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RED TOMATOES

TOMATOES (Lycopersicon lycopersicon) Tomatoes (originally called tomatl) were a curiosity to the early Spanish settlers in Mexico who sent them back to their homeland. By the 16th century, tomatoes had traveled widely throughout Europe, to Africa and the lands of the Moors (Arabs). Their odd names give you an idea just how Europeans viewed tomatoes when they first encountered them: Wolf Apple, Pomme d'amour (apple of love), Pommo d'oro (yellow apple). They were even considered an aphrodisiac. Thomas Jefferson, my personal gardening hero, grew tomatoes first as an ornamental in 1781 and later grew them for food. Since the rise of hybrid tomatoes in the 1950's, hundreds of heirloom varieties have unfortunately been lost.
    I never fully understood why the tomatoes tasted so much better when I traveled. I can still vividly remember my first "Greek" salad served in a small taverna, in the neighborhood called Anaphiotika, which lies truly at the foot of the Parthenon in Athens. Just slices of the best tomato I had ever eaten, some Greek salty feta cheese, some sliced onion, a few olives and drizzled with olive oil. I did not realize then that I was eating my first "real" tomato, an open pollinated heirloom, not the awful cardboard hybrid ones served in America. It was heaven.
    I needn't mention that Italy has made an art form of tomatoes in their cuisine. However, my first pizza in Bologna, Italy, did throw me for a loop. There was not the red tomato sauce I was accustomed to, but garlic, olive oil and seafood, including mussels still in their shells on top. I was even at a loss as to how to eat it.
    All food in Italy is adored and prepared lovingly. It is scrumptious everywhere from the cheapest little cafe on up. I loved the little tubes of tomato paste that looked just like toothpaste. Italians buy their food fresh, it is never refrigerated in their homes. Every Italian town and city has colorful outdoor markets exploding with produce, always eaten seasonally. In Venice housewives traveled far by water to get to the little markets so they took haggling over food prices to a new level! Italians take freshness, high quality and seasonally grown food very seriously. Like many travelers to Italy, I literally ate my way through the countryside.
    When I traveled to Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, and the former French colony of Guinea in West Africa, I encountered a French/Arab influence in the cuisine. Meals began with fresh sliced tomatoes and other vegetables spread out on plates, never in bowls like we eat salads, prior to the entree. Familiar French cooking was improved upon with African spices and unusual produce and grains.
    Tomatoes originated botanically, it is believed, in the mountains of Mexico. They are so indigenous, that I sampled tomatoes in more meals than you can ever imagine, in each country I visited in South America. Peru really had the most varied cuisine but I also ate tomatoes in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Mexico. The only place I didn't get to eat them was in Tierra Del Fuego, which barely supports any life much less gardening, since its only 800 miles from Antarctica.
    I hope you will enjoy the many rare heirloom, unusual and classic tomato varieties I have to offer on this and my other tomato pages which are listed by color. Be sure to have a look at the Belarusian/Ukrainian/Russian Tomato page as well for more Red selections.


 

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click to see fullsized photoNEW FOR 2014! ~ NEPAL TOMATO~ Likes The Cold!~ Back in the spring of 1970 when I was in northern India in Calcutta, a city meant to visited so you will never complain about anything every again in your life, it is that full of heart wrenching sadness. So I needed to escape to see beauty once again. I got the poetic notion to go see the sun rise over Mount Everest on Easter morning. That is easier said than done but I took the long train ride to Katmandu in Nepal. At that time Katmandu was the "THE" destination for all younger travellers like myself. But I had a mission, I needed to get to the higher Himalayas for my vision quest. I went as far as the buses would go and then trekked further until I saw a Tibetan Buddhist temple in the distance. I headed there not understanding that women are not allowed, but I quickly stuffed my long hair in a cap, and dressed in hiking boots, down parka and jeans I easily passed for a young man. It was a Buddhist religious holiday and there were colorful ceremonial dances and much mystic music. The monks blow on huge long horns, chant and play monster drums. I have never before or since heard anything like it. It sounded like both the end and the beginning of the world. I was able to camp there a few days and did indeed see the sun rise over Mount Everest. But, I must tell you, in these expansive high Himalayan ranges, it is only a tiny "blip" higher than the rest of the fearsome, towering mountains. When I was living in Kashmir I could see K-2, the worlds second highest mountain every single clear day, and again, it was just a tiny bump higher than the rest of range.

Nepal Tomato is purported to hail from the Himalayas, so you can certainly understand I just had to grow it. I was not disappointed. It had a wonderful rich, old fashioned flavor with that perfect acid - sugar balance. Weighing mostly 1/2 pound to 10 ounces, these are medium-large, bright crimson fruits. They have that elusive high-quality, intense tomato flavor that we all remember and want. As an added bonus these are very cold tolerant and were still happy in late October in my gardens. It is said that they are good "keepers" and can be wrapped in paper to ripen later on in the winter indoors, although I did not try this. Try Nepal and enjoy tomatoes way later than you are used to.

