Heirloom Tomatoes

Whether you call them “Heritage” or “Heirloom," these are still the varieties you will want to grow for taste. Heirlooms come from seed that has been handed down for generations in a particular region or area, and hand-selected by gardeners for a

Heirloom vegetables are open-pollinated, which means they’re non-hybrid and pollinated by insects or wind without human intervention. How experts define heirlooms can vary, but typically they are at least 50 years old, and often are pre-WWII varieties. 

In addition, they tend to remain stable in their characteristics from one year to the next. What that means to you is that you can  save the seeds and if they don’t cross pollinate they will come true. Your Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomato seed will produce an “Aunt Ruby’s German Green” next year. Tomatoes are self pollinating and if you want to be relatively sure they haven’t “crossed the road,”  bag the flowers after you hand pollinate them or plant them away from other tomatoes. Remember that wind, bees and other things can pollinate the flowers. too.

Many gardeners agree that heirloom tomato varieties boast greater flavor than the hybrids. After all, there is a reason they’ve been around for so long. In general I agree although I’ve had some tasty hybrids such as the cherry tomato, “Sungold” and Sweet Treats a larger pink cherry tomato, which are fabulous. 

Another fun thing about heirloom tomatoes, they come in a rainbow of colors:, pink, black, yellow, orange, purple, burgundy etc. Some are evne green when ripe. They come in different shapes: flattened, fluted, egg-shaped, heart-shaped, to name a few. They can be hollow (for stuffing). Stripes and spots and flushes of color make them beautiful and interesting.

While hybrid plants typically yield a crop that is uniform in both appearance and timing, heirlooms produce a “mixed bag” harvest. The harvest may come in less predictably, and fruit size can vary greatly even on the same plant but it is still worth the real estate that they take up. Heirlooms, especially the larger ones, can be prone to cracking and cat facing which is not their most endearing quality but beauty is skin deep in my book. I have never found a beauty queen tomato, perfectly round, consistently red that can compare with a fat, juicy, sweet slice of, say, “Aussie” or “Rose” on my BLT!

Heirlooms typically come with a story that is as wonderful as the flavor. The Amish heirloom tomato Brandywine yields fruit with an unbeatable flavor in shades reminiscent of a glass of Cabernet. Mortgage Lifter paid off a man’s house in the depression years. Nebraska Wedding is an old Great Plains heirloom whose seeds were given to newly married couples to help them start their lives and start their farms together. Amana Orange takes its name from Amana, Iowa. Paul Robeson, a Russian heirloom tomato was named after the operatic artist who won acclaim as an advocate of equal rights for Blacks. His artistry was admired world-wide, especially in the Soviet Union.

Remember that  ripening times are  from the time of transplanting into the garden.


The 1884 Purple tomato variety is similar in many ways to the very popular heirloom tomato "1884": The same huge flavor, same size and shape, similar plant characteristics but fruit has a reddish purple color with dusky shoulders. Indeterminate, mid-season

ACE 55

Ace 55 has a fresh tomato flavor. Large, deep red fruit with low acid content, one of the few red tomatoes to be able to make that claim. Crack-resistant. Heavy foliage protects fruit from sunburn. Determinate, mid-season


This old-time variety produces a harvest of 6 to 10 oz red tomatoes, packed with great tomato flavor. They have a fair amount of acid that is nicely tempered with sweetness. This variety has been popular since the early 1920's, and it is no wonder considering its productivity and flavor. Indeterminate, main season


Deep golden orange color adds a punch to sandwiches, salsas and salads. The flavor is mild, sweet, delicious and the flesh is very smooth to the mouth. This heirloom takes its name from Amana, IA. Definitely worth the wait. Indeterminate, late season


A medium-sized pink tomato that ripens to a beautiful rose color. Flavorful with smooth skin. An excellent variety from Ozarks in Arkansas, tolerant to heat and humidity; crack and disease resistant. Good flavor. Indeterminate, mid-season


The name is French for black pineapple. It's a sport of the Pineapple tomato from a Belgian garden. Fruit is large like the Pineapple, but the color and flavor are different. Heavy yields and great taste. And, it's pretty! Indeterminate, mid-season


Heirloom originally from Armenia. A tall plant that produces large, 1-lb., lightly ribbed, yellow and orange beefsteak tomato with some red marbling. Unusually strong flavors for a bi-colored. We thought this was delicious, not to mention beautiful. Indeterminate, main season.


