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.
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) 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.
Black Prince ($5.95) (E) (SM) 70 days. One of the most intensely 'tomatoey' flavored heirlooms, rich and juicy, very prolific, easy to grow, it loads up in only 70 days with clusters of gorgeous 6-8 oz. deep, dark mahogany-red fruits the color of rubies at midnight.
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.
Bush Beefsteak ($5.95) 60 days. A wonderful, early, compact and prolific, short bushy plant that grows to only 3 feet while producing huge amounts of half pound red tomatoes in clusters of 3 to 5. A very popular variety in short season areas. Juicy and delicious. Early harvest, small manageable plant, big tomato flavor!
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.
Isis Candy ($5.95) (Ch) (VE) 60 days. These precious little 1½" morsels of red and gold garden candy have a dazzling starburst pattern on the blossom end when ripe. Sweet and fruity, Isis Candy has become a top 10 winner at tomato tastings, rivaling Sun Gold's flavor as a best-of-show cherry. Crack-resistant, a spectacular top seller.
Jaune Flammée AKA Flammée ($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 reddish interior; this fruit reminds me of a blood orange with its spectacular contrasting colors. At certain times of day, the fruits of Flammé seem to glow on the vine against the deep green foliage. Just marvelous.
Legend ( $5.25)
(E) 60 to
65days. This very early variety from Dr. James Baggett of Oregon State University grows in abundance on short bushy determinate plants. The 14 to 16 ounce fruits are smooth and round and blemish free. Bright red with delicious sweet flavors that are perfectly balanced with a touch of acid, Legend produces in only 60 days from plant out. Sets fruit easily in cooler climates and shows excellent resistance to late blight. A favorite for salads and canning.
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's 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.
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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