10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photoNEW FOR 2014! ~ EUGENE DOOCHOV TOMATO ~ ONLY USA SOURCE! In 2012 I received the most fabulous surprise. In a large padded envelope was a gift of many seeds from Ruslan Doochov (as he spelled it in his letter -evidently it is also spelled Dukhov when translated). He enclosed a rather badly Google translated letter with his all his breeding history and credentials and a personal note to ask me to grow them.I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Also in the package were his own photos of the tomatoes he enclosed.
    This tomato is from seeds in that package that I did not have time to grow in 2012, so I grew these out this 2013 season.
    This was a most unusual oxheart type. It is shaped just like a top but also had ridges which I have never seen on any heart shaped tomatoes. Just the prettiest, strangely colored reddish fruit. It was fairly early, and quite meaty with few seeds, as is common with oxheart types. Juicy and solid with a nice balance of sweet and tart for an old fashioned taste. Like many of the Ukrainian tomatoes, they were borne on rather short, spindly vines that were barely able to hold up the heavy fruit. The Eugene Tomato weighed in about 1/2 pound to 3/4 of a pound. To the best of my knowledge I am the only commerical source in the USA.

10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo NEW FOR 2014! ~CHINESE VELVET (RUSSIAN) TOMATO~ (Kitaiskiy Oksamitoviy in Russian) ~ ONLY SOURCE! This is a real "show off" tomato. If you want to entrance children or have bragging rights in the tomato patch, this is the tomato for you. The plants have fuzzy foliage and leaves and are covered in silvery "hairs," not unlike those fluffy, dear to everyone's heart, "lambs ears" (Stachys byzantina). However, the click to see fullsized photored fruits were covered in, get this, not silver fuzz but GOLDEN FUZZ! This is even though the vine had silver hairs covering the entire plant. Sorry, I could not get this golden color to show up in the photos no matter how many pictures I took. But, believe me when I say they really are golden. Like many of my rare and exclusive Russian and Ukrainian tomato varieties, I got my original seed to this from my great Ukrainian gardener friend, Lydmilla.The fruits were golfball sized for the most part and good keepers. They did not crack, catface or get spots. They just shimmered so prettily on their equally lovely and showy silver vines. To the best of my knowledge I am the only commercial source of this rare tomato in the USA.

10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo NEW FOR 2014! ~ PRUE TOMATO ~ VERY RARE!~ VERY LIMITED SUPPLIES ~ ORDER EARLY !~ If you are from New York when you love something you say "dis is da bomb!." That's what you will say after one bite of these "bomb shaped" beauties. A sweet, intense flavor highly lauded by those who taste it and I mean everyone. If you've never tasted a Prue tomato, it can be surprising, almost jarring, but in a good way. There is no other word to say it but intense flavor, an overwhelming-ness that is so hard to pinpoint or describe.

This tomato is a family heirloom from Tom Gallucci of Connecticut. The seeds came from Tom’s ex-wife’s grandfather, Mr. Prue. Mr Prue was from Massachusetts and grew these wonderfully strange tomatoes in the 1930’s and 40’s. The wispy vines have sparse foliage with a peculiar, droopy, "wilty-looking" appearance which makes you think it is not a happy plant. But that genetically is what it does with no detriment to the fruit. Prue sends out fruit in all different sizes, starting out pretty small at first and then gaining momentum in mid season and then once again getting smaller in late season. Most of the fruits were in the 4 to 12 ounce range. And just when you thought they couldn't get any weirder, they also have a bump or "nipple" at the blossom end of the fruit. This isn't just one of those tomatoes you want to show off for its strangeness. Oh no, it's the exquisite taste that will entice you will grow this tomato, trust me.)
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo NEW FOR 2014! ~NORWOOD'S LOUISIANA RED TOMATO~ Family Heirloom ~ Only Source! I've often referred on my website to my "southern seed saving friend." He was Norwood Meiners. He passed away 2 years ago and the world lost one of its most talented and eccentric fellows. Norwood was born and bred in rural Louisiana but went on to get a University education. But his love of all things historic was what made him so fascinating. He could shoot a deer with a homemade bow (or a black powder antique long rifle). He'd then skin and gut it and proceed to tan the hide the old fashioned way using the deer brains. He then sewed the most exquisite and authentic buckskin outfits, and hand painted and beaded them, too. For example, his amazing collection of antique trade beads was one of the best in the country. There was pretty much nothing he hadn't mastered from the outdoor life of the late 1700's to the mid 1800's. He demonstrated all these skills at many a rendevous, the term used for historic encampments usually of the period of the War of 1812. He was as modest as he was talented. And only those who knew him from this lifestyle had any idea this quiet, mild mannered southern gentleman had this side.

