Part of The Zebra Collection
Yellow Zebra, Green Zebra, Black Zebra, Valhalla, Blood Gulch and more Yellow Zebras.
Photograph courtesy of Krystal Elser.
Ananas Noir (Ah nah nahs Nwar) AKA Black Pineapple ($5.95) 82 days. This plant produces abundant clusters of 1 lb. round, dark-
purple tomatoes with green shoulders. Another highly regarded black tomato with deep, rich tomato flavors inside where you will find a rainbow of color: red, yellow green, pink, a ravishing display that tastes as awesome as it looks. The colors inside bleed into each other in a stunning pattern. Fabulous texture, taste and production will make this tomato an edible conversation piece and garden-to-table mainstay.
ou will see this variety spelled 'Ananas Noire' but teamed with the masculine French word for pineapple (ananas), noir (black), should also be in the masculine form without an 'e'.)
Sliced Ananas Noir photograph
courtesy of Jeffrey Smith.
Berkeley Tie Dye ($6.95) 80 days. This rare and wild exotic fruit with big bold luscious flavors looks just like its name implies -- with spectacular streaks and swirls of green and yellow and red and orange and green dappling inside and out. From 8 to 12 ounces, Berkeley Tie Dye is another fabulous variety from tomato breeder Brad Gates of Wild Boar Farms here in California.
A portion of the proceeds of Berkeley Tie Dye will be donated to TACA, Talk About Curing Autism in the names of two very winsome young fellows, Caleb & Ethan.
Black Zebra ($5.95) 80 days. This stunning, perfectly round 1½" to 2" fruits with tender, deep dark red to caramel colored skin beneath vertical dark green and mahogany streaks is the favorite tomato of Amazing Terry.
Black Zebra has opulent, rich flavor with hints of smoke and sweetness, a big favorite around here which somehow disappear mysteriously from the plants as soon as they ripen.
Blood Gulch ($6.95)
85 to 90 days.
Wow! This tomato is my new favorite. Cut into this magnificent fruit to reveal the deepest, darkest, blood-red flesh I've ever seen in a tomato. Decadent and delicious!A deep reddish-purple with luminescent green streaking, this 2 to 3 ounce fruit is an offspring of a pure platinum-silver tomato with darker silver stripes. This beautifully bizarre and stunning tomato is descended from that silver tomato discovered by Krystal Elser in a patch of Black Zebras. Krystal saved 8 seeds, 2 germinated. Grown out and stabilized, two delightful varieties resulted from that silver pearlescent fruit. Blood Gulch and Valhalla , also available this season. This is how a lot of the heirlooms came about. Mother Nature at her best! Blood Gulch was named after The Blood Gulch Chronicles as Krystal is a Halo fan.
A Laurel's exclusive.
This photograph of Blood Gulch is the property of Krystal Elser or Elser's Country Farms and used here with her very kind permission. www.elserscountryfarm.com
Brown Derby (
($6.25) 75 days.
My absolute favorite discovery this season, 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.
It arose about 5 years ago in the garden of Maria & Darrell Elser of Elser's Country Farm in Yucaipa, California and they have been selling it to adoring customers at their Southern California heirloom tomato farm stands for several years. The flavor is tantalizing--tart and sweet, a perfect combination of tang to sweetness with plenty of juice and a rapturous brown and green color. When Amazing Terry and I first tasted it in August, our eyes got wide, we grinned and stared at each other with the 'Oh-my-God-this-is-incredible' look. I could barely believe my mouth.
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 implored me, but I did not budge, wouldn't give it up. I wanted it for the photograph because it was so beautiful. Then we ate it.
(This fruit is not related to Tom Wagner's Brown Derby line, arose independently from that line and was named without knowledge of it.)
Chocolate Stripes ($5.95) I'm sorry!
I like to change the list a bit every year but was not ready for the hue and cry for Chocolate Stripes.
After removing it from the list in 2009, I was bombarded by horrified customers who could not live without it and were freaked out by not seeing it for 2010 or 2011, so I grew it as a special order for several customers. I've been hearing more and more from folks who really want it back --so, it's ba-ack!
Among the largest of the black tomatoes, this one was among the top 3 winners of TomatoFest 2007. Reaching 4 inches and ripening to mahogany brown with dark olive green stripes, these fruits have enormous old-time tomato flavor and an appearance similar to Black Zebra, but huge! A plentiful harvest, stunning beauty and out-of-this-world taste make Chocolate Stripes a rare treat in your garden.
