bbmc@retirementpartner.c

 

A Few of Laurel's Favorites

People often ask, " Laurel, let's say you are about to be stranded on a deserted island, your canoe is taking on water, and you have to swim to shore. You have 1 minute to grab your swim fins, snorkel, some garden tools, books, your shades, a case of wine, your dog, and 10 tomato seed varieties from among the hundreds you always have in your pockets. Which ones would you choose?"

"How about 15?", says I.

 

   A Guide to the Symbols

(H)  Hybrid. The few hybrids we list were developed with great flavor as the main criterion. These are delicious varieties which we have grown and taste-tested to ensure superior flavor.

 

(D)  Determinate. Also known as 'bush' varieties, these plants are great for container growing or for your small garden. They reach a certain predetermined height and then stop growing. Most of the fruit is borne over a 4 to 6 week period.

 

  Our Sunshine Symbol means this variety grows beautifully in all climates, and does especially well in sustained high heat but not hotter than 95. Pollen normally becomes sterile above 95

 

  Extra heat tolerant.

   A specialty plant, developed to produce consistently in very hot weather, up to 97- 98.

 

    Our Penguin Symbol means this variety grows beautifully in all climates, and does especially well in cooler temperatures and produces late into the cool season.

 

    Grows beautifully in most climates and is extra cold tolerant. However, this does not mean North Dakota in winter. Your tomato plants need night temperatures consistently above 50 F.

 

(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 18 - 30 gallon container with proper growing techniques and the dwarf varieties can be grown in 5 -10 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.

 

(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 prize winning giants can reach more than 5 lbs.

 

(SM) A small plant, great for containers or smaller garden spaces.

 

(VSM) A very small, dwarf type plant 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: Approximate time from planting the seedling to harvesting the ripe fruit. I note the number of days to ripening in my garden. Can vary from climate to climate.

 

New for 2021 This means we are offering these varieties this year for the first time. Not necessarily a 'new' variety.

 

 

My Top 15

'Stranded On A Deserted Island' Favorites

 

 

   

 

Paul Robeson ($6.75) (VE)  (HG)       65-70 days.

 

This is my all-time favorite tomato and our top seller for 22 years.

 

It is a gorgeous, dark and dusky-hued fruit with intensely sweet earthy taste with a hint of tanginess, a luscious velvety smooth texture, beautiful skin, rich with juice and high production. You will love it. The seed was made available by Marina Danilenko, a Moscow seedswoman. 

 

This luxurious tomato is named for Paul Robeson (1898-1976), the elegant, renowned and charismatic operatic singer, law school graduate, champion athlete, film star, stage actor and boundlessly brave champion of civil and personal rights throughout the world. This marvelous plant will give you its perfect 3" - 4" fruit in only 65 days from planting. Incredible; a symphony. I do believe this is the finest tomato in existence.  

 

 

New for 2020!

 

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:  Go toTomatofest.com

 

 

 

 

    

 

Black Krim ($6.75) 75 days (E)  

 

This much sought after Russian variety is unique and unforgettable, originally from Krim on the Black Sea in the former Soviet Union, 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. Just superb and very easy to grow.

   Photo property of Damon Webber, used here with he is gracious permission

 

 

Black Mamba $7.95 78 days      (B) 

New to our list this season, Black Mamba is a big, bodacious, purple/black beefsteak tomato. Elaborate smoky flavor with touch of sassy tang make this one an irresistible delight in your tomato garden.

A natural 'surprise' cross of Lucky Cross with an unknown black variety, Black Mamba's flavor is rich, sweet and luscious and the plants produce big crops of stunning, irresistible tomatoes. 

Really meaty and full-flavored, Black Mamba is also a fabulous choice for sauce!

From the garden of the late, beloved, old-timey tomato grower Millard Murdock.

NOTE: To honor Kobe, we are donating a portion of the proceeds from Black Mamba to 'Long Distance Bedtime Stories', a USO based program which makes videos of deployed parents reading favorite bedtime stories to their children. Deployment can be pretty tough for kids, being so far away from Mommy or Daddy. You can help us make a difference and light up a child's face with a bedtime story from a far-away-for-awhile parent

 

 

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 one-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."