I met him through my seeds and over the years he graciously shared many rare and impossible-to-find seeds, mostly tomatoes. His personal tomato seed collection consisted of more than 350 kinds. Norwood also was a great naturalist and traveller. Even later on when he was legally blind and in failing health he was still travelling. His last big adventure was to the rain forests of Costa Rica. And that man could charm anyone, anywhere and brought me back rare seeds and such grand stories (like how he smuggled seeds inside his RX bottles rattling around with his pills. He swore that customs never searched a blind man!)

I remember that he used to hang out with Aaron Neville of the Neville Brothers, a Louisiana legend and my absolutely favorite male singer. But Norwood didn't know anything like that, and had never even heard of his music. But he sure liked it when Aaron would pick him up and they'd cruise in his gold cadillac convertible and hang out with his friends. They would head on over to what Norwood referred to as "the House of Gout," an all-you-can-eat seafood place. By this time, he was blind. One time Aaron introduced him to a man in the back seat as Fats Domino, and Norwood was sure his leg was being pulled. He asked the man to sing his famous "Blueberry Hill". When he belted it out then Norwood was a believer!

This was his family's heirloom tomato from his Grandfather. Medium to large sized, deep red and full of old fashioned tomato flavor, "Louisiana Red" won't disappoint. If you live in the hot, humid south this one should really produce for you. But even here in Amishland it was a happy camper. Be sure to try this great old time tomato. As Norwood would say:  "Laissez les bons temps rouler!" (let the good times roll!)
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo GOLDMANS' ITALIAN-AMERICAN TOMATO~ Maybe the Best Paste Tomato of All! I have heard wondrous stories about this heirloom tomato and finally grew it out this season. Mama Mia! What a stupendous cooking tomato!! This heirloom comes from Dr. Amy Goldman, author of the best tomato book in the world "The Heirloom Tomato" which I make reference to all over my website. She describes it on page 130 of  her book, as "voluptuous, red-ribbed, and very heavy in the hips." The original tomato was discovered by her at a roadside grocery near Villa d'Este in Cernobbio, Italy in 1999. Dr. Goldman named it after her father's Brooklyn grocery store. She refers to it in Italian as  "Poma amoris fructu rubro" which I loosely translate as "red love apple fruit." There just doesn't seem to enough superlatives to use for this monster pear shaped beauty. It is way beyond richly flavored and cooks down to make the thickest sauces ever. Juicy and meaty and unlike those puny other tomatoes usually used for tomato sauce, these fruits are huge and heavy.
    My friend, "Tomato Queen" Laurel says on her tomato plant website www.heirloomtomatoplants.com ".. it makes silky sauce, creamy paste and adds magic to soups and stews." Check out her site. She uses many of my rare seeds to grow out her plants.
    Weighing in at nearly a pound each you won't need many for your cooking needs. But guess what? This is one prolific plant-just a pasta tomato machine! It kept on pumping out these sultry curvatious beauties all season long. It was one of my earliest plants and one of the last to stop. I had fruit up until late September in my Amishland garden
    Not to brag (but, ok, I will) I made sublime "Nevada Style Chile" using these Goldman's Italian-American Tomatoes in my own baked tomato sauce recipe as the base (see recipe section on my website). So if you are the kind of gardener who makes all their own tomato or spaghetti sauce this tomato is for you! But it is still a great eating out of hand tomato as well, you don't have to cook it to enjoy it. I have vowed never to have a garden without "Goldman's Italian-American Tomato" ever again! So, serve your fantastically rich tomato sauce and toast your friends and family "Cent'anni" (A hundred years of good health).
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo NICHOLAS DOOCHOV TOMATO~ Unique BEEFSTEAK sized tomato From the Ukraine~ Last march I received the most fabulous surprise.In a large padded envelope was a gift of many seeds from Ukrainian tomato breeder, Ruslan Doochov (as he spelled it in his letter -evidently it is also spelled Dukhov when translated). He enclosed a rather badly Google translated letter with his all his breeding history and credentials and a personal note to ask me to grow them. He said on his homemade packet: "Nicholas Doochov, is named in honor of my father who taught me to grow tomatoes."
   I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Also in the package were his own photos of the tomatoes he enclosed.
   I immediately started these precious gift seeds even though it was late march, way late in the season to start tomatoes in Pennsylvania. I certainly shouldn't have worried, as like most of the tomatoes from the Ukrainian area, they are super fast growers and can take many hardships. This and his other tomatoes positively jumpstarted and was able to catch up to the plants started 6-8 weeks earlier! I never saw such speedy growth.For such a large fruited tomato it caught up to the other beefsteak types I was growing despite the lag time. 
   The fruits were all around half a pound. No cracks, no catfacing, just nice deep red, round fruits. Ok, you know it is another great example of Ruslan Doochov's breeding work, and his own tribute to his father, but how about taste? That's  always the clincher.Classic old fashioned flavor like you remember when you were young before all those awful hybrids took over the tomato seed trade. Just the right balance of yum!
   To the best of my knowledge, I am the only commmercial source of these rare tomatoes in the United States. Be sure to look for the rest of  Doochov's tomatoes: Vernissage Green, Yellow, Black and Pink, and PEPPER TOMATO DOOCHOVA each listed on the pages on my website for those colors of tomatoes as well as here on the "Belarusian/Russian/Ukrainian tomato page."
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo SYLVIA'S AMISH LOW ACID RED TOMATO~ Lancaster County Genuine Amish Heirloom Tomato- Here is another winner I got from a young Amish woman, Lillian, who runs her own little greenhouse in the poetic sounding Amish Community of Bird In Hand. I got the great "Grandma's Low Acid Pink Tomato" from her also a few years back . This is a red, medium sized fruit which is just ever so sweet. It lacks that acidity that many people don't care for or can't eat, making for a winning,easy to digest tomato. Nothing that spectacular in looks but it really was prolific. Just bunches of these shiny red orbs grew on healthy vines, maybe 4-1/2 feet high. Lillian told me she only knew that the tomato originally came from another Amish woman named Sylvia. The Amish do a lot of seed trading amongst themselves. You will love the smooth low acid taste. Perfect for salads, fresh eating (right in the garden!) and cooking. I never got any cracking or catfacing on these. They were fairly early in the season, maybe the third tomato to ripen in this summer's garden. The horrible record breaking heat and drought of 2012 didn't phase Sylvia's Low Acid at all. So grow your own genuine Lancaster County Amish heirloom tomato. Try it in a taste test with Lillian's "Grandma's Low Acid" and see which you like best. I rate them both equally wonderful.
