Grow a Beautiful Basketful of
Heirloom Tomatoes In Your Garden
In this photograph I took during a fall harvest years ago, you will see some of my favorite varieties including Aunt Ruby's German Green, Brown Derby, Yellow Brandywine, Paul Robeson, Dagma's Perfection, Carmello, Japanese Black Trifele, Black Cherry, Green Zebra, Black Plum, Sun Gold, Azoychka, Green Giant, Costoluto Genovese, Marianna's Peace, Brandywine OTV, Kellogg's Breakfast, Green Grape, Sunset's Red Horizon and Momotaro.
These delightful tomatoes are as easy to grow as the common hybrids and need no special care other than fluffy, deeply amended, healthy soil, lots of sunshine, moderate watering, clean garden practices and sturdy support. Most of these plants will get really big, up to 7 feet tall, 3 feet wide.
The dwarf varieties are small, shrubby, 2 to 3 feet tall, vigorous plants with lots of beautiful tomatoes from cherries like Moby's Cherry on up to the big ones like Wild Fred!
There are more than 3,000 varieties of heirloom or heritage tomatoes in active cultivation worldwide and more than 15,000 known varieties.
We have narrowed it down for you in The Big List, way down below.
PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU ORDER:
COVID-19 pandemic slowdowns, supply chain challenges and various weird choices made by Louis 'No Joy' De Joy, are delaying Post Office Priority Mail 10 to 15 days to Central, Mid-West, Eastern & Southern regions: (meaning dead plants).
So, we are shipping Express Mail only to those regions - costs more, about 2 times the cost of priority mail. Expensive - but your plants arrive alive and beautiful in 1 to 3 days.
I wish it were not so, but we're grownups so have to deal with reality.
You do have the option of choosing the less expensive Priority mail, but at your own risk of receiving dead plants.
Great News for the Western States: CA, NV, AZ, UT, OR, WA, ID and most of NM, we ship with GLS Courier Service -- so normal shipping costs and quick transit times of 1 to 2 days still apply.
The New Big List for 2022 has been posted! See it below.
Ordering for spring plants begins Monday,
November 1st. at 9:00, California Time.
We still have some plants for gardeners in Florida and The Coachella Valley!Shipping is available through mid December or until we sell out.
310 534 8611
New stock ready in November - mid December. Ask for an updated list.
Ananas Noir - 3 Black Beauty - 6 Brad's Atomic Grape - 4 Brandywine OTV - 6 Dirty Girl - 10 Florida 91 - 2 Gardener’s Delight - 2 Marianna's Peace - 1 Northern Lights - 6 Velvet Night - 10
Photographs and descriptions are in The Big List below.
"Say, where do you grow all these plants, Laurel?" Here's a shot from inside one of our greenhouses in Los Angeles as it's filling up with plants. Soon they will be out of the greenhouses and into full sun where we harden them off before shipping them to you.
All of our plants are 100% organically grown and shipped to you in individual 4" pots, grown in top-quality Fox Farm 'Lucky Dog' organic starting mix, healthy, lush and full-sized, from about 8" to 18" tall, hardened off and ready to plant out. They are shipped when they have strong stems and well-developed root systems.
A detailed 4 page step by step planting and growing guide is included.
All seeds pass individually through our fingers for counting and quality control and are then started by The Tomato Elves from fresh organically grown seeds. We harvest many of my seeds from our own garden plants.
Each plant comes to you individually packaged and protected in a sturdy container, with a permanent name label for your garden. Our unique No-Shift custom packaging technique, which I designed 25 years ago, protects your plants from shifting or movement in transit, assuring safe arrival from here in Los Angeles to your door.
Your heirloom tomato plants will have several different types of foliage; some very wispy, fern-like, and delicate like Anna Russian, Anna Banana, Sunset's Red Horizon and San Marzano Redorta, some thick and hearty like Wild Fred, Stupice and Marianna's Peace and everywhere in between, in varying shades of green. Black Beauty and Brad's Atomic Grape have deep blue stems and touches of indigo in their foliage.
Some plants reach 6 to 8 feet, with vines up to 15 feet or more. They grow slightly smaller when grown in containers.
The dwarf plants remain small, shrubby and compact like Tasmanian Chocolate, and Firebird Sweet. They reach only 18 inches to 3 or 4 feet tall.