An heirloom tomato from Australia. These tomatoes are regular-leaf tomato plants that dependably yield copious amounts of 1-2 lb., glossy-red, meaty, fluted, beefsteak tomatoes that are delicious. Great disease resistance.  This is one of the first tomatoes our customer, pictured above, picked. Indeterminate, late season


Large yellow fruits, up to 16 oz. or more. Disease-resistant 6-8 ft. tall plants bear until frost. Outstanding sweet flavor, perfect for BLTs. It is originally from Barnes Mountain, Kentucky. Indeterminate, mid to late season


Heirloom green beefsteak with a sweet flavor that's enhanced by a spicy undertone. Globe-shaped fruits are smooth skinned, 12 to 16 oz., with light green skins at maturity and just a hint of yellow. Flesh is green blushed with pink, meaty, and flavorful. Makes interesting juice! Indeterminate, mid-season


A succulent and enormous dark pink tomato. This is an enormous dark 1 1/2 to 2 lb. pink tomato. It is sweet and very mild, and the large fruits are pretty. Perfect for BLTS. Large vines, Indeterminate, main season.


Big, regular-leaf tomato plants yield moderate to large crops of 1-2 lb. bi-colored beefsteak tomatoes with gold flesh and beautiful red streaks running throughout. Very juicy and sweet. Great for slicing onto sandwiches or in salads. Indeterminate, mid-late season


Over 150 years old, this heirloom is still widely grown for its vigorous vines that produce loads of giant-sized, slightly flattened golden globes, with mild flavor. A tasty, non-acid variety whose large, round fruits are highlighted by smooth blossom ends. Indeterminate, mid to late season


It isn't a true black but it comes close. They are a deep, red with green shoulders. The interior is a reddish green color. An heirloom from the Crimean peninsula of Russia. Producing 10 - 12 oz. fruits, they set well in heat and under adverse conditions. The flavor is rich, earthy, almost smoky. Indeterminate, mid-season


Originally introduced from Irkutsk, Russia, it is regarded as a "true Siberian tomato" that does well in cooler climates. Deep garnet, round, 2" tomatoes are full of juicy green flesh and rich fruity flavors. Perfect for eating fresh and cooking. Indeterminate, mid-season


A Brad Gates introduction. Fruit is beefsteak-type slicer, weighing up to 8 oz, and the flavor is as good as its outstanding antioxidant content! Gorgeous, deep blue-black shoulders make this unique. Sunburn and crack resistance Indeterminate, main season.


A favorite Russian variety that produces a long and steady crop of 2" elongated plum-shaped fruits colored a beautiful deep-mahogany with dusky-green shoulders. Fruit resembles a small paste tomato but with thinner walls. Unique sweet tangy flavor. Indterminate, mid-season


It has prolific yields of good-sized, smooth, red tomatoes with a very nice flavor. They are a medium size tomato in my garden (zone 5) although they can average 10 to 16 oz.! Crack-free and disease resistant. Indeterminate, mid-season


Many gardeners consider this tomato the best of all. They are 1 to 2 lb. pink beefsteaks with a rich, sweet flavor that has made Brandywine justifiably famous and worth the longer wait for them to mature. I had great success by using the ones in gallon pots as they are more mature. Indeterminate, late season


Medium-sized, 8 to 12 oz. round, smooth red fruit that are juicy and loaded with intense tomato flavor. Expect high yields of this very flavorful tomato. Indeterminate, mid-season


Superbly rich and delicious-tasting large fruit, the golden variety gives good yields. Large potato-leaf plants are very sturdy and deep green. This heirloom is delicious any way you eat it! Indeterminate, mid-season


Regular-leaf tomato plants, yielding medium to large, beautiful purple-black tomatoes. This is among the darkest of the black tomatoes with the delicious, rich, complex, flavors that black tomatoes are known for. This tomato won a taste test of 10 heirloom tomato varieties at Cornell Research Farm. Indeterminate, mid-season