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo SLAVIC MASTERPIECE TOMATO- Translated from the Russian -Slavyanskiy Shedevr- Scarce Red Russian Tomato- Only one of two USA commercial seed sources.  I got my original seeds for this rare Russian tomato from my dearly departed friend Norwood M. whom I have previously referred to on this website as "my southern seed collector friend". Norwood was one of the most passionate gardeners and seed savers it has been my privilege to know. He had saved seeds of over 350 kinds of tomatoes! And that is just the tomatoes. He had seeds of just about every edible plant. He was friends with and traded seeds with some of the most famous names in tomatoes including the legendary Ben Quissenberry. He was always on the lookout for seeds for my little company, especially Amish, Mennonite and Pennsylvania German varieties. The seed of the legendary "Purple Dog Creek Tomato" came from him. Since he lived in zone 9 he usually didn't try to grow any Russian sorts.
       Upon his passing about 2 years ago, his sister sent along a few of his precious seeds to me and his young seed protege, Alex. "Slavic Masterpiece" was definitely one of the winners. Unfortunately, most of his seed collection was lost. That is a just a huge tragic loss to posterity and the seed saving community. I feel fortunate to be continuing some of his seeds.
       I was able to trace this rare variety as being sent to America about 10+ years ago by Andrey Baranovski of Minsk, Belarus. Andrey has in the past provided me with seeds to many great tomatoes like the wonderful "Tsygan." But "Slavic masterpiece" came to me via Norwood's collection. The sturdy plants grew about 5 feet tall and were covered with fruits. Strangely, the fruits varied quite a bit in size even on one plant! Nice 4-6 oz. (ounce) fruits were a good bright red color. The taste was evenly balanced between sweet and tart and juicy. Very vigorous growers- they just kept pumping out tomatoes all season long. This was one of the last to die in the hard frost in October. Just a good workhorse tomato suitable for just about anyone's garden. Easy to grow and lots of great salad and fresh out of hand chomping. To the best of my knowledge I am only one of 2 USA commercial seed sources of this great medium sized red tomato. It seems I am destined to be a "museum curator" of tomatoes this season as I am also offering the art exhibition Vernissage collection of tomatoes on this page as well.
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo BOX CAR WILLIE TOMATO~ This red tomato was thought to have been named after the singer Boxcar Willie of the Grand Ole Opry, who's real name was Lecil Travis Martin. But another source says these were a popular tomato during The Great Depression. He claims they were named after the many hobo rail riders of the day, not a specific person (and not the singer of later years). When I was a kid in the 50s, I found a hobo camp by the rails near my home and was just fascinated with these train travellers. I hung out with them as much as I dared (my mom would have tanned my hide if she ever found out). I filched food for them and came every day and listened to all their tall tales. Gone are those days!
     All I know for sure is that my fellow gardeners have complained that I don't sell many red tomatoes, so here is a very good, special one that I grew for you. With just enough of that old time acidic (tart) flavor you remember from your grandma's garden, this is the just the best of the old time reds. Produces a huge and prolific crop over a very long season. Very juicy and sweet and has good disease resistance as well. Box car willie is what they used to call a "main crop" type of tomato because it could always be relied upon to produce, no matter what. Fruits are 10 oz to 1 pound, kinda orangeish red, and multi use. You may can them, cook with them, or use them for fresh eating. (Remember the tomato sandwich of your childhood? Just plain ole' white bread, probably Wonder bread, altho my mom swore by Pepperidge Farm white, lots of Hellman's mayo and thick slices of red 'maters with maybe a touch of salt- that's it.) So, get your Box Car WillieTomato seeds and soon you'll be singing too!
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo TOGO KARA AFRICAN TOMATO~ Exclusive !~Rare~ A. R. of South Africa wrote to me that he was sending me seeds for several African Tomatoes as part of a seed trade. He wanted some of my rare eggplants. Here is what he wrote me when I asked for more information on those tomatoes:
     "I am afraid I have very little info on tomatoes. I collected them from tomatoes bought along the road apart from the Kara, Togo, one which was from a lady at the market who sold some seeds as well as fresh veg. My friend Noeksie is visiting the highest point in each African country and we spent an amazing 3 months in West Africa last year going from mountain to mountain. The seeds come from the most interesting & tasty tomatoes bought for lunch along the way. Going on past experience of seeds collected this way, plants will be very variable; seeds collected from delicious medium tomatoes in Malawi grew out as prolific cherry toms. Along all the fields there grew little ocal tomatoes, so I guess they crossed! Hope they grow wonderfully for you over there., I remember reading somewhere that you enjoyed African tomatoes.
Tjeers (note: his spelling of "cheers"), Al"
    He originally sent me several different kinds (from Liberia, Cameroon, Mauretania, Ghana and Togo) but only about 5 or 6 seeds of each, and unfortunately the germination was poor and I was only able to get fruit from 2 varieties. This was especially excting because despite all my travels to over 8 countries in Africa, I had not yet visited any of these countries. What a wonderful adventure he must have had!
    This, the "Togo Kara," did exhibit the variations he mentioned. I got some with round fruits and some with more egg-shaped fruits. The photo pictured here is of the later, more egg shaped ones. I guess I didn't get a pic of the round ones after all, they came in earlier. At any rate, any African tomato is rare here in the USA and now you will have a chance to grow some yourself. Flavor was very strong and juicy. These had thick skins and held up well. If you are as curious as I am, please click on this helpful wikipedia link for more information about Togo. Please be sure to see my other rare, exclusive African tomato, "Ghana Laiti Wote" on the Pink Tomato page.
5 of my own fresh organically grown seeds