Thorburn's Terra Cotta
New for 2022!
We have chosen 9 delightful varieties for your 2022 garden!
Belle Rouge, Blue Chocolate Cherry, Ferris Wheel, Fred's Tie Dye, Great White,
Momotaro Gold, Polish, Red Mamba and Wee Tang Shebang!
Brad's Atomic Grape
From Billy Steinberg's Los Angeles garden, summer of 2021
Clockwise from top: Paul Robeson, Brandywine OTV, another Paul Robeson (yay),
Summer Cider and Marianna's Peace. Way to go, Billy!
A big yummy Northern Lights from Jan Hughes's 2021 Garden in Pasadena.
Life is good. Eat more tomatoes!
In Lycopersicon Veritas ~ Laurel
Your Plants Will Be Completely Hardened Off And Ready To Plant When You Get Them
We send you big, lush, hearty plants, 8" to 20" tall, in 4" pots, 100% organically grown outdoors in full sun here in Los Angeles.
Our plants do not need hardening off or adjusting to your climate. Occasionally we will send a smaller plant if the root system is well-developed. The husky dwarf plants are usually shipped at about 5".
IMPORTANT: Your plants must go into full sun as soon as possible. They cannot be kept indoors for more than a 3 or 4 days.
They need sunshine and heat -- so it's vital that we ship when it's planting time.
See all the photographs in the Big List below!
16" tall plants, ready to ship or to pick up!
The new Big List of all our varieties for 2022 is waiting for you below!
Shipping Periods For 2022
Our Early Bird List, 12 varieties for Feb 14th to March 7th shipping: Our Early Bird list will be posted soon!
Early Birds, Period B - February 14 - March 7th -
Period C - March 14th - March 28th -
Period D - March 28th - April 11th -
Period E - April 11th - April 25th -
Period F - April 25th - May 9th -
Period G - May 9th - May 23rd --
Period H - May 23rd - June 6th --
Summer List, 12 - 15 varieties: Summer list is not complete yet.
Period I - June 6th - June 21st or when we sell out.
To Order By Telephone: 310 534-8611
Monday through Friday 9:00 to 5:00, Saturday 9:00 to 3:00, Pacific Time
(We are in Los Angeles County next to Torrance.)
Shipping Costs: Payment Information & Shipping Costs
1. Take a look at The Big List of tomato plants below -- or the categorized links. Make a list of the plants you need.
Minimum order is four (4) plants.
Orders of 64 or more plants qualify for a volume discount.
2. Go to the Growing Tips & Garden Products link: Growing Tips and Garden Products to choose your fertilizers and garden products.
3. Choose your shipping period from the list above.
NOTE: We ship nationwide via Post Office EXPRESS MAIL Mail.
We ship Global Logistics Services to the Western States: Arizona, California, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and parts of New Mexico.
If you cannot receive post office packages on Saturdays please let us know and we will be sure your plants do not arrive on a Saturday!
We do not ship UPS or FedEx. No exceptions.
Phone order: payment is made when you place your order by phone. We take all major credit cards, debit cards or PayPal. No paper checks. E-checks are okay over the phone.
About Phone Orders During April & May: You may not get through right away due to extremely high call volume, please try again, messages are always backed up about 15 days during April & May so call until you reach us.
To Order by Email or FAX
FAX # 310 494 0518 Our FAX line is only for orders which include credit card numbers. It is secure.
Before you order, read our 'Payment and Shipping Costs' page for shipping and packaging info and our guarantee: Payment Information & Shipping Costs
Make a simple alphabetical list - not a spreadsheet - of your plants, along with fertilizers, SmartPots, etc. from our Growing Tips and Garden Products page: Growing Tips and Garden Products
Choose your shipping period from the list above and email or FAX with:
1. Your name
2. Your billing and shipping address
3. Your 'anytime' telephone number
4. Your best email address
5. Your preferred shipping period
6. The payment type you will be using: VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, PayPal - we send you a handy PayPal invoice, E-Check by phone or Cash if picking up.
7. Your plant list in alphabetical order along with some alternates and a list of the garden products you need.
8. Required: Please incude a list of several alternate plants you'd like in case one of your choices is not available. This happens because seeds and plants do not always grow on schedule.
