Big Red Tomatoes
IMPORTANT NOTE!: Please remember to water sparingly or moderately when your tomatoes start to ripen. Otherwise you'll have a waterlogged, mushy, cracked tomato! This goes for ALL of your heirlooms!
African Queen ($6.75) 80 days.
Big delicious 1 to 2 lb deep-jade pink fruits with red flesh have all the delicious flavors and juiciness you expect from the old time varieties. A fabulous, renown old family heirloom, African Queen has been grown for generations on the steep hillsides of western North Carolina by the Jack Maderis family and most likely came with slaves from The Caribbean. Just marvelous! Everything you expect in a big beefsteak heirloom!
New for 2020!
Anthony's Passionate Heart ($6.95)
Chosen by my friend Gary Ibsen to honor Anthony Bourdain, here is our premier presentation for 2020.
In our garden it withstood heat waves in the high 90's when other plants gave up the ghost. No cracking, high production, dreamy texture, disease free. A proven winner.
In Gary's words: "Anthony's Passionate Heart produces beautiful big, red heart-shaped 1 lb. fruits with particularly bold fruity-sweet flavors and good acidity for a perfect balance."
"Anthony Bourdain was an American celebrity chef, author, and television personality who explored the cuisines, culture, joys and essentials of human existence around the world. He was an icon to me, and many others, who love food and cooking as a most enjoyable way of gathering people together to celebrate our humanity."
"Naming this tomato is our tribute to Anthony Bourdain’s life by honoring his legacy with a tomato heretofore unknown... 'Anthony's Passionate Heart' tomato. We found it suitable that 'the world’s most popular fruit', a tomato, would carry the message of Anthony's valued and storied life through future generations in a way that would enrich the lives of many."
Bear Claw ($6.75) 75 days
The tomatoes in the second photo weighed 2.9 lbs and 3.2 lbs.
I'd been hearing about this extremely rare fruit in heirloom tomato circles--everyone wanted it! We've got it! Incredibly high production. From Lisa VonSaunder, "A fabulous tomato in every way you can measure. A huge tomato with some of the most outstanding flavors I've ever known. I never saw tomato plants grow so large so fast. Huge plant with stems like tree trunks."
"The first tomatoes of the season were one pound, then the fruit started coming in larger and larger and larger until they were the largest of all my tomatoes this season. Fabulous deep, rich, pink fruit that beat all the others in taste."
"They grew so large the branches were drooping even with one fruit on them. So, if you want to win first place for size but you treasure flavor above all else, this is the tomato to grow! Do you want to have the most tomatoes ever grown on a vine? Then this is the plant for you!"
Photographs, Lisa Von Suncer of Amishland Seeds and Dianna Theysse of Ingalls, Indiana. Used here with their kind permission. In the 3rd photo are 2 huge one I picked this summer.
Sliced Brandywine OTV property of www.heirloomtomatoplants.com
Brandywine OTV($6.75) (B) (E) 72 days.
A truly marvelous stand-out member of the great family of Brandywines, this one arose in Craig LeHoullier's garden years ago. Big 1 pound red fruits with orange shoulders and complex rich flavors.
An outstanding tomato for your garden; it also sets fruit very well during high temperatures and bears all season. A reliable producer, very disease resistant, and easy to grow; OTV stands for Off The Vine, which was a wonderful online tomato newsletter published by Carolyn Male and Craig LeHoullier.
They describe this tomato as "the best strain of Brandywine set apart from others by its smooth, creamy, almost buttery texture, and harmonious sweet flavor." It originated from a natural cross-pollination of Yellow Brandywine and an unknown red parent, and was further developed and stabilized by Carolyn Male. at
Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red ($6.75)
(HG)(E) 78 days.
From Gary Ibsen, owner of Carmel TomatoFest, "Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red is a deep-red, round, beefsteak type fruit with a robust unruly tomatoey flavor and firm, juicy flesh that invites tomato feasting and seed-saving. The tall, indeterminate, very disease resistant plant produces loads of 3" to 4", 10-12 oz. fruits. "
"This is one of those big, bold tasting tomatoes that is not for sissies," said Ibsen. "Although it has some of the highest sugar levels I've ever seen from a tomato, the sweetness is in the background and its fruity flavors are balanced beautifully with plenty of acidity, earthy nuances and flavor complexity. It's a perfect tomato for eating fresh, cooking or canning."
"Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red has proven resistant to several of the most common tomato diseases: verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, nematodes and tobacco mosaic virus."