A stabilized version of Cherokee Purple, this 10 to 16 oz. mahogany-colored variety has excellent flavor and beautiful large fruit. Very productive plants are vigorous and yield a large harvest of these chocolate-colored tomatoes with the ample size and wonderful flavor associated with Cherokee Purple. Indeterminate, mid-seasom


The regular leaf plants are upright and well-branched with good leaf coverage. Good yields. The medium sized (up to twelve ounces) fruits are nearly identical to 'Cherokee Purple' in coloration and flavor except that they are heart-shaped. Indeterminate, mid-late season


Originally grown in southern Russia between the Caspian and Black Seas. These prolific, 1-2 lb., globe-shaped, pleated, pink-red beefsteaks, rival Brandywine in popularity and flavor. This tomato is perfect for cooler climates. Indeterminate, mid-season


Hearty potato leaf cross between Brandywine and an unnamed Italian variety. Chianti Rose produces huge crops of 1-2 lb. beautiful, thin skinned, rosy red-pink, beefsteak tomatoes with a delicious, well-balanced, complex flavors. A good variety for cooler and coastal growing regions. Indeterminate, mid-season


Large, indeterminate, regular-leaf tomato plants that yield a plentiful crop of 3-4 inch, mahogany colored with dark, olive green-striping (similar to black zebra).  Fruits have delicious, complex, rich, sweet, earthy tomato flavors.  Indeterminate, mid-season


A cherished heirloom of mahogany red colored, medium tomatoes that are 8 to 12 oz. each. Fruits are round, with no cracking. Exhibits tolerance to mild drought as well as to common diseases. Indeterminate, mid-season


A beautiful large, striped tomatoes, these have lovely  stripes of  gold and  red. Inside is a mix of red and yellow that is swirled together. A stabilized cross between Green Zebra and Marvel Stripe, these tomatoes average one pound each. Indeterminate, mid-late season.


Italian heirloom tomatoes. Large, deep-red, juicy tomatoes are deeply ribbed but fully flavored and absolutely delicious. This variety is hearty and does well in hot weather, but continues to produce even when the weather turns cool. Indeterminate, mid-season


This full flavored heirloom variety from France produces large red beefsteaks with ribbed shoulders. Fruit is typically 4' across, meaty, and smoothly textured. Very large crops of big, beautiful tomatoes. Indeterminate, mid-season


A fantastic old Tuscan Heirloom variety with dark red skin and juicy delicious flesh. Shaped slightly flattened with fluted shoulders. Fruits are typically about 8 ounces, with a smoother shape than the heavily ribbed Costoluto Genovese. The flavor is sweet. Indeterminate, mid-season


El Roy is a very strong and vigorous plant. The tomatoes are nice, red, large beefsteaks with tremendous flavor, just the right balance between sweet and acid. Indeterminate, main season.


A beautiful beefsteak tomato that is predominantly golden yellow with a red blush. Streaks of red run throughout the flesh. Tomatoes range from 1 to 2 lbs. and have an excellent sweet, fruity taste.  Indeterminate, late season


Loved this large, smooth skinned, pink beefsteak with great flavor that has won several taste testing awards. Fruits are usually under a pound. Sturdy plants produce well. Indeterminate, mid-late season


This tomato is a large pink heirloom beefsteak-type tomato known for its excellent rich flavor. These round flattened fruits grow from open-pollinated seed and ripen late in tomato season. They have a classic sweet old-fashioned tomato taste with  lower amounts of acid


This is a wonderful Italian heirloom. Vigorous 10 to 18 ft. vines have strong stems and heavy thick leaves. Globe- shaped, pinkish-red fruits, with few seeds,are smooth, tender and weigh 1 to 2 lbs. Indeterminate, late season


A Ben Quisenberry tomato. Wonderful, 1-1/2 lb., yellow and red bicolor beefsteak tomato with pink marbling in blossom end, thin skin and luscious sweet, well-balanced flavors. Did I mention how beautiful it is? Indeterminate, mid-late season