Please have Laurel choose an appropriate, similar, delicious alternate for me if a plant is not available.
Important: If you do not want Laurel to choose alternates for you please select one option:
1. Please substitute from my list of alternates.
2. Please send a second plant of one on my list.
(We can't accept orders without a few alternate choices. Back orders add additional fees.)
After we receive your emailed order we will send an invoice within a day or so. You then call or FAX payment information to reserve your plants.
When you get your invoice, call with credit card or Paypal information right away to reserve your plants. We do not accept mailed paper checks but e-checks are fine. With e-checks you read your check info to me over the phone.
Very Important: After payment is made, you will get a copy of your receipt by email. Please check your receipt carefully to be sure the information is accurate!
If there is a mistake in your shipping address and you have not corrected it, we may have a wrong shipping address, your plants could get lost and you will have to re-order.
If you do not get a receipt by email within 5 days of talking to Laurel or AJ and paying for your order, please call or send urgent email to be sure we have your correct email address.
Calling in your order is faster. 310 534 8611
We are in Los Angeles. Telephone hours are Pacific Time:
Monday through Friday 9:00 to 5:00, Saturday 9:00 to 3:00, Pacific Time.
If you call at 9:00 from, say...New York, it's 6:00 a.m. here. And we are asleep.
Brown Derby, Kellogg's Breakfast & 1884
Need Tomato Seeds instead of plants?
Here is the very best place for heirloom seeds: Go To Tomatofest.com
When Will My Plants Ship?
Shipping begins with few varieties in late February and continues with all of our plants throughout the spring and summer or until we sell out. (We sometimes have a list of about 10 to 12 varieties for fall and winter, too, but not every year.)
Your shipping time is scheduled during a 15-day period to suit your desired planting time in spring or summer.
This means your plants will ship during that period, not that they will arrive during that period. They may ship on the very last day of that period.
EXAMPLE: If you choose Period E, April 11th to April 25th, your plants will ship sometime within that period.
Your plants will be shipped during the period you select -- as long as that period is not fully booked and the plants are big enough.
If your plants are not big enough we delay shipping for more growth and safe arrival.
We reserve the option to hold up a shipment if temperatures en route from our nursery to you are extremely cold. We want your plants to arrive alive. If you still want them shipped during cold springtime temperatures to cold areas, night temps below 39º, you assume the entire risk of severe cold damage in transit thus we will not be responsible for cold-damaged plants.
We do offer the option of our Double-Box or Triple-Box Systems which will insulate your plants. This increases shipping weight/dimension: higher cost.
Need Expedited Shipping?
You may choose Exact Day or Exact Week shipping for VIP Expedited services.
Your plants will ship during an exact week rather than our standard 15 day shipping period.
Purchasing Expedited VIP status means your order goes out during the certain time you choose.
The added costs are noted below. See Note*
The following service fees will be added to your Express Shipping cost or to GLS Western State Shipping.
Exact Week shipping service added costs:
Order of 1 to 5 plants -- add $30.00
For 6 to 10 plants -- add $40.00
For 11 to 20 plants -- add $50.00
For 21 to 30 plants -- add $60.00
More than 30 plants -- add $2.50 per plant.
To choose a shipping period that is marked 'closed' -- add $30.00 plus $3.00 per plant.
Exact Day shipping service:
For any number of plants - add $50.00 plus $2.00 per plant.
*NOTE: Exact day and exact week shipping may mean some of your first choices are not ready to ship.
In that case, Laurel will choose alternates for you. No exceptions.
Questions? Just call me; I'm glued to my desk
Laurel, 310 534 8611
Heirloom Caprese Salad. Yum!
When To Plant
Your plants should go into the garden during the best time for your USDA planting zone, when nighttime and soil temperatures remain steadily and reliably above 50º.
If you want to plant earlier when it's in the 30's or low 40's at night and are using hot caps or covers of some kind, that's great, you're the boss.
But please be aware, you are held responsible if your plants encounter very cold weather, below 40º, on their way from Los Angeles to your town, and arrive dead.
Tomatoes are a Hot Weather Crop. Don't Plant in Cold Soil!
If you choose earlier shipment, you risk the chance of cold soil and cold air triggering dormancy, undermining the health of your plants and setting back their growth progress, reducing and delaying your harvest. This can cause stunted growth, disease-prone plants, uneven ripening and low production during the entire season.