click to see fullsized photo THESSALONIKI GREEK TOMATO~ YASSOU! Ok, Ok, I am finally convinced that there is a good tasting red tomato after all! As you know, I am very inclined towards the big pinks and striped tomatoes, but this year I finally grew out "Thessaloniki". I actually chose it as a gift (ok, some fruits that is) for my Greek-American friend, Stella. I never expected it to be this great, prolific, disease resistant and super tasting. I adore Greece and have visited several times. It was one of the few places that Daddy also visited (on his own, not with me) and we had an ongoing contest on who knew more Greek ancient history and who visited more temples, etc. He won, by the way, but then again, he was on a special tour for that reason alone. He also won for Turkey and Egypt, but he had way deeper pockets! So, I have a special place in my heart for Greece.
    Thessaloniki is the second-largest city in Greece and the capital of the Greek region of Macedonia. It was once the capital of the Byzantine Empire. "Thessaloniki Tomato" was developed in 1957 by the Ministry of Agriculture Experimental Farm in Greece and released later in the 1950’s by Glecklers Seedsmen of Ohio. This Greek tomato has a wonderfully earthy, salty taste. I bet this is the kind of tomato I first tasted in Athens when I discovered tomatoes that tasted sublime and not like the American supermarket, tasteless ones. That was a revelation to me and changed my life forever. The mild, sweet flesh turns from sunset hues to a deep red. Fruits are 6 to 10 oz (ounces) and just perfect. And did I mention juicy? Yes, all that and more. So, raise up your cup of wine (or ouzo) and toast YASSOU! to the "Thessaloniki" Tomato.
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo *BACK FOR 2014* ~ST. PIERRE HEIRLOOM FRENCH TOMATO~ Very Early and Prolific! ~ My late Aunt Mignon (mignon means darling) lived in France for years. She spoke flawless French and taught me to speak French starting at age 4-1/2. She was an accomplished cook and probably one of the first Americans to buy and easily use Julia Child's classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (if you want to know even more about the irrepressible Julia Child, I highly suggest you read her delightful memoir, My Life in France.) My Aunt Mignon used to take me into her custom kitchen and teach me the "tricks" like how to make a perfect omelet. Like Julia Child she was over 6 feet tall, so her counter tops, cabinets and range were built much higher. She would have loved this 8 to 10 oz (ounce) red French beauty. In fact, I am quite sure she had eaten and cooked with it as this is considered the quintessential, traditional tomato at French markets. So I had to grow it, too. St. Pierre was the second earliest of my tomatoes this season (this photo was of later larger fruit, taken on August 2) and it just kept on pumping out deep red, perfect, tender and juicy fruits all the way through late October. All I can say is "Vive la France" for producing such a great tomato. 10 of my own fresh organically raised seeds.