Green Zebra ($5.95) (E)
72 days. Visually enchanting, abundantly productive, this 2-inch round fruit ripens to a beautiful amber gold with dark green zebra-like stripes over the amber background. Inside, the flesh is beautiful, sparkling green. Another wonderful variety from Tom Wagner, it is gorgeous to behold, tangy and deeply sweet with lingering flavors, like fine wine. This exquisite tomato was chosen by chef extraordinaire, Alice Waters, for her restaurant, Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. In my top 5.
Dagma's Perfection ($5.95) (E) 72 days. As described by Gary Ibsen, renowned tomato expert, gourmet, author, connoisseur, and owner of Carmel TomatoFest, who named this extraordinary tomato for his lady love. "This vigorous and abundant plant offers a bountiful harvest of medium-sized, 3" 12 oz., light yellow beefsteak fruits with beautifully delicate red striping. Deliciously flavorful with lingering sweet overtones of tropical fruit and subtle hints of lime, it is firm, juicy and elegant in the mouth. An enchanting tomato...delightful and jewel-like, just marvelous. "
Dagma's Perfection is a best seller.
Hawaiian Pineapple ($5.95) (B)
90 days. A huge, breathtaking and much sought after golden-orange beefsteak with fruit that grows up to 1-1/2 lbs. When fruit is ripe it has a luscious, very rich, sweet pineapple-melon like flavor and heady tropical fragrance. Add the unusually high production of this plant, and it makes my top 10 list. A real knock-out and a top-seller.
Hillbilly ($5.95) (BB) (E) 78 days. This old time heirloom from the hills of West Virginia, growing to 2 lbs., has stunning yellow and red dappled skin with sunset-hued rainbow stripes inside; makes gorgeous slices. Very sweet. Another top vote getter at TomatoFest in Carmel, California. This one has sold out early every year.
Flammée ( Flah MAY) AKA
Jaune Flammée (Zsahn Flamme, Zs-pronounced as in Zsa Zsa)
($5.95) (E) 70 days. Very prolific and stunningly beautiful, Flammé is an unforgettable tomato. Intensely orange with a reddish blush on the blossom end, these flame-colored 2 ounce globes have a rich, tangy and exciting flavor that literally bursts in your mouth. Cut open to reveal a deep red interior, this fruit reminds me of a blood orange with its spectacular contrasting colors. Fruits of Flammé appear to glow on the vine against a backdrop of deep green foliage. Just marvelous.
Northern Lights ($5.95) (VE) 60 days. An absolutely striking tomato. This big, heavy 4-5", 10 oz. gorgeous yellow-orange beefsteak, with a red blush on the blossom end and spectacular red patterning in the center, is reminiscent of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, for which it is named. The flavor is sweet, intense, tangy and luscious. This marvelous tomato, only about 60 to 65 days from plant out until ripe fruit, bears beautiful tomatoes right through the cold weather up until the first frost.
Oaxacan Jewel (Wah - hah - kun) ($5.95)
85 days. Wonderfully rich, sweet flavors make this stunning jewel-like tomato a huge favorite at tasting parties and in fine restaurants. These beautiful 1 to 2 lb. brilliant yellow beefsteak tomatoes with red streaks throughout the flesh make this one a
chef's favorite for flavor and presentation.
Oaxacan Jewel is gaining fans world wide and is among my best finds for the 2011 season.
NEW FOR 2015
Solar Flare ($6.25) 75 days
Another fabulous variety from Brad Gates who brought us Berkeley Tie Dye and Pork Chop. The 6 to 10 ounce fruits are meaty and heavy in the hand. This reliably high producer offers intensely old-time tomatoey flavors. Luscious, juicy, rich, sweet, and irresistible.The beauty of this tomato will stop you in your tracks. Gorgeous red, marbled with golden streaks. Good disease resistance and high production will make it a favorite in your garden for years to come.
Zebra Rita ($5.95) 80 days.
Another fabulous variety from Tom Wagner. Twice the size of Green Zebra and somewhat sweeter, this heirloom from about 20 years ago was named for Tom's friend Rita DeClercq of Belgium. Hearty plant produces fruits of green and gold striping, about 8 to 12 ounces. Abundant production, this perfect-for-sandwich size tomato is also fabulous in salads and for sauce. A deliciously distinctive tomato -- worth a sunny spot in your garden.
Second photograph by Dianna Theyssen.
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