If you opt to plant in cold soil, we cannot be responsible for poor growth.
Two to three weeks after your last frost date is usually the best time to plant.
Wait for the warm weather when soil temperatures are 70º and overnight temperatures are reliably above 50º.
Tomatoes are a warm weather crop.
How Many Plants? Smart Spacing
Most of these heirlooms get really big, from 6 to 8 feet tall and taller, 3 to 4 feet wide, and need to be spaced at least 32 - 36 inches apart in rows at least 4 to 5 feet apart.
Sure, they are small when you plant them; don't let that fool you.
King Kong and Clifford the Big Red Dog were small when they were born, too.
Photo 1. Dan Barnes with his plants growing in big cages....can you spot Dan?
Photo 2. Dan Miller's big plants with lovely wife and hungry dog.
Photo 3. Dan Hornbaker and his 8 ft. Aunt Ruby's German Green plant.
What is it about guys named Dan?
For example, a garden bed 6' by 18' will accommodate no more than 10 -12 plants -- 2 rows of 5 or 6 plants -- depending on plant size at maturity, while providing plenty of root space, airflow, and room for lots of foliage and fruit.
Our dwarf varieties remain quite small and compact, from 20" to 4 ft. tall and can be spaced 18 to 20" apart on center.
See theGrowing Tips page for more detailed information.
Plant Prices, Minimum Order
Our organically grown tomato plants are priced from $6.25 to $6.95 each; a couple of our very rare plants are priced higher. Plant prices are next to their names on The Big List below. Shipping cost is not included in the plant price.
Minimum order is 4 plants.
Price break begins at 64 plants.
Substitutions, Very Important Information!
Sometimes we must substitute a similar plant variety if your first choice is not available.
Please list some alternates, if you do not list alternate choices, Laurel will personally choose a very similar and delicious variety which will do well in your climate.
If you do not choose a few alternates we cannot take the order.
Hey...Where's the Shopping Cart? Can I Order Online?
No, we do not have an online shopping cart due to variable plant sizes, from 9" to 20" tall so shipping weight will vary.
A plant can weigh from 12 oz. to 2 lbs. This means variable shipping weights and package dimensions -- this needs to be calculated individually.
Payment Information & Shipping Costs Folks, please read that page before ordering!
Be sure you know our prices, shipping method, packaging costs and our guarantee before you order so you will not be surprised/shocked/stunned at 1 to 4 day shipping costs for large, live plants from Los Angeles. We don't want you fainting and hurting yourself.
(Shipping and packaging costs are not included in the plant price.)
Your Privacy, Guaranteed
Your personal information, email, phone number, etc. is secure and never shared with anyone, ever.
When To Order
Ordering begins in the fall for your spring-shipped plants. Opening day will be noted here at our website.
You will choose the shipping period you want for the following spring.
April and May shipping gets booked up early, so order early to reserve your shipping time. Your delivery will be scheduled during a 15 day period for your desired spring or summer planting time.
For instance, if you choose April 11th to April 25th as your shipping period your plants will ship sometime between April 11th to April 25th. If they are too small to ship it may be a few more days.
Will-Call Orders - Picking Up Your Plants - by appointment only.
Do you live or work in Southern California? We do not have a retail store but you can pickup your plants here at our nursery throughout spring, summer and fall.
You must call and speak to Laurel or Adrienne at least 2 to 3 days ahead to inquire about availability and schedule your pick up. Will-call is by appointment only:
Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays 11:00 to 2:00.
1725 257th St. Lomita CA 90717
310 534 8611
(No walk-ins, please, we do not have a retail store.)
Laurel is allergic to manufactured perfumes; please avoid perfuming before you set out unless you're ready for much choking, gagging, sneezing and the hairy eyeball.
We are in Lomita in the South Bay/Torrance area of Los Angeles County near Western and Pacific Coast Highway, 30 minutes south of LAX, 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean and 4 minutes west of the 110/Harbor freeway.
You will see symbols in The Big List, below
Here's what they mean:
(H) Hybrid. We offer 5 hybrid varieties. The ones I chose were developed with great flavor as the main criterion. These are delicious varieties which we have grown and taste-tested to ensure superior flavor.