click to see fullsized photoPLATE DE HAITI TOMATO aka HISPANIOLA TOMATO - (Lycopersicon esculentum) SUPER RARE- Only 1 of 2 USA Seed Sources- This is a super rare tomato that dates back to the 1500's. I found only a little history on this tomato. Evidently it has been raised in Haiti since the Conquistadores brought it from South America. When the Creole people of the French colonies fled the slave uprisings is when it travelled to North America. This little cherry sized tomato has a flavor that is distinctly complex, subtle but still freshly fruity. Truly sublime for such a small little morsel. Growing on long 6-8 foot vines it keeps producing scads of 2-1/2 inch fruits all season long. It is still full of ripe fruit now, as I write this on October 14. The meaty interior of the fruits are quite juicy. The color is a rich vermillion red and just glows on the vines in clusters of 6 to 8 little orbs. Be the first where you live to grow the rich, rare Plate de Haiti. You won't be disappointed. My friend who is a market gardener loved these and plans on selling them at his stands. To the best of my knowledge, I am only one of 2 commercial seeds sources of this fabulous, ancient heirloom. 10 of my own fresh organically raised seeds.


click to see fullsized photo AMISH PASTE TOMATO - Genuine PA Amish Heirloom~ This is an heirloom tomato discovered in an Amish community in Wisconsin but originally from the Pennsylvania Amish. This is the one that wins nearly every taste test! Prized for its meatiness and coreless interior. It is sweet and juicy and everything nice. Great tomato flavor and can be used as a sauce tomato (or pasta tomato as my friend Tim calls them) but also just super eaten in hand. Amish Paste is a real all purpose tomato and possesses that perfect duality of sweet and acid. Many seed savers regard this one as the ultimate paste tomato of all. Weighing in at 8-10 ounces. Just world class flavor that was once hidden away in a small Amish community. 10 of my own fresh organically raised seeds.


click to see fullsized photo CUOR DI BUE TOMATO Hard To Find-Scarce in the USA- The name translates from Italian as Beef heart or Oxheart. This is a somewhat rare heirloom from Italy. But it is really not a typical oxheart shape. It looks to me more like a red bag of money tied up at the top. The Cuor di Bue is certainly an unusually shaped tomato and consistently prolific as well. It was my earliest tomato to ripen and it kept on going until the very end of summer. The fruits weighed about 12 ounces. It seemed to really like the early cooler weather best and I am willing to bet it will be a good choice for northern and cooler climates. But even here in my Pennsylvania Zone 6A garden, in the hottest summer in many a year, it did very well. It is so meaty and super sweet and very rich tasting. It made an excellent slicer. But also a good sauce type. I used it with huge success in my famous baked tomato sauce (see my recipe section) as well. Just a great new discovery for me. And it sure beat out most others in my yearly tomato taste tests. I am sure you will be oh so pleased with it as well. Give this bighearted tomato a try! 10 of my own fresh organically raised seeds.


