Sauce, Paste and Canning 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 garden....

 

 

The Biggest Tomatoes 

1884 ($6.75)  (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.

 

 

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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.

 

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.

 

 

NOTE:  Be sure to note that Anna Russian has droopy wispy foliage as do so many of the heart-shaped tomatoes-- it is caused by the 'wilt' gene. 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!

 

   

          

 

 

    

                                          August, 2016. One day's harvest, 9.5 lbs.

 

Anna Banana Russian ($6.95)     (E)  65 days.

 

I've been waiting a long time for this one, so for me this is tomato heaven; a yellow bull's-heart shaped fruit growing on a rather wispy plant which produces like crazy.

 

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 yellow version with its dazzling deep yellow skin and dense sweet flesh is beyond thrilling for me. Balanced flavor, sweet with just a little tang in the background and growing 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. 

 

Some fruits are heart shaped, some beefsteak, right on the same plant. This trait is part of the charm of the heirlooms. Inside you'll find a stunning little pattern of scarlet streaking.

 

NOTE:  I think Anna Banana is the wispiest tomato plant in existence. On the young plants, possibly the most delicate looking foliage of any tomato on Earth -- but as she gets bigger her foliage gets heartier and the tomatoes grow like crazy. Keep that in mind. Hang in there.

 

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

 

 

 

 

New for 2020!

Anthony's Passionate Heart ($6.95)     

Chosen by my friend Gary Ibsen to honor Anthony Bourdain, here is our premier presentation for 2020.

 

In our garden it withstood heat waves in the high 90's when other plants gave up the ghost. No cracking, high production, dreamy texture, disease free. A proven winner.

 

In Gary's words: "Anthony's Passionate Heart produces beautiful big, red heart-shaped 1 lb. fruits with particularly bold fruity-sweet flavors and good acidity for a perfect balance."

 

"Anthony Bourdain was an American celebrity chef, author, and television personality 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."

 

"Naming this tomato is our tribute to Anthony Bourdain’s life by honoring his legacy with a tomato heretofore unknown... 'Anthony's Passionate Heart' tomato. We found it suitable that 'the world’s most popular fruit', a tomato, would carry the message of Anthony's valued and storied life through future generations in a way that would enrich the lives of many."

 

 

  New For 2022!

Belle Rouge( $6.75) 75 days                                   

 

One Sunday morning in 2014 during an open house plant sale at my nursery, a handsome young Frenchman waited in line to chat with me.  :)  He had been visiting a friend nearby who told him about us.

 

When he got to my table he held out to me a tiny vile of tomato seeds. A perfume sample vile.

 

This charming traveler from Le Mans, in Northwestern France, where the Oceanic Belt influence creates fragrant tomatoes with complex, layered flavors, had been given the seeds by his aunt. She grew them in one of the huge community gardens for which Le Mans is famous (along with auto production and motor racing).

 

He could not remember what type of fruit it was, just that it was magnifique! And as yet unnamed.

 

The vile was so tiny, I misplaced it for years. Adrienne finally found it this spring wedged at the bottom of a harvest basket which had been on the table all those years ago.

 

We were thrilled to grow out this mystery seed and find out what it was! We planted the seeds, Adrienne called it 'Perfume Sample". I made 'Perfume Sample' labels for the plants we grew out.

 

To our delight, those magical seeds produced the most beautiful, full flavored tomatoes starting out a pale, delicate orange, then ripening to deepest red, 'rouge' in French, meaty, heavy with juice, shaped like bells and double-bell hearts, 6-8 ounce fruits.

 

Great for sauce, too!

 

And the flavor is, yes, magnifique! In Adrienne's photo you can see one of the 'double' fruits.

 

So beautiful! With out-of-this-world flavors, heavy in the hand, complex, layered and fragrant. So I named this French beauty Belle Rouge.

 

 

 

    

Black Mamba ($6.95) 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-- from the size and flavor my guess is Carbon -- Black Mamba's flavor is enticing, rich, sweet and luscious. Your plants will produce big crops of stunning, irresistible tomatoes. Really meaty and full-flavored, this is also a fabulous fresh eating and sauce tomato.

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.

 

 

 

 

NEW FOR 2021!

Campari plants, available for the first time anywhere!

Campari ($7.95) 65 days    

The legendary Campari is one of the greatest flavored tomatoes ever grown. This de-hybridized version of the original Campari hybrid has the same outstanding flavor, high productivity and bright red color as the hybrid.

Meaty and juicy, Campari is a delight in your salads, sandwiches and for sauce and canning. The 2" inch brilliant red fruits on a compact plant grow in clusters of 9 to 13 perfect tomatoes. Featured prominently in a 2002 episode of The Sopranos, customers have asked us for it over and over. Seeds were not available then, but now that it is open-pollinated (a 'new' heirloom), we have the plants for you!

 

 

 

Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red ($6.75) (HG) (E) 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, juicy flesh that invites tomato feasting and seed-saving. The tall, indeterminate, very disease resistant plant produces loads of 3" to 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."  