Our Sunshine Symbol this variety grows beautifully in all climates, and my customers tell me it can do well in sustained high heat -- but not hotter than 97º. Pollen normally becomes sterile above 97º.
Customers report this variety can be extra heat tolerant and can produce well up to 97º.
A specialty plant, developed to produce consistently in very hot weather, up to 97º- 100º.
Our Penguin Symbol means this variety grows beautifully in all climates, and my customers tell me it does especially well in cooler temperatures and produces late into the cool season.
Twin Penguins: Grows beautifully in most climates and can be extra cold tolerant. However, this does not mean North Dakota-in-winter-tolerant. These tomato plants need night temperatures consistently above 45º F.
Our Mountain Symbol means this plant is a good choice for your high altitude garden -- and grows beautifully everywhere else, too.
(E) Early ripening variety, with 78 days or less to ripe tomatoes.
(VE) Very early varieties, usually less than 68 days from plant-out to ripe fruit.
(EE) Extremely early ripening varieties, ready to pick in only 45-60 days from planting.
A good choice for growing in pots, and a variety which Laurel has already grown successfully in containers. Any heirloom tomato plant will grow well in a large 10 - 30 gallon container with proper growing techniques. The dwarf varieties can be grown in 5 gallon containers.
See detailed container-growing info: Growing Tips
(Ch) A cherry tomato. These little fruits can be red, black, orange, pink, purple, green, yellow, ivory, white or bicolor and in varying shapes: round, pear, grape, ping pong, pea-sized and plum-shaped.
F/C This denotes a tomato that grows well in foggy coastal areas but also does beautifully in full sun. Thanks to Cynthia Sandberg at Love Apple Farm for this list!
(B) A big tomato of at least 1 or 2 pounds.
(BB) A really big tomato. These 'super braggers' can reach 3 to 4 pounds.
(BBB) A ridiculously huge tomato, these delicious, prize winning giants can reach 5 lbs.
(SM) A small plant, great for containers or smaller garden spaces.
(VSM) A very small, dwarf type plant, some produce lots of big tomatoes, some are cherry tomatoes -- for small containers and tiny gardens.
(P-S) Paste or sauce type, especially popular for sauces. These tomatoes are richly flavored, ideal for cooking because flavors increase exponentially during the cooking process, and are also marvelous for fresh eating.
(HG) For your Historical or Heritage Garden. These are storied tomatoes with a fascinating history, including well-known historic varieties, some of them named after persons of high renown, or an historical event. Some are tomatoes with tall tales and legends attached to their names. Many have simply stood the test of time.
Days: IMPORTANT INFO! This means days to maturity/ripe fruit at ideal temperatures of above 50º at night and above 70º daytime. Cooler weather will add about 2 to 3 weeks to ripening time. So, it is the approximate time from planting the seedling to harvesting the ripe fruit. Can vary from climate to climate.
New for 2021 This means we are offering these varieties this year for the first time.Not a 'new' variety.
A Map To The Website
Here are links to all the site pages.
Growing Tips and Garden Products
Need tomato seeds?
Go toTomatofest.com for 600 varieties of heirloom tomato seeds!
Our 2022 Plant Sale Dates Please join us for our Sunday Sales here at the nursery in spring and summer! (Please check back for sale dates)
Payment Information ...and shipping details (Please read before you order.)
Big Red Tomatoes
Medium Size Red Tomatoes
The Biggest Tomatoes
Small Fruited/Cherry Tomatoes
Early Ripening Tomatoes
Pink and Purple Tomatoes
The Black Tomatoes
The Green Tomatoes
The Yellow, Gold & Orange Tomatoes
Multi Colored Tomatoes
Sauce and Paste Tomatoes
Smaller Plants for Containers ...and small garden spaces.
Growing Tips and Garden Products
Favorite Tomato Recipes Great Recipes for your heirloom tomatoes; please send us your favorite recipe!
The Best Tomato Sandwich Recipes from our customers; please send us yours!
What Our Customers Say And some photographs of their gardens...
Laurel's Blend Olive Oil Come see!
Plant Support: TomatOH! Holders. They are awesome. Go here: www.tomatohelpers.com
The Big List For 2022
1884 ($6.75) (B)
(HG)(E) 78 days.