click to see fullsized photo RIESENTRAUBE TOMATO - (sometimes spelled "Reisenstraube”) Heirloom Grape Tomato - I have always loved this great (formerly East) German heirloom tomato and hadn't grown it out in a few years, so I tried it again this season. How could I have forgotten how fantastic this little baby is? Riesentraube is documented to have been offered for sale in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the mid 19th century. William Woys Weaver, the foodways expert and author says it also may have been grown by the Pennsylvania Dutch (Pennsylvania Germans) as early as 1855. The evocative German name "Riesentraube" translates literally as "giant grape", but what is surely meant is "Giant Bunch of Grapes". That is truly what these trellised fruits really look like. Riesentraube has the unique feature of the huge quantity of flowers produced per cluster (up to 350 flowers!). So it is truly decorative even earlier in the season. These crimson, cherry-sized tomatoes weigh approximately 3/4 oz. and are about 1-1/2 by 1-1/4 inches in size. You may get as many 50 or more little fruits per spray! Absolutely no other tomato fruit in the world looks like this one. They have a very strange, for lack of a better word, “nipple" shape on the end. Nice full, somewhat lemony flavor, more like a larger beefsteak taste. It doesn't get any better for snacking or salads. Prolific doesn't even begin to describe how many fruit you get per vine. You will need only one plant! An excellent choice for market gardeners as well, for the grape tomato market, much more flavorful than what is usually offered, and travels well.
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo VARIEGATED TOMATO aka SPLASH OF CREAM aka IRISH CREME AND GREEN ~ white and green striped leaves! - This is an outstanding show-off tomato! Imagine- leaves in green with lots of swirls of white. This is the only growing true from seed tomato with variegated leaves. It hails from Ireland, hence the Irish Creme name. I guarantee it will be the talk of the town wherever you grow it. One visitor likened it to looking at a Christmas tree with snow and ornaments. The golf ball sized red fruit are very like pretty round ornaments set off by the breathtaking stripey foliage. You will be astonished by the plant even before it bears fruit. For once waiting for the fruit to come isn't so hard to bear. I was amazed at how prolific the fruit was as well. I had planted it in the corner climbing up the fence and it was pretty enough to be in a flower garden, I swear. The cooler the weather (think Ireland) the more variegation shows up on the leaves. Since this was an unseasonably cool summer here it did show off its unusual beauty extremely well. It even shows the white on the leaves in tiny seedlings right off the bat. My tomato buddy N.M., (whom I got my original seeds from), had some real silly fun with his plants. He brought the branches into his local agricultural extension office and demanded to know what was going on. They were totally stumped, needless to say. So, have some fun, and some bragging rights and grow this Irish beauty for yourself. You won't be disappointed.
10 of my own fresh organically raised seeds.


click to see fullsized photo AMISH CANNER TOMATO - Here is another great tomato I got in a tomato trade with N.M. my southern tomato collector friend. When I told him I was especially interested in genuine Amish and Mennonite heirlooms, he came up with the original seeds of this super tomato. When we say canner, the operative word here is slightly acidic (or "tart”) for best canning quality. Also, you need prolific harvests of perfect tomatoes all the same size. Well, this one has it all. A good old fashioned "tomatoey" taste, great attributes for canning and preserving as well as all purpose fruit. You can happily eat this one out of hand, cook with it, and use it in salads as well as for canning of course. Perfect orbs of red fruit, no cracking and great disease resistance as well. I can't recommend a better processing fruit than “Amish Canner".
10 of my own organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo TESS'S LAND RACE CURRANT TOMATO- Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium - If Fairies grew tomatoes (and who is to say they don't?) this would be what they would look like. They were strangely appealing to wildlife I noticed, or were those tiny bites I saw from the Fairies after all? Teeny, tiny wee little fruits grow on many, many clusters or sprays on long vines that tumble all over your fence (the best way to grow them). Plus you get several pretty colors: mostly dark crimson red, some pink and some golden. The Currants are a different kind of tomato, and usually tend to fall off the vine, but not these babies. They stayed tightly on and were perfect for cutting in little bouquets of fruit to use as garnishes or to give to your children for the perfect healthy snack. Market gardeners and chefs will appreciate this cut spray quality too. Brett Grohsgal of Evenstar Organic Farm on Maryland's southern shore did the breeding work. Deep, intense flavor is the bonus for all this superbly attractive cuteness.
10 of my own organically grown seeds.


click to see fullsized photo *BACK FOR 2014* "CHALK'S EARLY JEWEL" RED TOMATO- 60 days in Zone 6A- This was a super very early tomato that grows 3 to 5 fruits to a cluster or spray. Short stature makes this one good for small gardens. It was the earliest to ripen in my garden this season even overtaking the proverbially early Russian sorts. It also kept up all season long producing its perfect deep, red crimson, 3 to 4 inch round fruits. Also, one of the last of my tomatoes to keep producing this cold dry summer here in Amishland. James Chalk of Norristown, Pennsylvania developed this tomato in 1899 as a cross between "Hubbard's Curled Leaf" and 'Perfection". It was commercially introduced in 1904 by the Stokes Company. When ripe it has a tender buttery texture, just bring your salt shaker to your garden! A hint of spiciness with some acidity gives it its remarkable flavor. William Woys Weaver, famous foodways author, likes this tomato with steamed crab. This is one of the few great tomatoes listed in the "Slow Food USA Ark of Taste." To my knowledge, I am one of the only commercial sources of this tomato in the USA.
10 fresh organically grown seeds per pack.