These are a family favorite. The flavor is sweet and fruity, perfect for salads and sandwiches. An almost perfect, "white" tomato with low acidity and few seeds. Good drought and crack tolerance. When totally ripe, the fruit will have a yellowish hue on the blossom end and a very smooth creamy texture. Indeterminate, mid-late season


The tomatoes are beautiful. An Ohio heirloom originally from West Virginia producing 1-2 lb. huge, heavily-ribbed, orange-yellow fruit with red mottled skin and red streaks within. Very sweet, fruity flavors. Low acid. Indeterminate, late season


An heirloom tomato originally from Crete.  Large, 4", 16 oz., pink beefsteak tomatoes borne from big, sprawling, regular leafed tomato plants. Big, complex flavors. ruffled shoulders. A good sandwich tomato. Indeterminate, mid-season


In Russia the Trifele varieties of tomatoes are highly prized. This short potato leaf plant yields prolific quantities of 6 oz. fruit. Tasty flesh with a meaty core that produces all summer long. May be the same as Black Truffle. Determinate, mid-season


Lovely, pale-orange fruits are solid and meaty throughout, packed with mild, tasting flesh. A long-season producer of large, beefsteak-type fruits, up to 16 oz. My daughter's favorite. Indeterminate, mid-late season


"All American Selection" winner in 1943. This heavy yielding, golden-orange fruit weighs 6 to 7 ounces each, is mild tasting, with lower acid as is common in yellow or white tomatoes, but has good tomato flavor. Solid fruit with few seeds. Indeterminate, mid-season


A tomato with a fascinating history and really good flavor that has won taste awards. It is a darker pink, smooth beefsteak with rarely any defects that is a nice size of 10-16 oz and larger. The flavor is a full, well balanced blend of acid and sweet and is known for its smooth texture. Production can be quite good. Indeterminate, mid-season


French heirloom. Historically a popular variety grown for market. Producing clusters of 6-10 ounce deep red, slightly flattened, oblate fruits that are meaty, lightly lobed with an excellent slightly tart taste. This variety also does well in cooler summer conditions. A great tomato for slicing and sandwiches. Indeterminate, mid-late season


This was developed in 1917, introduced by the USDA in 1925 and is a good producer of large deep red juicy, sweet tasting fruits. These tomatoes can claim parentage of many of today's hybrid tomatoes. This tomato was a winner in our garden last year. Marglobe is excellent for canning! Indeterminate, mid-season


Very large plants produce huge, dark pink fruits with outstanding taste. Expect steady production of tomatoes that weigh more than 1 lb. throughout the growing season. This family heirloom was brought into the U.S. by a Mexican family living in the Midwest. Indeterminate, main season


Big, pink fruit are very rich-tasting, certainly a favorite pink tomato. This potato-leaf variety has a long history in the "Show Me" state. It was grown since the Civil War by the Barnes family. Indeterminate, mid-season


These long time favorites are also known as Radiator Charlie. They produce good yields of large, smooth, pink-skinned fruits and have few seeds. The sale of these plants during the depression years was used to pay off the farmer's mortgage, hence the name. Mild and delectable sweet flavor. Indeterminate, mid to late season


This plant produces abundant yields of 1-2 lb. pink, beefsteak tomatoes with excellent mildly sweet flavors. For folks who can't eat tomatoes with any pronounced acid. These are really delicious. Indeterminate, main season


One year, this produced the biggest tomato we had, over 2 pounds! It was gorgeous red and yellow-striped heirloom variety that tasted great. Large, ridge-shouldered fruits are mild-flavored and low in acid. Indeterminate, late season


Vigorous plant with moderate yield of 3", 8-12 oz., globes. Excellent mild, sweet flavor. Plant bears continuously till frost. Excellent taste. It's not unusual to harvest near perfect blemish-free fruit from this variety which also is tolerant of foliage diseases. Indeterminate, mid-season


A favorite from the Virginia Mennonite community. The yellow fruits have a red center visible on the surface. The tomatoes often weigh over a pound, and have few seeds. Not a heavy producer, but the taste makes up for it. Indeterminate, mid to late season