1884 is a superbly flavored old-time tomato which grows on a strong vigorous plant and produces big luscious 1 lb. to 2 lb. deep dark pink fruit with luxurious flavor and sets fruit readily in hot weather.
The original plant was discovered by James Lyde Williamson growing out of a huge pile of debris after the big Ohio River flood of 1884 in the tiny town of Friendly, West Virginia.
This grand fruit has taken top mention year after year in tomato tastings all over the country. Easy to grow and very productive.
Amazon Chocolate, see Chocolate Amazon
A Laurel's Favorite!
Amish Rose ($6.95) 80 days.
This lovely old Amish tomato that has been one of my favorites for more than 20 years. With rich, Brandywine-like flavor, strong growth reliability and classic old time nuance, it is a magical inhabitant for your garden.
This is a classic, fabulously flavored tomato that I want you to grow so you will know what I know.
I have been getting requests for Rose for years after it was featured in a PBS radio show years ago. The host spoke of how her late Mom, named Rose, had always grown this tomato in Pennsylvania and that she'd saved her Mom's seeds for 40 years.
She lost the seed packet during a move and was devastated. I called the station to leave a message that I knew of this tomato and could help -- that I had seeds.
We had a very emotional conversation when we realized her Mom and I both loved of this extraordinary tomato and that I had seeds for her.
It brought to mind my Mama, Marge Garza -- who brought me my first heirloom tomato, Anna Russian, more than 30 years ago.
So here is Amish Rose for you.
Amy's Sugar Gem ($6.75)
This huge, sprawling plant produces heavy clusters of golf ball sized, incredibly delicious, deep red ambrosial fruit with tiny golden jewel-like sparkles within the red skin. Very sweet! It was one of my absolute favorite tomatoes at TomatoFest in September--just knocked me out. Candy-on-the-vine, not to be missed. Developed by Jeff McCormack, it is a cross of Red Cherry and Tappy's Finest. Named for Amy Boor Hereford whose Grandma Tappy introduced Jeff to heirloom tomatoes more than 20 years ago.
Ananas Noir (aka Black Pineapple) ($6.95) 85 days.
A hugely popular tomato, Ananas Noir, French for Black Pineapple, is a stunning fruit -- incredibly beautiful. But what about flavor? 10 ounce. What good is all that flashy gorgeousness if the flavor is dull?
Well, it's not!IT'S FABULOUS!
Fragrant and sweet, juicy, ambrosial with lingering notes of tropical fruit and sunshine, luscious, unending flavor that lingers on the palate. One of my all-time favorites, I want you guys to try this one. It will blow your mind.
August 24, 2016. Anna Banana, one day's harvest in my garden, from a plant grown in a 25 gallon Smart Pot, 10.5 lbs in the basket.
Anna Banana Russian ($6.75)
I've been waiting a long time for a tomato like Anna Banana. For me this is tomato heaven; a
yellow bull's-heart shaped fruit growing on a beautiful wispy plant which produces like crazy.
I've told anyone who'll listen that Anna Russian was the first heirloom tomato I ever tasted -- and ultimately the reason I'm in this business.
To be able to offer this spectacular, accidental yellow version with its dazzling deep yellow skin and dense sweet flesh is beyond thrilling for me. Balanced flavor, sweet with just a little tang in the background and growing on wispy vines just like the original red Anna Russian.
Reaching 8 to 12 ounces and producing abundantly in all climates, this lady is a radiant winner. Some fruits are heart shaped, some beefsteak, right there on the same plant. This trait is part of the charm of the heirlooms. Inside you'll find a stunning little pattern of scarlet streaking.
NOTE: I think Anna Banana is the wispiest tomato plant in existence. On the young plants, possibly the most delicate looking foliage of any tomato on Earth -- but as she gets bigger her foliage gets heartier and the tomatoes grow like crazy. Keep that in mind. Hang in there.
This variety was grown out and stabilized by Michael Walker of Ellensburg Washington. Yay, Michael!
Anna Russian ($6.75) (VE)
HG) 65 days.
This was the very first heirloom tomato I ever tasted and one of the finest of the oxheart tomatoes. The plant has very delicate, wistful foliage as do many of the Russian varieties. Don't let that fool you! Anna is easy to grow and bears heavily during hot and cool weather.
