Pink and Purple Tomatoes

 

 

 

The Biggest Tomatoes 

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 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.

 

Amish Rose ($6.75) 80 days.

 

Simple name, yes? This lovely old time 10 to 12 oz. Amish tomato that has been one of my favorites for more then 20 years. With rich, sweet, Brandywine-like flavor, strong growth reliability and classic old time nuance, it is a magical inhabitant in 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 in 2009.

 

The host spoke of how her late Mom had grown this tomato and she'd saved her Mom's Rose 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 this tomato and could find it, that I had seeds.

 

We had a very emotional conversation when we realized her Mom and I were huge fans of this extraordinary tomato and that I had seeds. It called to mind my Mama  -- who brought me my first heirloom tomato, Anna Russian, more than 30 years ago.

 

So here it is for your garden.

 

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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.

 

Its perfect heart shape in colors ranging from pink to red make it very special indeed.

 

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.

 

 

NOTE:  I want you to know that Anna Russian has droopy wispy foliage as do 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, rip 'em out..." And she did, then called me to ask for a refund.  I gave her the news; her heart broke. It was too late for her to replant but she ordered Anna Russian the following year and had a beautiful crop!

 

  

 

 

Bear Claw ($6.75) 75 days  

 

The tomatoes in the second photo weighed 2.9 lbs and 3.2 lbs. Picked and eaten September 12th. Yum.

 

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 of Amishland Seeds, "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 by: Dianna Theysse of Ingalls, Indiana. Mike Alterowitz of Montana. Photo of 2 fruits on a table is mine.

 

 

New for 2021!

 

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 for 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, Pink, Sudduth Strain ($6.75) 82 days. (B)  (HG)  Around 1980 a Mrs. Sudduth of Tennessee gave some seeds of this variety, which had been grown by her family for more than 100 years, to tomato seedsman Ben Quisenberry of Ohio.

 

This is thought to be the old-time original Brandywine tomato. Many gardeners consider this strain the best Brandywine with fruit that is superior in taste and smoothness. Its tomatoes are indeed special, 1 to 2 pound pink beefsteaks with the delectably complex, rich, sweet flavor that has made Brandywine justifiably famous.  

 

Big, beautiful, pink and luscious with classic heirloom flavor, it is the tomato to which other heirlooms are compared. "Is it as good as Brandywine?" Each fruit is a treasure.

 

Fabulous photographs of Pink Brandywine, courtesy of Dianna Theyssen, 2014.

 

 

 

                 

 Cherokee Purple ($6.75) (HG) (E) 70 days.

 

A legendary and beautiful tomato, at least 100 years old and 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. 

 

 

 

    Top Seller!

Foxy Lady ($6.75) (E) (HG)   (70 to 75 days). 

This rapturous little cherry tomato has gained a huge following among my customers.

The flavor is energizing, elaborate and dazzling with a sweet, seductive background and earthy nuance with lingering flavors. A tiny touch of tang balances its big full-bodied sweetness. I am madly in love with this tomato.

Early ripening and growing in huge abundance on big plants in clusters of 5 to 7 fruits, Foxy Lady ripens in only 70-72 days from plant out and has some of the biggest potato type leaves Iíve ever seen.

 

 

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

 

One of our top 3 sellers. The sugary nectar of this huge 5" tomato's creamy, dense, deep pink-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 up to 3 lb. deep pink-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 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. 

For those who want the best; these plants are precious and worth the cost. A Marianna's Peace plant makes a delightful and treasured gift for any tomato lover.

 

REALLY SWEET!

Momotaro  ($9.95) (H) (VE)   62 days. (HG) This very popular early-ripening hybrid variety, (and Dolly Parton's favorite tomato), is being offered due to hundreds of requests from my customers who have found Momotaro fruits at Farmer's Markets.

 

It is exceptionally sweet, juicy and just beautiful with a very long shelf life. The 6 ounce fruits are a stunning shade of pink, full flavored, luscious and bountiful on the vine, with superb disease resistance.

 

I smuggled one into an heirloom tasting party, and the folks loved it. The revelation that it was a hybrid was a splendid surprise to the gathered heirloom aficionados and motley crew of tomato gourmets and gourmands. Created quite a ruckus.

 

Named for an ancient legend of Momotaro, or Peach Boy, Momotaro was a baby boy found inside a giant peach by childless peasant farmers who had longed for a child of their own. He grew to be a famous warrior for peace. Among his many achievements: conquering, and then encouraging the ogres of Ogre Island to stop pillaging and be nice ogres. Each year the Momotaro festival in Japan celebrates the legend of this brave and wondrous child.

 

 

 

 

An Heirloom Classic

 

Mortgage Lifter aka Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter ($6.75) (BB) (HG)        80 days.          

       

 Radiator Charlie and his big tomatoes in

  a newspaper photograph from 1964.   

 

This gigantic legendary heirloom from Logan, West Virginia, developed by M.C. 'Charlie' Byles in the 1930's, is huge, sweet, juicy, delicious and prolific, with splendid old time tomato flavor. The meaty pink-red fruits weigh at least a pound, averaging 2Ĺ lbs. and reaching up to 4 lbs. A very prolific plant which continues to bear fruit in high heat and right up until frost, it also keeps very well.  

 

Marshall Cletis Byles, who much preferred to go by MC or just Charlie, owned a garage specializing in radiator repair. 

 

He developed Mortgage Lifter over a six year period by crossing German Johnson, Beefsteak and 2 other really big varieties, all chosen for their huge size and grand flavor.

 

He sold the resulting plants for a dollar each (in the 40's), and was able to pay off his $5000.00 house mortgage in only 6 years with the profit from his plant sales. "I didn't pay but six thousand dollars for my home, and paid most of it off with tomato plants", said Charlie in a tape recorded interview with his grandson which aired recently on National Public Radio.

 

Charlie's repair shop was at the bottom of a steep hill so travelers whose radiators over-heated during the climb could coast back down to Radiator Charlie's for repair. 

 

Other folks heard about these huge luscious tomatoes and came from hundreds of miles to buy the plant. As my customer John in Virginia says, "It's just not a real tomato garden without Mortgage Lifter."  Charlie Byles lived to be 97 years old. Here is a link to the story, in Radiator Charlie's own voice:

http://www.loe.org/shows/segments.htm?programID=06-P13-00027&segmentID=6

 

Our deepest thanks to Jeff McCormack, a famed seed saver, for keeping Charlie Byle's tomato seeds and so many other great heirloom varieties alive and thriving for gardeners worldwide.  Without Jeff's efforts many of these grand old family heirlooms would have been lost forever. (And thanks to Cory for his help with the information.)

 

 

 

OMAR'S LEBANESE  

Omar's Lebanese ($6.75)  (BBB)     80 days.

HUGE! Omar's Lebanese has a passionately sweet and complex flavor. 

On the platter, a heart shaped Omar's Lebanese I found in my garden September 13th, growing in a 30 gallon Smart Pot. Just over 3 lbs.

Do you see the heart within the heart? That's tomato love.

These immense fruits--deep dark pink and juicy--grow to 3-4 lbs, with excellent disease resistance. Spectacular tomato. Really easy to grow, out of this world. Takes 2 hands to pick it.

And don't try to just tug one off the vine. Use snippers. This tomato's stems are so strong you'll break the main stem and then CRASH!! -- ("Plant Down!")  I did it in 2011.

In my top 5. Omar from Lebanon brought this tomato to the US years ago. Yay Omar!

 

 

 

 

 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.

 

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