A Russian heirloom, this favorite tomato was named after the operatic artist who won acclaim as an advocate of equal rights for African Americans. It's deep, a dusky, dark-red, with dark-green shoulders, and red flesh inside. Very flavorful fruits with a good acid/sweet balance. Indeterminate, mid- season


A regular leaf type plant that like other large fruited varieties, has moderate to low production depending on the growing conditions. However, the excellent taste and eating quality make it worth growing. Not unlike "Pineapple". Fruits are large and bi-color, oblate-shaped, and beefsteak-type


Patty's Striped Beefsteak is extremely attractive and sweet with very little acid. Producing 5-6 oz. beautiful yellow fruits with thin red and pink stripes on the skin. The interior of the fruit is also golden yellow and has red striping within. Indeterminate, mid-season


This vigorous and prolific tomato, introduced around 1983, yields lots of fruit. One of the better flavors of all the orange tomatoes. Rose-orange (persimmon colored) fruits range from 12 oz - 2 lb. Meaty, very sweet, and few seeds. Indeterminate, mid-season


Sister of Orange Jazz tomato. Pretty pink fruits striped with golden-yellow stripes. Some fruits are oblate, beefsteak type. Some fruits are oxheart shaped. Sweet and juicy, with fruity notes. Good, quality production. Crack resistance. High yields. Indeterminate, mid-late season


Even though this one is not super prolific, it is worth the real estate. The first one we picked was a "two hander"size! When we sliced it in half, I knew I was in love. The interior was a beautiful collage of orange, gold and red. Juicy and fruity sweet. Indeterminate, late season


Large, 10 to 16 oz., dark pink, nearly purple fruits mature quite early, with the delicious flavor and good production that heirlooms are known for. Potato-leaved vines. Indeterminate, mid-season


This Swiss émigré could be considered the Brandywine of continental Europe. Like Brandywine, there are many strains, and is widely considered in France, Germany and Switzerland to be the best-flavored tomato. Only medium-sized yet delivers the robust flavor of the bigger types. Pink. Indeterminate, mid-season


A large leafy heirloom that produces deep, rose-pink, 3", globes with a taste that is second to none. Seed came from Dr. Grace Kaiser, a physician in PA who was given the seed from one of her Amish patients. I won a prize for the largest tomato at the fair one year. Intermediate, mid-season


All-purpose variety, ideal for canning. Ripens evenly from inside out. Bright red fruits with heavy walls average about 7 oz. Attractive, old-time favorite that has been around a long time. Full-bodied flavor and disease resistant. Indeterminate, mid-season


From France. Regular-leaf, tomato plants with generous yields of 1 to 2 1/2 ib., slightly-flattened, bright-red beefsteak tomatoes. Delicious sweet flavors with the perfect 'tang' of acidity. Solid, meaty interiors make it a good slicing tomato for sandwiches or salads. Indeterminate, late season


Early maturing plant produces good yields of 6 oz or more red tomatoes. They are very sweet, juicy, and flavorful. This is one of the sweetest tomatoes on the market. Determinate, earlyish.


One of my new favorites! Compact, bushy, regular-leaf tomato plants that yield 4-6 oz, meaty, uniformly-round, bright-yellow fruits that are very sweet. Tomatoes hold up well to slicing so they are suitable for sandwiches. Great for container. Determinate, early-mid season


Uniform, baseball-sized fruits are the trademark of this variety developed in sunny Greece. Resistant to sunburn, cracks and spots. Fruits have a pleasant, mild flavor and virtually refuse to rot, even when completely red and ripe. Indeterminate. mid-season


This heirloom variety is one of the best tasting, best producing gold-red bicolors. On top of that, the tomatoes are beautiful and enormous, weighing at least 1 pound each. Golden yellow, they have red stripes that turn into a ruby blush on top. Sweet and rich. Indeterminate, late season


A good substitution for Brandywine if you don't have a long enough growing season. It's earlier than Brandywine by about 10 days and has all that wonderful old-fashioned flavor.  It's a big beefsteak from the Mennonites in Wisconsin.  Very productive too! Indeterminate, mid-late season


Mild, sweet flavored with high sugar content. Yellowish-white inside and out when matured. Fruits are large (up to one to two pounds) on bushy, leafy plants. Good for slicing and canning. Even the large sized fruits maintain good texture and flavor. Indeterminate, main season


