The biggest surprise was that many of the heirlooms purchased were varieties that I had never even heard of.
Tomato Growing Entrepreneurs
Most of the new tomato additions were obtained courtesy of the Manheim Central High School Agriculture Education Program. These enterprising youngsters raise hundreds of healthy heirloom tomato transplants each spring and sell them at the Garden Faire.
I’m always happy to see the interest in heirlooms and appreciative of the opportunity to discover and enjoy another rare tomato. Here are the six tomato varieties that I purchased from the Manheim Central Agriculture Education Program:
- Copia – A cross between Green Zebra and Marvel Stripe, produces large striped gold and red skinned tomatoes with a swirled red and yellow interior.
- The Dutchman – Another tomato that I had never heard of, this is an extremely old variety reputed to produce fruits up to three pounds.
- German Johnson Pink – I actually grew a beefsteak style German Johnson tomato of my own but decided to see if there was any variation between the plants.
- Giant Belgium – Get ready to contact the Guinness Book of World Records; this variety produces two to five pound dark pink beefsteak tomatoes.
- Japanese Black Trifele – I’m still not clear whether this one has Russian or Japanese origins. The shape and size of a Bartlett pear, purplish-red color, and richly flavored, maybe I should have grabbed two.
- Riesentraube – This extremely productive cherry tomato brings me up to a total of four cherry-sized tomato varieties that will be growing in my garden this summer.
Here’s the entire listing of heirloom tomato varieties offered by Manheim Central along with full descriptions.
Mystery Heirloom Tomato
One other heirloom tomato to note was purchased from Happy Cat Organics. This one was described as an old heirloom that was handed down from a gardener in Ohio. I’m not positive of the official name for this one and the label was marked simply “Yellow and Red In” and the vendor may have referred to it as an Inside Out Tomato.
Regardless of the name, the grower seemed pretty excited about this mysterious heirloom tomato and indicated that it produces fruits that are yellow on the outside with a completely red interior. Well that was just the kind of strange and unusual combination needed to raise my curiosity enough to add yet another heirloom tomato to the collection!
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