The best tomatoes for eating right off the vine, sweet tomatoes are available in many sizes, ranging from big beefsteaks to small cherry tomatoes. The sweet varieties tend to also be a little less acidic and, in some cases, the fruit may be so sweet that it does not taste like a traditional tomato.
Like all tomatoes, sweet tomato varieties are fussy about the climate and will only set fruit when temperatures are between 50 degrees F overnight and 80 degrees during the day. Though some tomatoes are more cold hardy, most will struggle to produce fruit in warmer climates.
Grape tomatoes, which are available in both red and yellow, are similar in size to cherry tomatoes, though they are more oval than round. These sweet tomatoes have become more mainstream in the last decade and are available at the grocery store. The fruit is sweet enough to eat off the vine.
Grape tomatoes are prolific producers and are resistant to many tomato diseases. These plants also tolerate heat better than most tomatoes. Grape tomatoes take 60 days to reach maturity.
This heirloom variety produces a beefsteak tomato that is unique for its coloring--yellow with orange stripes--as well as its flavor. The fruit is mild and not very acidic, but can be so sweet that it does not taste like a tomato, though it does have a tomato's consistency and is a good slicing tomato. "Mr. Stripey" tomatoes should mature in 60 days.
"Sun Gold" tomatoes are hybrid sweet orange cherry tomatoes. The plants are heavy producers, and like many other cherry varieties, are more cold hardy than plants that produce larger fruit. The foliage on "Sun Gold" plants is fairly large and dense, and helps to protect the fruit. "Sun Gold" tomatoes take about 60 days to reach maturity.
These cherry tomatoes earned their name due to their sweet flavor, which makes them great for eating right off the vine. "Sugar Snack" plants have big, heavy leaves that protect the fruit, which appears in clusters, and they are prolific producers. Ripe fruit is a little smaller than a ping-pong ball. These tomatoes take 65 days to mature.