Sauce and Paste Tomatoes

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IMPORTANT NOTE! Folks, 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! Don't sabotage your own tomatoes....


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1884 ($6.25)  (B)    ((HG) (E) (P-S) 78 days.

1884 is a superbly flavored old-time tomato which grows on a strong vigorous plant and produces big luscious 2 lb. deep dark pink fruit with luxurious flavor and sets fruit readily in hot weather. It is said that the original seeds were discovered in 1884 by a Mr. Williamson in the debris after the big flood in 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. Marvelous for fresh eating and makes a luscious sauce.


  New for 2019!


African Queen ($6.50) 80 days.      (P-S)

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!


Meaty, makes a fabulous sauce!


Photo property of Adrienne Park-Tucker



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Anna Russian ($6.25)    (VE)  (HG) (P-S)    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!




Amishgold     New for 2017!


Amish Gold ($6.50) 70 days (P-S)    (E)  

This magnificent cross of Sun Gold and Amish Paste produces loads full-flavored, stunning golden tomatoes, about 2 long and 1 wide with the spectacular sweetness and huge production of Sun Gold along and the meatiness of Amish Paste. Fabulous for fresh eating and makes a lovely sauce!

It has become a favorite in our garden and I know it will in yours.         


Here's how it happened: Cross SunGold with Amish Paste and you get Amish Gold!


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Anna Banana Russian  ($6.25)     (E)  (P-S) 65 days.

I've been waiting a long time for this one. For years 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 cross with its dazzling lemon yellow skin and flesh is beyond thrilling for me. I am so blown away by this yellow heart-shaped tomato! And it is sweet sweet sweet with just a little tang in the background and grows 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. 

This variety was grown out and stabilized by Michael Walker of Ellensburg Washington.  Yay, Michael!





Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red ($6.25) (HG) (E) (P-S) 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, meaty yet juicy flesh that invites tomato feasting and seed-saving. The tall, indeterminate, very disease resistant plant produces loads of 3-4", 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."  

"For years I've wanted pay tribute to our neighbor Clint Eastwood for the generosity he's bestowed upon our Carmel-Monterey community, for his actions to preserve the natural beauty of our coastline and for the years of support he's given to the Carmel TomatoFest," said Gary Ibsen. With Clint's permission I chose to name it 'Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red', after Clint's character, Rowdy Yates, from the old television series Rawhide."

"The seeds of this variety came from Archie Millett who is now 81 and living in the foothills of the Sierras. Archie was a tomato breeder with the University of California at Davis since 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." 

Gary named this fabulous tomato for his friend and fellow environmentalist, Clint Eastwood. 

Gary Ibsen's friendship and encouragement continue to inspire my love for heirloom tomatoes. He has been my mentor and finest inspiration, and his award winning book, The Great Tomato Book, is always nearby. 



Costoluto Genovese ($6.25) F/C (P-S) (HG)       (E) 78 days. A big beautiful and classic Italian heirloom, the deeply fluted, ribbed intensely-red 8 to 12 oz. fruits are mouthwatering and utterly scrumptious. This stunning tomato has a splendid, complex old-time flavor which makes it a perfect choice for sauce and fresh eating. Does will in high heat and cooler areas, too.


Thomas Jefferson grew Costoluto Genovese in his Virginia garden in 1780's along with many other heirloom varieties which became popular across the country.  Costoluto means 'ribbed'.


Druzba (DROOZH-Bah) ($6.25) 80 days.        This is a very special favorite of mine which I've grown for my personal stash for a long time. Because it's such an extraordinary variety, I have sent plants of Druzba as an alternate for Goose Creek which is not available this season. Everyone likes Druzba better.


Soon I began getting calls from customers who loved it and begged me to send them another Druzba! I think you will agree that it has a very robust, rich, concentrated tomato flavor borne in smooth, perfectly  round, deep-red, blemish-free 10 ounce fruits with good disease resistance and high production.

The name Druzba means friendship in Bulgarian only they write it this way: приятелство. Say that 5 times fast....   :)





Goldman's Italian-American ($6.95) 80 days.     Due to unprecedented customer requests, I am offering this marvelous tomato again, forever. Heirloom Guru Extraordinaire, Amy Goldman, found this delightful full-figured, big-flavored tomato at a roadside stand in Cernobbio, Italy and named it after 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 ruffled shape, it is in such high demand that seeds are almost sold out everywhere. I managed to get my hands on 250 seeds only, so please order early!

Photograph of Goldman's Italian-American is the property of Baker Creek Seeds and used here with their gracious permission.




Italian Heirloom ($6.25)       (P-S) 85 days. The name says it all. A real classic from Italy and a top seller for us. Producing loads of fat, juicy, delicious, 5 to 15 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.