"The seeds of this variety came from Archie Millett who from 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." 

 

 

 

 Goldman's Italian-American ($6.95) 80 days.    

 

Heirloom Guru Extraordinaire, Amy Goldman, found this delightful full-figured, big-flavored tomato at a roadside stand in Cernobbio, Italy and named it for 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 high demand with chef's and home gardeners alike.

 

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

 

 

 

Italian Heirloom ($6.75)       (P-S) 85 days.

 

The name says it all. A fabulous classic from Italy and a top seller here. Very high production-- loads of fat, juicy, delicious, 5 to 10 oz. brilliant red, meaty, some slightly pear-shaped tomatoes, some more rounded, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

Jutland ($6.75)       (E) 72 days. (Pronounced Jut-land or Yoot-lahnd)

 

Looks like a paste tomato doesn't it?  It's not!  Looks like a Roma, too. But it's not!

 

This is my new 'go to' variety for the best dang tomato for BLT's and every other fresh tomato use. A perfect 3 to 5 ounce, thin-skinned Dutch tomato, Jutland is plum shaped -- some perfectly smooth, some with a pointed tip but all have the most sublime flavor we've found in a red tomato, ever.

 

It appears in several different shapes on the same plant -- some elongated, some short and plump, and, as with many tomatoes of this shape, the foliage is sort of wispy. Sliced into 'coins' it is my new favorite for salads, sandwiches and cooking.

 

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 those back! Wait'll we take the pictures!"

 

Trust me. Try it. Juicy, sweet, tangy, delicious, old-fashioned tomato flavor make Jutland a must-grow for the most dedicated and adventuresome heirloom tomato fans.
 

 

 

Here is our premier variety for 2022!

Polish  ($6.75) 75 - 85 days.

 

As many of you know, when I am selecting varieties for your garden, I have thousands of heirlooms to consider. It takes me months and often years to grow out and test these tomatoes until I'm sure you get only the best from me.

 

My criteria are:

 

Fabulous flavor, excellent texture, reliable production and gorgeousness. Makes a fabulous sauce!

 

This is our premier variety for 2022.  Huge, brick red to dark pink, heavy 1 to 3 lb. fruits growing in extraordinary clusters of 3 to 5 huge tomatoes, all with superb flavor.

 

Polish are sweet, rich, meaty and juicy with exquisite flavors. Just breathtaking.

 

There are many heirloom tomatoes with 'Polish' in their names. But I have chosen for you the classic Polish. Don't miss it. You will love me for it.

 

This beautiful, disease resistant, potato leafed plant gets big! Give it extra support -- when it's loaded with tomatoes it will be heavy and unruly.

 

 

 

 

Red Mamba ($6.95) 80 days.

 

In a patch of Black Mamba plants, we were stunned to see several plants producing huge, gorgeous, deep red and pink 2 pound tomatoes!

 

"I remember saying, "What are you guys doing here?"

 

The flavor was heavenly! Classic old time rich yummy tomatoes with a fabulous mouth feel, flavors that explode in  your mouth!

 

Made the best dang tomato sandwich I ever had. I don't know if the tomatoes had crossed last season or if this was a spontaneous color mutation or what?

 

But we loved it so much we grew them out, saved seeds and here it is for you: Red Mamba!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Marzano Redorta ($6.75)       80 days.

 

Largest of the San Marzano tomatoes and among the best of the Italian sauce tomatoes, this big, luscious high-producing 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 12 ounces, and reaching 16 ounces, and 4" to 7" long and a fat banana shape, it is a much larger tomato with far better flavor than its smaller cousin, San Marzano. San Marzano Redorta is marvelously rich, extremely productive and good enough to eat fresh, right off the vine.

 

This is an outstanding sauce and paste tomato and great for canning and fresh eating, too!

 

Photo on the left, copyright 2018, Betty Lessmueller. Green on the vine photo from Adrienne 'AJ' Park-Tucker, 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunset's Red Horizon  ($6.75) F/C (B)     (E) 72 days.

 

This huge, red, ambrosial and glorious fruit is hugely popular in the heirloom tomato world -- one of the best tasting tomatoes in existence.

 

Producing like a champ in cool and hot weather, resistant to frost and heat, it is a splendid producer of big red Oxheart shaped, 5" fruits with fabulous old-time intense tomato flavors and silky texture. From 10 to about 16 ounces it produces early and continues bearing lots of yummy fruit into November and December.

 

Introduced to the west by Nik Peplenov, who immigrated to the US in 1999 and brought with him his favorite heirloom seeds from the Rostov Don region of Russia, it was named by Tomato Man, Gary Ibsen, in 2003 after his favorite publication, Sunset Magazine. Sunset's Red Horizon is a spectacular, all-around champion tomato. The fruit in the photograph was picked in our garden on January 27th, 2007, and eaten immediately.  :)

 

 

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