Early Ripening Tomatoes
These varieties have an average ripening time of less than 70 days, many from only 50 to 68 days from plant out to mature fruit.
Amy's Sugar Gem ($5.95) (VE) 65 days. This huge, sprawling plant produces heavy clusters of golf ball sized, incredibly delicious, deep red ambrosial fruit with golden jewel-like sparkles within the red skin. Very sweet! It was one of my absolute favorite tomatoes at TomatoFest in September--just knocked me out. Candy-on-the-vine, not to be missed.
Developed by Jeff McCormack, it is a cross of Red Cherry and Tappy's Finest. Named for Amy Boor Hereford whose Grandma Tappy introduced Jeff to heirloom tomatoes more than 20 years ago.
Anna Russian ($5.95) (VE)
65 days. This was the very first heirloom tomato I ever tasted.
Many years ago my mom brought me some perfect heart-shaped Anna Russians from her garden. I swooned. From 8 to 16 ounces, the fruits she brought had grown in beautiful clusters of 2 or 3.
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.
Anna Russian seeds came 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.
This 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 bear heavily during hot and cool weather.
I wouldn't be without it.
New for 2016
Anna Banana Russian ($6.25) (VE)
I've been waiting a long time for this one so to me this is tomato heaven.
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. 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.
I am blown away by
this yellow heart-shaped tomato.
This variety was grown out and stabilized by Michael Walker of Ellensburg Washington. Yay, Michael!
Azoychka (Ah-ZOYCH-kah) ($5.95) 65 days. (E) One of the first to ripen in your garden, this juicy, scrumptious, lemon-yellow, 7 to 9 ounce tomato has a rich, lingering sweetness with a fine touch of acidity. Ripening in only 65 days from planting out, it has a delightful yet subtle hint of citrusy flavor. A spectacular Russian heirloom, Azoychka has become a favorite of chefs and tomato lovers worldwide.
Beaverlodge Slicer $(5.50) 52 days. (EE) F/C (SM) (D) From Gary Ibsen of Tomatofest.com, "One of the earliest maturing tomato varieties at only 55 days, this tomato was developed at
the Beaverlodge Research Center in Alberta Canada.The plant is short, compact and determinate, loaded with 2", smooth, red, round tomatoes that contain rich and well balanced flavors. A surprisingly big flavor for such an early tomato. This is a perfect tomato variety for growing in a hanging basket or in a patio container. A good choice for cooler and foggy growing regions like Northern California."
Black Cherry ($5.95) (Ch) (VE) 65 days. A perfectly round cherry tomato with classic black tomato flavor, sweet, yet rich, smoky and complex. Fruit picks easily from the stem and is produced in abundance on vigorous, tall plants. These cherries are irresistibly delicious: look like a black cherry, taste like a sweet cherry-- a unique addition to the color and flavor spectrum of cherry tomatoes for your garden, along with , Sungold, Green Grape, Snow White and Reisentraube, it makes an arresting display for any table. Just outstanding.
Bloody Butcher ($5.95) (EE) 58-60 days. This marvelous early ripening fruit has an unmatched, spectacular deep red hue--juicy with an intense lingering flavor. The 2-4 ounce round red 2 to 3" fruits have a rich silky texture and grow in great abundance on potato leafed vines. With its bountiful harvest month after month, the strong depth of flavor in Bloody Butcher has made it a favorite among tomato gourmands worldwide.
Photo courtesy of Restoration Seeds.
(Dwarf) Tasmanian Chocolate ($6.25)
Big tomato, little plant. Tasmanian Chocolate is a beautiful variety that produces huge tomatoes on very compact plants. Large, beefsteak style fruits can grow to almost a pound and ripen to a deep chocolate-red. What really makes it unique is the dwarf growing habit, with small plants only growing to 2-3 feet, but still loaded with fruits! Great for small spaces and containers.
Eva Purple Ball ($5.95) 68 days
(E) A beautiful, adaptable, and reliable choice for your garden. Easy to grow, virtually problem free, and often called the most beautiful tomato of all. Eva Purple Ball produces perfectly round, deep pink, 6-8 oz, juicy, sweet luscious globes with an outstanding rich and refreshing flavor. At first bite, the tanginess dominates, giving way a moment later to an enduring sweetness with overtones of tropical fruit and spice. Growing very well in high heat and humidity, its very high-yield and disease resistance makes this prolific garden staple an outstanding choice for novice gardeners and experts alike. Originally from the Black Forest of Germany in the late 1800's. This plant out produced all others in my 2005 summer garden.
Fireworks ($5.95) 50 days (EE)
Ripe in only 50 to 55 days, this lovely bright red tomato, very large for a quick maturing variety, has splendid rich, sweet juicy flavor which runs deep for a super-early tomato. Fruits are 3", 6-9 oz., round, with a very distinctive slightly pointed tip, are heat resistant, cold tolerant and delicious.
Green Giant ($5.95) (E)
60-70 days. Occasionally a tomato comes along which deserves very special attention. This big, up to 2 lb., green when ripe tomato resoundingly stole the show August 27th at
Cincinnati's famous CHOPTAG Tomato Taste Fest last year taking Best Of Show. We had the immense pleasure of tasting it at TomatoFest in Carmel, California where it captured the hearts of tasters and garnered a great deal of attention. I have not been this impressed by a tomato since discovering Goose Creek in the summer of 2004. On a flavor scale of 1 to 100, Green Giant is a resounding 100. Incredible. Unforgettable.