Japanese Black Trifele AKA Japanese Black Truffle ($6.25)        (SM) 80 days. Japanese Black Trifele, which translates to truffle, is a medium sized, juicy 3 to 4" inch long 6 -8 ounce pear-shaped, deep purple-black tomato with pretty green shouldersIn Russia the Trifele varieties of tomatoes--of  which there are several colors--are highly prized and command high prices. Growing on a short potato-leafed plant, it's the size and shape of a Bartlett pear and among the darkest hued and finest flavored of the black tomatoes.

The skin is smooth and crack resistant and production is huge. Don't over-water and you will be rewarded with flavor that is deep, chocolaty, smoky and rich, just wonderful. Took their picture and ate 'em.





  Laurel's new favorite!

Jutland ($6.25)    (E) 72 days. (Pronounced Jut-land or Yoot-lahn) This is my new 'go to' variety for the best dang tomato for BLT's. A perfect 3 to 5 ounce, thin-skinned, plum shaped tomato, some smooth, some with a pointed tip and the most sublime flavor we've found in a tomato this season. 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 sort of wispy. This is less than half of one day's ripe harvest picked from one plant on August 12th -- my kids and grandkids took the rest of them.  "Dang it, put that back! Wait'll we take the picture!!"


Sliced into 'coins' it is my new favorite for salads, sandwiches and cooking. Trust me. Try this one.


Juicy, sweet, tangy, delicious, old-fashioned tomato flavor make Jutland a must-grow for the most dedicated and adventuresome heirloom tomato fans. The photographs show Jutland in various stages of ripening. Our seeds come from Stephanie Magdziak of Princeton, NJ.

Stephanie contacted me about this fabulous tomato, hoping to share it with other heirloom tomato gardeners. She's been growing Jutland for about 15 years since she collected a few seeds at a local tomato-tasting festival and fell in love with this sublime fruit. She tells us: "The seeds were first collected at Howell Living History Farm in New Jersey. For a couple of years, they had a small tomato festival where you could bring your best tomatoes and compete for best flavor, etc. I collected them there, after sampling a sliver. It was labeled 'Jutland tomato from Harbourton' NJ.






A Laurel's TOP PICK for 2018!


Queen of the Sea ($6.50) 80 days.


This huge, luscious ruby-red jewel comes to us from the fertile fields bordering the banks of the Adriatic Sea in the northernmost region of the Mediterranean Sea.

These big hearty tomatoes are heavy-in-the-hand and grow in clusters of 3 or 4, each weighing 10 oz. to 2 lbs. and have the depth of flavor and fragrance we hope for in our tomato gardens.

Sweet, rich and meaty with silky texture and incredible flavors, I am tasting one as I write this--right now--true story. Sweet! Wow.

This tomato is fabulous! Really heavy! Full of juice. I didn't even slice it, my 20 yr. old grandson Stevie Ray is horrified! I'm eating it like an apple, juice running down my neck and my arms. He yelled "watch out for your keyboard!"

Ive called it Queen of the Sea to honor the generations of gardeners and farmers in the countries surrounding the Adriatic Sea who have grown, and are still growing, this outstanding tomato.

Seeds of this high-producing beauty are from Meri Jelenic Bijelic of Rancho Palos Verdes, California. The tomatoes in the photograph were grown by my friend who helps me grow out new varieties, 'Tomato Foster Mom' Barbara Kraus, from the same town.

Great for for sauce, too!  Really meaty!






 San Marzano Redorta ($6.25)    80 days. The best of the Italian sauce tomatoes, this big, luscious high-producing Roma type fruit is named for Pizzo di Redorta, (Redorta Peak) one of the highest peaks in the Bergamo Alps of Lombardy, Northern Italy.

At 8 to 10 ounces-- with reports of up to 16 ounces-- and 4" to 6" long, it is a much larger tomato with much better flavor than its cousin, San Marzano. San Marzano Redorta is marvelously rich, extremely productive and good enough to eat fresh, right off the vine.

My friend, Gary Ibsen of, prefers it to any other Italian paste tomato. I agree!






Sunset's Red Horizon ($6.25) (B)     (E) 72 days. This outstanding big, red, ambrosial and glorious fruit is, along with Marianna's Peace,  Green Giant, Goose Creek,  the talk of the tomato world this season and being described as the best tasting tomato in existence. Producing like a champ in cool weather, resistant to frost, it is a splendid producer of big red oxheart shaped, 5" fruits with great old-time intense tomato flavors and a juicy silken texture. Very heavy in the hand, weighing from 10 to about 16 ounces. One of the first varieties to produce, and continue bearing fruit well into November and December in the cooler coastal regions of Washington, Oregon and California, Sunset's Red Horizon will also produce beautifully and reliably in all climates and has proven resistant to frost, blossom end rot and cracking.


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