It’s not too late to start a few tomato plants indoors for transplanting out into the garden after the soil warms and the danger of frost has passed later this spring. I just wanted to share a few of my favorite gourmet and heirloom tomato varieties.
If you’re interested in growing any of these unique varieties your only option will probably be to start the tomato plants from seeds since they are not commonly available at local greenhouses or garden centers.
I usually grow one plant of a dozen different tomato varieties each year. This provides more tomatoes than I can use with plenty left over for sharing. In addition growing a number of different varieties means that I’ll enjoy a range of tomato sizes, shapes, colors, and flavors throughout the season.
Here’s a list of a few of my favorite gourmet or heirloom tomato varieties for the home garden:
- Brandywine – This large beefsteak style tomato is probably the most popular heirloom variety and one of the few heirlooms that I frequently see for sale at commercial greenhouses. This potato-leafed tomato is considered one of the best tasting with a rich, intense tomato flavor.
- Sungold - This is a great cherry tomato variety that delivers large yields of flavorful yellow-orange, cherry sized tomatoes. This is a relatively new hybrid, gourmet tomato.
- Pineapple – If you want to try something different then grow this plant which offers very attractive and delicious fruits. These tomatoes offer a very striking appearance with flesh that radiates in a two toned yellow and red pattern that looks as good as it tastes. Not as productive and requires a long growing season but still a great tomato.
- Yellow Pear - A small cherry tomato variety, this one is shaped like a pear rather than round in shape. Will produce huge yields of yellow fruits throughout the season. Great for adding to tossed salads, you can also find red versions of pear tomatoes.
- Black Krim – While not actually black in color, this Russian heirloom is more of a very dark brown or purple in color. This medium sized tomato is a great choice for the backyard gardener.
- Caspian Pink – This is a large Russian heirloom tomato with red-pink color and excellent flavor that is a favorite in taste trials.
- Mortgage Lifter – Another large tomato with great flavor. According to legend, a farmer raised and sold seedlings of this particular variety during the depression. The plants were so popular and sought after that the farmer was able to pay off his mortgage with the proceeds from the transplants that he sold.
This is just a small sampling of the many heirloom and gourmet tomato varieties that are available for cultivation in the home garden, but as with most heirlooms if you want to enjoy them you’ll need to start your own plants from seed.
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