 

 

  

Brown Derby ($6.75) 75 to 80 days. 

 

My absolute favorite discovery of 2007, no contest. Combining the sweet succulence of the black tomatoes and the tangy spiciness of the greens, this is a spectacular cross of my all-time favorite, Paul Robeson, and the legendary Aunt Ruby's German Green.

 

Reaching up to 2 lbs., yhe flavor is tantalizing--tart and sweet, a perfect combination of tang to sweetness with plenty of juice and a rapturous brown and green color.

 

Elser's Brown Derby has become a much sought after favorite at Maria and Darrell's Farmer's Market stands where customers arrive early to get their hands on one of these treasures. I had to scramble to get this one. True story. I picked it up, another customer begged me for it; I did not budge, wouldn't give it up. I wanted it for the photograph because it was so beautiful. Then we ate it. A Laurel's exclusive.

 

 (This fruit is not related to Tom Wagner's Brown Derby line, arose independently from that line and was named without knowledge of it.)

 

 

 

   

 

Cherokee Purple ($6.75) (HG) (E) 75 days.

A legendary and beautiful tomato, at least 100 years old and said to be grown by the Cherokee People. 12 oz. deep dark dusky rose-purple, deep red inside, with sweet, rich and smoky, luscious flavor. 

Cherokee Purple is a garden staple, in everyone's favorite list for a good reason-- disease resistant, reliable and easy to grow, and great one for your heirloom or heritage garden. 

Seeds were sent to Craig Lehoullier by JD Green of Tennessee who got them from a neighbor whose family had grown them for more than 100 years. 

In 1990 Craig named it Cherokee Purple. 

  

 

 

   

Dirty Girl  ($6.75)      (E) Only 60 days.

 

I am crazy about the name of this incredibly delicious, high producing, open-pollinated version of Early Girl!  It was de-hybridized by Joe Schirmer, owner of Dirty Girl Produce in Santa Cruz California. An organic grower, Joe spent the last 7 years growing out Early Girl into an open-pollinated version of Early Girl -- what we call a 'new' heirloom.

 

Dirty Girl produces in only 60 to 65 days, giving you huge harvests of perfect, yummy, 3 to 4 ounce salad size, red tomatoes with all the great qualities of Early Girl -- high production, early ripening and strong plants, with some added attractions for gardeners-- an far richer flavor and a bonus; you can save seeds!

 

Joe named it 'Dirty Girl' after his wife with whom he created Dirty Girl Farm. Yay Joe! 

 

If you've got a wife, mother, daughter, girlfriend or girl pal who spends a lot of time in the garden, this is the tomato for her. My customers love getting this one as a gift for their Dirty Girl Gardeners!

 

Surprise your Dirty Girl!  Go see! www.dirtygirlproduce.com

 

 

 

 

 

Green Giant ($6.75) (E) (B)      60-70 days.

 

On a flavor scale of 1 to 100, Green Giant is a resounding 100 + Incredible. Unforgettable.  The flavor can be described as rich, intoxicating and intense.

 

Occasionally a tomato comes along which deserves very special attention. This big, up to 2 lb., green when ripe tomato resoundingly stole the show in 4 different tomato tastings.

 

We had the immense pleasure of tasting it at TomatoFest in Carmel, California where it captured the hearts of tasters and garnered a great deal of attention. I have not been this impressed by a tomato since discovering Brown Derby in 2007.

 

It arose originally in the garden of Reinhard Kraft of Germany in 2000 when he planted 30 seeds called 'Green Giant' from a friend in Canada. 29 of them grew out regular leafed except for one which had big potato leafed foliage. Reinhard cultivated that one, selecting the best fruit for several seasons, and continued to save seeds. Yay, Reinhard.  

 

NOTE:  How to tell if a green tomato is ripe and not just an unripe fruit?  Close your eyes and feel it; if it's soft, it's ripe.

 

   

Jutland ($6.75)    (E) 70 days. (Pronounced Jut-land or Yoot-lahn)

 

Along with Dirty Girl, Jutland is my new 'go to' variety for the best dang tomato for BLT's and any fresh eating. A perfect 3 to 5 ounce, thin-skinned, plum shaped, brilliant red tomato, some smooth, some with a pointed tip and the most sublime flavor we've found in a tomato this season. I keep saying " Where have you been all my life?"