Years ago my mom brought me some perfect heart-shaped Anna Russians from her garden. She had gotten the seeds from a friend. I tasted; I swooned. From 8 to 12 ounces, the fruits she brought had grown in beautiful clusters of 2 or 3--I wouldn't be without it.
Still in my top 5 favorites after all these years, Anna Russian is always among the first few plants I set out in my home garden every spring in a little Tomato Love ceremony. Its perfect heart shape in colors ranging from pink to red make it very special indeed.
Anna Russian seeds came to Craig Lehoullier from Brenda Hillenius of Oregon, who got the seeds from her grandfather, Kenneth Wilcox. Years earlier he had been given the original seeds from a Russian immigrant friend--a genuine example of the intriguing history these grand old tomatoes carry with them.
IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT ANNA RUSSIAN: Be sure to note that Anna Russian (and Anna Banana) have droopy, wispy, delicate foliage as do so many of the heart-shaped tomatoes. There is nothing wrong with your plant; it's supposed to look that way. One of my customers was convinced by a well-meaning neighbor to rip out her Anna Russian plants. "There's something wrong with them plants, Hildy, better rip 'em out..." And she did, then called me to tell me the bad news. I gave her the other bad news; her heart broke. "Oh no! I murdered them!"
It was too late for her to replant that season but she ordered Anna Russian the following year and got a beautiful crop!
Our Top Seller in 2020 and 2021
Anthony's Passionate Heart ($6.95)
Big, red heart shaped 1 lb. fruits on a plant that withstands every type of weather. A marvelous tomato with rich, bold, fruity-sweet flavors and a perfect balance of acidity.
This is our premier presentation for 2020 in honor of Tony's legacy: Food will always bring families, neighborhoods, cities and countries together, gathered at the table. Nothing to fight about, everything to love.
In our garden it kept producing through prolonged heat waves in the high 90's when other plants gave up the ghost. Now it continues to grow as cooler weather arrives. No cracking, high production, dreamy texture, disease free. A real winner.
In the words of Gary Ibsen of Tomatofest who developed it, "Anthony Bourdain was an American celebrity chef and author 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."
Seeds are available here:
Aunt Ruby's German Green ($6.75)
(B) (E)75-78 days.
You're going to love this beautiful Tennessee tomato. Medium to large, sweet beefsteaks, bursting with a fragrant, complex, spicy-sweetness with a touch of tang.
A gorgeous green-when-ripe color with a delicate pink blush inside, this much sought after variety is a real treat to have in your garden, and is said to be the very best tasting green. Reaching up to one pound, Aunt Ruby's German Green grows in clusters of 2 or 3.
With its intricate, earthy, unforgettable flavor and chartreuse flesh this one will broaden your tomato horizons. Top favorite of our friend and customer Tom Wopat. Very adaptable, and easy to grow with good disease resistance. From Ruby Arnold of Greeneville, Tennessee who passed away in 1997.
Huge plant, huge tomatoes!
($6.75) 75 days
The tomatoes in the second photo, from 2019, weighed 2.9 lbs and 3.2 lbs.
A fabulous tomato in every way you can measure. A huge tomato with some of the most outstanding flavors I've ever known. These plants grew so big so fast it felt like a time warp.
The huge plants had stems like tree trunks. Give it extra support! I always plant mine a couple of feet from a palm tree in the front yard. As it grows it leans toward the palm tree and I lash it to the tree trunk. True story.
The first tomatoes of the season are usually about one pound. After that, with proper care, they get bigger and bigger and bigger and grow tons of fabulous deep, rich, crimson fruits with incredible flavor.
If you want to win first place for size but you treasure flavor even more, this is the one for you. Do you want to have the most tomatoes ever grown on a vine? Then this is the plant for you!"
PROPER CARE: Plant in deep rich soil. Feed every 3 weeks
using a granular organic fertilizer like our Happy Frog, and don't over-water.
Photograph Dianna Theyssen of Ingalls, Indiana. Used here with her kind permission.
New For 2022!
Belle Rouge( $6.75) 75 days
One Sunday morning in 2014 during an open house plant sale at my nursery, a handsome young Frenchman waited in line to chat with me. :) He had been visiting a friend nearby who told him about us.
When he got to my table he held out to me a tiny vile of tomato seeds. A perfume sample vile.
