" in June 2020. The series follows the magical romp of a woman plucked by the Universe from the cubicles of Corporate America and dropped into the crease between "this world and that" where Spirit Animals carry messages, disembodied voices spout wisdom, and you never know who might show up to walk you back home.

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