This year’s tomato slate….
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The key at the bottom of the page corresponds to this list.
1. Brandywine, an heirloom beefsteak purported to have been in Burpee’s catalog in the 1880s before disappearing for some years. Returned to circulation when Doris Sudduth Hill of Ohio gave some seeds to Seed Savers Exchange in 1982. Giant leaves shade slow ripening, pinkish fruit that are sometime ridiculously large. Average yield at best but among highest rated in flavor.
2. Rutgers- Developed by Rutgers University for the canning industry in the 1950s. Orange to red color, round with thick pulp as favored for canning. I have these because I was in a jam when the weather stunted off several of my starts this spring and I stumbled across these at a friend’s seed& feed store.
3. Cherokee Purple, an heirloom that was purported to have been given to the ancestors of John green of Eastern Tennessee by the Cherokees in the 1800s. In 1990 Green sent some seeds unsolicited to Craig LeHoullier of Pennsylvania, who was impressed by the true “purple” color of this beefsteak type tomato. The kicker was this one tasted very good too, unlike some others purple types available at the time. The nest year both Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Seed Savers Exchange offered these and their popularity grew with home gardeners and small market growers. Personally, this is my favorite tomato ever; it is a beautiful color inside and out and maintains an odd green shoulder that camouflages the ripeness of the tomato.
4. Roma VF- High yielding determinate bush variety that was commercially developed in the 1950s in Maryland. Even though it isn’t an heirloom, it is open pollinated and seeds saved from one year to the next are generally true to the parent. A basic pulp tomato, good for soups, sauces and salsa. My experience is each bush will yield anywhere from 80 to 150 tomatoes. Disease resistant, hard to kill, what’s not to like?
5. Tommy Toe heirloom cherry tomato from the Ozark mountains. Prolific, both in yield and self seeding year over year. Plant once, have them for life. Flavor is terrific for a cherry and is good grilled, sauteed, raw or in juice or sauces or any tomato dish. Eat these warm, straight from the vine when it is 90 degrees outside, you will like them.