 

It appears in several different shapes on the same plant -- some very elongated, some short and plump, and, as with many tomatoes of this shape, the foliage is rather wispy.

 

Sliced into 'coins' or halved lengthwise, it is my new favorite for salads, sandwiches and cooking. True story.

 

Juicy, sweet, tangy, delicious, thin, very tender skin and old-fashioned tomato flavor make Jutland a must-grow for the most dedicated and adventuresome heirloom tomato fans.


Can be used for sauce, yes. I'd recommend this one for fresh eating.

 

 

Marianna's Peace ($6.75) 80 days. (B) (HG)      

 

One of our top 3 sellers. The sugary nectar of this huge 5 inch tomato's creamy, dense, red flesh is intensely rich, with perfect sweet-acid balance and sublime, complex flavors reminiscent of the finest of the "old-fashioned" tomato flavors.  This big, beautiful irresistible 1-2 lb. deep red fruit is the talk of the tomato world and has found its way into Top 10 favorite tomato lists of gourmands worldwide. It is perfection. Supply is limited, please order early. 

 

It is said that Marianna's Peace is among the 3 finest tasting tomatoes in existence.

Marianna was from a family of farmers in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia. During World War II, in May of 1945 when she was 17, Russian soldiers came to her school and forced Marianna and all her schoolmates into a truck to be taken to Siberia. During the journey, she and a few others escaped by jumping from the moving truck, but Marianna was shot in the leg just as she crossed the Czech border. With the help of her friends, she was able to continue on to the town of Weiden, Bavaria. She lost all contact with her parents and brothers for the next ten years, but after a long and diligent search with the aid of The Red Cross, she finally found them in 1955. 

Before he died, her father gave her a little bundle of the seeds. 

Marianna married, and in 1957 moved to Washington State with her husband where they raised four children.

The legacy of these seeds reaches back to the early 1900's and year after year the tomatoes borne from this marvelous heirloom continue to be treasured for their outstanding taste and beauty. Incredibly sweet, creamy, with dense red flesh, rich and luscious, reminiscent of the finest of those "old-fashioned" tomato flavors, the memories of which are the stuff of dreams for all tomato lovers. 

 

 

  New for 2021! And a Laurel's Favorite!

Nepal $6.95 75-80 days.    

With the elaborate old-time flavors you yearn for in the mid-season garden, we are thrilled to offer you the incredible Nepal.

Originally from the Northern Himalayas, the beautiful red 8 to 10 ounce fruits thrilled us with very high production and when we got to taste them at ripe perfection, (more thrills) we knew we had a great one for your 2021 garden. A fabulous, early to midseason beefsteak, this tomato is the definition of what an heirloom tomato should taste like: Luscious, ambrosial, eyes-roll-back-in-your-head flavors.

Growing on big strong vines, the crack-resistant fruits of Nepal are what we call 'longkeepers': This means you can pick them before they are ripe, late in the season, then wrap them in paper to ripen gradually during the fall and winter. A treat awaits.

 

 

 

Gold Medal Tomato   Laurel's Top Pick

Ruby Gold  (Sometimes called Gold Medal) ($6.75)       85 days.

 

A stunning beauty with thrilling, sweet tropical flavors, this was my hands-down favorite for 2016. I could not be without it.

 

Ruby Gold has gigantic flavor, rivaling Cherokee Purple and Brandywine -- it may be as good as Paul Robeson. Cut it open, take a bite and prepare to have your mind blown.

 

Awesome color, huge flavor,  gorgeous and delicious. So prolific! I am getting dozens of tomatoes from one plant in a 30 gallon SmartPot.

 

I have a special fondness for the multi-hued tomatoes because-- well, look at thisw thing! When I see the multi colored tomatoes on plants ripening into rainbow hues I get lusciously gaga. 

 

First offered to American gardeners in 1921 by John Lewis Childs seed company in New York, Ruby Gold was rediscovered in West Virginia in 1967 by the legendary Ben Quisenberry. Craig LeHoullier got seeds in 1987 from John Hartman of Indiana, and here it is...for you.