This charming traveler from Le Mans, in Northwestern France, where the Oceanic Belt influence creates
tomatoes with complex, layered flavors, had been given the seeds by his aunt. She grew them in one of the huge community gardens for which Le Mans is famous (along with auto production and motor racing).
He could not remember what type of fruit it was, just that it was magnifique! And as yet unnamed.
The vile was so tiny, I misplaced it for years. Adrienne finally found it this spring wedged at the bottom of a harvest basket which had been on the table all those years ago.
We were thrilled to grow out this mystery seed and find out what it was! We planted the seeds, Adrienne called it 'Perfume Sample". I made 'Perfume Sample' labels for the plants we grew out.
To our delight, those magical seeds produced the most beautiful, full flavored tomatoes starting out a pale, delicate orange, then ripening to deepest red, 'rouge' in French, meaty,
shaped like bells and double-bell hearts, 6-8 ounce fruits. Great for sauce, too!
heavy with juice,
And the flavor is, yes, magnifique! In Adrienne's photo you can see one of the 'double' fruits.
So beautiful! With out-of-this-world flavors, heavy in the hand, complex, layered and fragrant. So I named this French beauty Belle Rouge.
Berkeley Tie Dye, Pink ($6.95) 80 days.
Beautiful half-pound treasures!
This rare and exotic fruit with big, bold, luscious flavors looks just like its name implies with showy streaks and swirls of green, pink, yellow and orange patterning inside and out. From 8 to 12 ounces, chefs nationwide are ordering these plants for their restaurant gardens -- tomato lovers are clamoring for this fabulous variety.
Berkeley Tie Dye is another fabulous variety from talented tomato breeder Brad Gates of Wild Boar Farms here in California. Brad has forever changed and enlivened the world of heirloom tomatoes.
Photograph of hand holding Berkeley Tie Dye courtesy of David Tucker.
Photograph of cut-open Berkeley Tie Dye is the property of Brad Gates/ www.wildboardfarms.com Go see Brad's incredible varieties!
The World’s Darkest Tomato!
Black Beauty ($6.75) 85 days.
Beautiful to look at, the flavor of Black Beauty is deep, rich and complex. Combined in a tomato salad with red, orange and yellow tomatoes - a real mind-blower!
Be sure and wait for true ripeness! Black beauty takes a while to ripen but is definitely worth the wait.
These photographs are from our home garden and have not been retouched. The fruits and the stems are deep dark indigo-black. Inside, blood red. The first photo is a not quite ripe fruit, the second and third photos show the color change indicating ripeness.
So dark that some tomatoes turn solid blue-black on the skin. Deep red flesh is among the best tasting of all tomatoes. Rich, smooth and savory with earthy tones.
Keeps well on the vine and stores very well, and the flavor improves with room-temperature storage.
A dark, meaty, very rich-fleshed tomato with extreme anthocyanin effect, the same antioxidant in blueberries and blackberries. The emerging little fruits are deep black from the time they are tiny until big and almost ripe, then you will see some color changes as you can see in the photographs.
Baker Creek's Dave Kaiser tasted it at the 2015 National Heirloom Exposition and proclaimed it as the BEST tomato he had ever eaten!
Black Cherry ($6.75) F/C (Ch) (VE)
A perfectly round 1" cherry tomato with classic black tomato flavor, sweet, yet rich, smoky and complex. Fruit picks easily from the stem and is produced in abundance on vigorous, tall plants.
Bred by Vince Sapp, these cherries are irresistibly delicious: look like a black cherry, taste like a sweet cherry-- a unique addition to the color and flavor spectrum of cherry tomatoes for your garden, along with our other cherries, it makes an arresting display for any table.
Just outstanding. These guys got eaten moments after the photograph was taken. :)
Black Krim ($6.75) 75 days (E)
This much sought after variety is unique and unforgettable, originally from Krim (Crimea) on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Ukraine, Black Krim has a superb smoky sweetness with a delicate lingering touch of tang in a 4-6" slightly flattened, mahogany-colored fruit with lovely, deep green shoulders.
Setting fruit at higher temperatures, it is superb and very easy to grow.
This gorgeous photograph of a 10.5 ounce Black Krim is courtesy of Damon Webber. Yay, Damon!
New for 2021!
) 78 days