click to see fullsized photo RED POTATO LEAF TOMATO I don't have much information about this tomato since it was not as labeled. This was supposed to be the “Amish Canner” and was in those seeds. (I am also listing, new for 2009, the true variety of “Amish Canner”). This often happens with seed trades, some of the seeds in the pack show up as a different variety altogether. But this was just so wonderful and prolific (did I say prolific? It was just outstanding, and I only had 2 plants!) I just had to share it with you. Perfect 8-12 ounce (oz) globes of rich crimson with not a mark on them. We had a severe drought here in Amishland and very cool weather to boot. So when a tomato beats the odds and still is beautiful and pumps out all summer long up to frost, I say bravo, bring it on! This one has that old time flavor I remember from the tomatoes in Mr. Gunther's garden. Mr. Gunther, wherever you are, I want to belatedly, truly apologize! My mother was raised in the tropics and had never seen a groundhog (or grundsau as they say in PA Dutch.) She was a sucker for all baby animals, so when I brought home a cute, tiny baby groundhog of course she let me keep him. She didn't know what it was. My father didn't want to break my heart. So the little guy got bigger and thrived. When a neighbor informed us it was “a varmint- we shoot those" she broke into tears. When little Gunther (named after our gardening neighbor) got too big to keep indoors, we did a midnight foray into Mr. Gunther's garden and let him loose amongst the cabbages. We knew Mr. Gunther never used a gun, so we assumed he'd be fine. And that was only one of my many unusual pets. More tales later.... Anyway, this is what I call a typical old fashioned tomato, big round, red, sweet-tart. It did have potato leaf foliage but that is the only identifying factor. Try this good ole boy, you won't regret it
10 fresh organically grown seeds per pack.


click to see fullsized photo BLOODY BUTCHER HEIRLOOM HERITAGE TOMATO - Ready to eat in only 55 days! I just love the name! I figure this must have been a popular old time name for red veggies. This is a fabulous multi-purpose tomato. It is very early, fully a month earlier than anything else I grew this year except for my super early Ukrainian tomatoes. (see my "Ukrainian and Russian Tomatoes Page"). These are very prolific and high-yielding. They have a good strong tomato flavor. The fruits are set in clusters of round, 4 oz. fruits that are a deep, dark red inside and out. These are fast growing, large potato-leafed plants that need staking. I had more tomatoes than I could possibly eat and I was bringing baskets of them to work. The plants kept on pumping out these small red jewels all season. I have been told these are an heirloom tomato but have found conflicting reports of their history, so rather than give out false information, I will just leave it at that- it is an heirloom, heritage tomato, possibly from England.
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds


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click to see fullsized photo *BACK AGAIN FOR 2014 *MARTIN'S AMISH/ MENNONITE TOMATO ~ LOCAL PENNSYLVANIA HEIRLOOM- ONLY SOURCE ! ~ I got this heirloom Pennsylvania German (PA Dutch) tomato from an Old Order Mennonite neighbor, Mr. Martin about 12 years ago, near Reamstown PA. He said he got it from his Amish neighbors, so who knows if it is really Amish or Mennonite (a religious sect similar to the Amish. The Old Order Mennonites also use horse and buggies and farm with horses, and are very conservative as well).I grow this every year, it is one of my " staple" tomatoes. Smallish vines are about 5 feet tall, which are kind of bushy. They throw out tons of perfect red, egg shaped meaty fruit, suitable for use as a paste type for cooking but with a great sweetness that is super just out of hand or in salads and salsas. Every single fruit is perfect and it is very resistant to disease and bugs. You can't get an easier to grow tomato or one that is more useful in so many different ways. To the best of my knowledge I am the only one selling this special local variety of tomato.
10 of my own fresh organically grown seeds.

click to see fullsized photo MATT'S WILD CHERRY TOMATO If you have a "black thumb" or have never gardened before, this is the tomato for you to try. This will grow anywhere there is sun. It is called Matt's Wild Cherry because Teresa Arellanos de Mena, a friend of U.of Maine ag faculty members, Drs. Laura Merrick and Matt Liebman, brought seeds to Maine from her family's home state of Hidalgo in Eastern Mexico. it's the region of domestication of tomatoes. The original seeds were picked from plants growing wild. Therefore, this is a species wild tomato, which means it is like a parent of all the small tomatoes you ever saw. Very sweet, tiny cherries, huge yields, superb flavor, my absolute favorite small tomato. It has long, long vines, that do best when planted by a fence to ramble on. These babies have such a huge burst of luscious flavor when you bite into them. Absolutely everyone says "WOW" at the first taste, and they never stop at just one taste! You will get a huge amount of these delectable tiny fruits. And they keep on pumping them out all season until hard frost in my Zone 6A garden. These are so sweet (a high sugar content, 11 Brix on the sweetness scale) and flavorful that my neighborhood children "snitch" them off the vines. Not to worry, there will be more fruits than you could ever eat. Each tomato is about the size of a small marble. Unlike the other "currant" tomato types, these stay nicely on the vine until you are ready for them. I consider these a must have tomato. If you plant only one small fruited cherry type tomato this year, this is it. So prolific that they will self seed! I had self-seeded "volunteers" coming up in the early spring way before any other tomato could take the cold. You only need to plant this baby once, and it will happily come up year after year. 10 of my own fresh organically raised seeds.


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