"Within the hundreds of varieties of heirloom tomatoes I've grown each year has been a selection of previously undistributed, un-named varieties, the seeds of which have been handed down within different families from around the country for generations, then tucked into letters from gardeners wanting to share their legacy with me."
"The seeds of this variety came from Archie Millett who from the foothills of the Sierras. Archie was a tomato breeder with the
Universityof California Davissince the early 50's. Following years of crossing thousands of tomato varieties at the university to produce a disease resistant tomato with intense flavor, he retired in 1987 and continued cross breeding to enhance the flavor qualities of his favorite tomato from his small home garden."
"Archie gave me these seeds by pressing them into my palm while we were in his garden," said Ibsen. "He said, "Here
Gary, these are for you. I've only shared these with friends and family. This is the best tasting tomato of my 50 years of growing tomatoes. Name it what you want, share it with others. You are the person I'd like to introduce this tomato to the public."
© Photograph property of Terroir Seeds and Underwood Gardens
Cuostraleé ($6.75) (Koh
Big, hearty, prolific plant, with HUGE red beautiful beefsteak tomatoes, up to 4 lbs. I have to use both hands to pick them. Gigantic fruits have a superb, classic tomato flavor. Very easy to grow, disease resistant and a reliable producer, in my top 10 favorites.
Another hot weather favorite which will grow easily and wonderfully in all gardens.
Don't worry; nobody knows how to pronounce it but it's so good, you won't care. :)
($6.75) (Hybrid) 72 days. (D) (E)
I have chosen Florida 91 as the perfect alternate plant for my customers in extreme high heat areas who want to have a plant that keeps producing in high summer heat. This specialty tomato,
has the 'heat gene' and produces delicious, bright red, 10 ounce, rich, sweet full-flavored tomatoes in only 72 to 80 days.
a very heat tolerant hybrid variety
This is my favorite big red hybrid. Excellent flavor!
A small determinate plant, growing to about 3 feet, this variety sets fruit easily during high heat, when days are up to 97º or hotter and night temperatures are 73º to 82º. Very disease resistant.
Ideal for slicing onto sandwiches and salads, these sweet yummy tomatoes ripen to be firm, solid, and resistant to cracking.
Goldman's Italian-American ($6.95)
Heirloom Guru Extraordinaire, Amy Goldman, found this delightful full-figured, big-flavored tomato at a roadside stand in Cernobbio, Italy and named it for her father's Brooklyn, NY grocery store.
With very few seeds, Goldman's Italian-American is a terrific choice for cooking--
makes a very silky sauce, creamy paste and adds some magic to soups and stews.
Pear shaped, blood red, juicy and meaty, growing to about 12 to 16 ounces with a beguiling ruffledshape, it is in high demand with chef's and home gardeners alike.
Photograph of Goldman's Italian-American is the property of
Baker Creek Seeds and used here with
their gracious permission. The second photo is mine.
A saucy classic with huge production!
Italian Heirloom ($6.75)
(P-S) 85 days.
The name says it all. Unbeatable for production and flavor, thin skinned and easy to grow. I love this guy.
A real classic from Italy and a top seller here. Producing loads of big, fat, juicy, delicious, 5 to 10 oz. brilliant red, meaty, elongated, slightly pear-shaped tomatoes with an abundance of rich, complex flavors you'd expect from the best Italian varieties.
This tomato is revered by the Italians for its BIG taste and high production. Whether for fresh eating or cooking, you will fall in love with Italian Heirloom.
Back for 2021!
Julia Child ($6.75)78 days.
Julia Child was voted in the top 3 "Which tomatoes do you want me to bring back" poll I took in the summer. "BRING BACK JULIA!" "BRING BACK JULIA!" So I did.
This big potato leafed plant produces bountiful harvests of 4" to 5", deep crimson, slightly fluted beefsteak type fruits with grand, old-time tomato flavor and juicy, fragrant flesh that leaves you wanting more. Just incredible!
If you love bold, straight-forward character, fruity and sweet, with just enough acidity to strike a perfect balance, this one's for you.
Quoting my friend, Gary Ibsen of Tomatofest.com, "Early in 2001, while having lunch with Julia Child in Carmel Valley, California, I told her about my having in my tomato seed trials several un-named varieties. I followed by asking her, "If I'm able to grow an heirloom tomato that's good enough to name after you, what kind would you like it to be?"
I suspected she would say, "Red", or "Beefsteak", or "Yellow." However, after just a moment's hesitation, Julia looked at me and replied, "Tasty, my dear."
New for 2021!