It arose originally in the garden of Reinhard Kraft of Germany in 2000 when he planted 30 seeds called 'Green Giant' from a friend in Canada. 29 of them grew out regular leafed except for one which had big potato leafed foliage. Reinhard cultivated that one, selecting the best fruit for several seasons, and continued to save seeds. Yay, Reinhard. Seeds are not available commercially but I have managed to secure some for the 2006 season from my buddy Cynthia Geske, owner of Love Apple Farm in
Ben Lomond, CA. www.loveapplefarm.biz Cynthia grew the magnificent Green Giant fruits we tasted at TomatoFest and graciously let me use her photograph here.
Jaune Flamme AKA Flamme ($5.95) (E) 70 days. Very prolific and stunningly beautiful, Flamme 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 reddish interior; this fruit reminds me of a blood orange with its spectacular contrasting colors. At certain times of day, the fruits of Flamme seem to glow on the vine against the deep green foliage. Just marvelous.
Laurel's new favorite!
(E)70 days. (Pronounced
Yoot-lahn)This is my new 'go to' variety for the best dang tomato for BLT's and any fresh eating. A perfect 3 to 5 ounce, thin-skinned, plum shaped, g brilliant red tomato, some smooth, some with a pointed tip and the most sublime flavor we've found in a tomato this season. I keep saying " Where have you been all my life?"
It appears in several different shapes on the same plant -- some very elongated, some short and plump, and, a
s with many tomatoes of this shape, the foliage is rather wispy.
Sliced into 'coins' it is my new favorite for salads, sandwiches and cooking. True story.
Juicy, sweet, tangy, delicious, thin tender skin and old-fashioned tomato flavor make Jutland a must-grow for the most dedicated and adventuresome heirloom tomato fans.
Stephanie Madziak contacted me in 2014 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 that I loved! It was labeled 'Jutland tomato from Harbourton' NJ."
Can be used for sauce, yes. I'd recommend this one for fresh eating.
Lime Green Salad ($5.95) (VSM) (D) (E) 52 days. This tomato has become one of my passions. I grew only one Lime Green Salad plant the first season and wish I'd grown10.
This petite plant, about 18 to 20" tall--great for small containers like 2 to 5 gallons, or in your main garden, produces early abundant harvests of luscious tangy-sweet 3 to 4 oz. round lime-green tomatoes which literally burst with intricate, sweet refreshing citrusy flavors when you bite into them. The flesh inside is a gorgeous chartreuse, juicy...the flavor lingers. Unforgettable.
($6.95) (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, low-acid, 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.
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.
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.
Paul Robeson ($5.95) (VE) (HG)
65-70 days. This is my all-time favorite tomato and our top seller. It is a gorgeous, dark and dusky-hued fruit with intensely sweet earthy taste with a hint of tanginess, a luscious velvety smooth texture, beautiful skin, rich with juice. The seed was made available by Marina Danilenko, a Moscow seedswoman.
This luxurious tomato is named for Paul Robeson (1898-1976), the elegant, renowned and charismatic operatic singer, law school graduate, champion athlete, film star, stage actor, and boundlessly brave champion of civil and personal rights throughout the world. This marvelous plant will give you its perfect 3"- 4" fruit in only 65 days from planting. Incredible; a symphony. I do believe this is the finest tomato in existence.
Snow White ($5.95) 70 days. (E) A gourmet's delight. I can't say enough about this exquisite white cherry tomato which ripens from white to ivory to palest yellow with a bright, rich and sweet juicy flavor. Very prolific, easy to grow, pretty as starlight and a top seller.
Stupice ($5.95) (EE) (Stoo-PEETS) 52 days. A great tomato! For me, this is the absolute very best tasting super-early cold-or-hot weather variety and among the first I plant each season. Huge flavor, sweet and luscious. Not a cherry tomato, it's a bigger than a golf ball, smaller than a handball, a 3 to 4 oz. red round fruit, first to ripen and very high yielding. Produces quickly, heavily, reliably early and continuously throughout the season. Even when fruits are smaller as the season wanes, they maintain their marvelous flavor becoming even sweeter with colder weather. A garden staple.
(EE) (H) 55 days. This is the one of the best cherry tomatoes I've ever tasted, rivaling Isis Candy, and ready to pick in only 55-60 days. It has the big, rich flavor of a full-size tomato, in a beautiful little deep-golden fruit growing in bountiful clusters on a huge plant. Sweet, rich, so beautiful...just left of center in top photo. Most of them won't make it into your house from the garden. If you send someone to pick them for you, keep your binoculars trained upon the picker.
New for 2016
Sunrise Bumblebee ($6.25)
What can I say? I've never seen anything prettier in the cherry tomato world. This a very special cherry tomato, an astounding artisan variety. Please put this plant into your garden -- but remember -- it will make you way too popular. Sunrise Bumblebee is plump and bountiful, crammed full of old- time sweet-honey, juicy, pop-in-your-mouth tomato flavors and just as cute as it can be. This is the tomato you would steal from your neighbors in the middle of the night. But don't. Just leave an empty bowl at their door with note....they will understand.
Sweet Baby Girl ($5.95) (H) (SM) (Ch) (VE) 60 days. This vigorous little hybrid plant from Holland has long clusters of sweet, flavorful dark red 1 oz. cherry tomatoes, producing abundantly on small, compact yet indeterminate plants. Its easy-to-pick fruit is produced all season long.
Sweet Baby Girl's long shelf-life, marvelous taste and disease resistance have made it a new favorite for fitting into smaller gardens and producing bountiful bunches of fruit right up until first frost in containers and in the garden. Kids of all ages love it. Right after shooting this photograph of some of the 150 we picked on February 8th, my employees and I ate the fruits. Every single one.
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