 

 

 

 

Summer Cider ($6.75) 72-80 days.       (B) 

 

Oh. My. God.

 

I had my first taste of this spectacular 1 to 2 lb. fruit when I bought one at Elser's Country Farm stand at our local farmers' market this summer in Torrance CA.  I brought it home, sliced it in half and started eating. Lost my mind.  Still haven't found it....my mind, that is.

 

This is one of the most incredibly delicious tomatoes I have ever tasted.

 

Refreshing, juicy, fruity, sweet, tangy, sublime. The color of perfectly ripe apricot.

 

Meaty, full flavored, ambrosial.  Love it. Summer Cider can be potato leafed or regular leafed, producing identical fruits.

A Laurel's exclusive.

 

This photograph of Summer Cider from her summer of 2014 harvest is the property of our customer Dianna Theyssen, used here with her gracious permission.

 

 

 

 

Tati's Wedding ($6.75) 80 days.      

 

Tati is short for Tatiana. This big luscious beauty -- the most flavorful variety I've come across this season and my top pick for 2017, was discovered by my customer Dan Stein of New York as he drove through the Kazbek mountains in the Caucasus of Russia. He was there on a special day, his friend Tatiana's wedding, when he stopped at a roadside produce stand and discovered this fabulous tomato.

 

The farmer had not name it, so Dan called it Kazbegi Red. After hearing this beautiful story, I couldn't resist naming it for Tatiana, whose nickname is Tati. 

 

These tomatoes are luscious, meaty and silky with big sweetness and just enough tang to make it the perfect all purpose tomato and one of the juiciest I've ever found.

 

So productive, you'll get dozens of delicious tomatoes in varying sizes and shapes on the same plant, from 5 oz. up to 16 oz. or more.  This is one of the most delightful traits of the heirloom tomatoes.

 

The tomato in the photograph weighed 16 ounces and was grown this season by my customer and friend Barbara Kraus of Rancho Palos Verdes, CA. After our Tati's Wedding plants were demolished by rampaging raccoons, Barb came to my rescue and grew out some plants in her garden.

Without Barb we would not have any photographs or seeds or plants of this incredible for you!  Yay, Barb!

 

 

New for 2021!

 

Thorburn's Terra Cotta (Pronounced THOR-burns) ($6.95)    80 days. A Laurel's Favorite

We are so excited to be able to present Terra Cotta as our premier variety for 2021.

It's hard to know where begin in describing this extremely rare treasure with its incredible flavor, color and history!

Introduced more than 120 years ago, in 1893, by James Thorburn of New York, this is one of the most sensational tomatoes we have ever grown. With honey-brown skin, apricot colored flesh, and a beautiful green seed gel, this is a stunning tomato with out-of-this-world flavor.

Producing heavily during mid-season for fresh eating, sandwiches, salads and right out-of-hand, Terra Cotta is also great for cooking! Roasted, sauced, fresh from the garden--you name it.

 

 New for 2021!

Wild Fred (Dwarf Plant) ($6.95)       A Laurel's Favorite

Lots of big gorgeous purple/black tomatoes grow in abundance on a strong, stocky 3 to 4 ft. dwarf plant. Disease resistant and producing big crops of large yummy tomatoes in all kinds of weather, the flavor is outstanding.

Heavy in your hand, this juicy, beefsteak type fruits grow to 6 to 10 ounces with thin skin and the deep, smoky, juicy, aromatic flesh you find in Carbon which is one of its parent lines (along with New Big Dwarf).

This big, tasty variety was named by Craig LeHoullier, for his dad Wilfred after a memorable typo of Wilfred's name in a church bulletin.

A fabulous cross made in 2005 by Bruce Bradshaw in California.

For descriptions and photographs of all our tomato varieties, please click here:

  Our Tomato Varieties

For detailed growing information and Laurel's favorite organic gardening products, click here:

Growing Tips

"You need more tomatoes."...Laurel    

All original materials, photos and copy contained herein are protected by copyright 2021 and are the sole property of Laurel's Heirloom Tomato Plants