Produces 6–8 oz. slicers that are great for fresh eating and popular for canning, particularly for stewed tomatoes. This long-popular workhorse variety was developed by the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the 1940's. Indeterminate, mid-season


A unique, large 8-12 oz. dark tomato exhibiting a rich, deep purplish-brown color. Some seed savers say it is the best tasting of all the dark tomatoes. Very rich, old-fashioned flavor, sweet and spicy. A rare Russian heirloom. Indeterminate, mid-season


An introduction from Wild Boar Farms. This variety is likely the result of a cross between Big Rainbow and Green Zebra. Large, bi-color fruits; yellow with red stripes outside and red streaks inside. Very meaty fruits have an excellent, sweet tomato flavor. Indeterminate, main season


One of the best green tomatoes. Medium-size, 8+ oz. green fruits have yellowish-orange color on the blossom end when ripe. Lots of bold, complex tomato flavor. Indeterminate


Seeds of this un-named variety were given to Gary Ibsen. This tomato. named by Gary for Clint's participation in the Carmel TomatoFest, is an open-pollinated, tall plant that produces lots of 2", deep-red, tomatoes with bold, complex flavors. Its fruity sweetness is perfectly balanced with plenty of acidity. Firm and juicy. Indeterminate, Main season


An excellent slicer, with most fruits over 1 pound - many 2 to 3 pounds - and still holds the world record of 7+ pounds for a single fruit! Produces smooth and solid fruits that seldom crack, with small cavities, nearly solid meat, and excellent flavor. Indeterminate, mid-season


This tomato is large, and meaty. Strong, disease resistant vines, produce plenty of huge beefsteaks that often cross 2 pounds. Fruits are balanced and full flavored. Indeterminate, mid to late season


An old-time favorite heirloom from the East features tall plants and a fairly early harvest of large, slightly ribbed pink tomatoes averaging 1 lb. Meaty with few seeds and excellent flavor. Indeterminate, mid-season


The largest of the U of I bred tomatoes. Not the earliest but certainly the largest. Big plants produce dozens of large, 4-5" red fruits good for slicing and canning. Almost lost to the ether but for a Utah gardener who kept it as his main canning tomato. Indeterminate, mid-season


Tall, regular-leaf tomato plants that yield large quantities of 4-ounce, plum-shaped, thin-skinned, smooth, deep-red tomatoes with exceptionally sweet flavors.  Indeterminate, mid-season


St Pierre is a delicious traditional French heirloom variety that produces a late crop of really tasty bright red fruit. It's soft and thick meaty flesh makes this tomato superb for slicing in salads and sandwiches.


Introduced by the late Ben Quisenberry, Ohio. this is a potato leaf plant producing a good yield of large, 1 lb., dark pink, meaty tomatoes. Small seed cavity and rich flavor A historic and VERY popular variety. The name: one theory is that this variety was named after a bible reference, as Ben was a very religious man. The speculation is that the 'Stump' being referred to is the stump or root of Jesse in the bible.


Super Sioux is a midwestern heirloom perfectly suited for hot summer conditions. It will continue to set fruit long after the temps have topped 90 degrees. The medium sized red globes are thick walled, crack free and have an acidic tangy flavor. Mid-season, Indeterminate


Excellent tomato! One of the very few pastel-hued tomatoes. A favorite of gourmet grocers, with attractive, 1 lb., pale pink/red fruits set off by golden stripes. Elegant, sweet and tasty, with a nice, mild flavor. Potato-leaved foliage. Indeterminate, mid-season


A cherished heirloom of mahogany red colored, medium tomatoes that are 8 to 12 oz. each. Fruits are round, with no cracking. Exhibits tolerance to mild drought as well as to common diseases. Indeterminate, mid-season


Indeterminate, regular leaf plant produces heavy yields of 10-14 oz., pink, round, oblate, juicy, beefsteak tomatoes with big, rich, complex, old-fashioned tomatoey flavors. A good choice for a sandwich or salad tomato. RARE.


Produces 6–8 oz. slicers that are great for fresh eating and popular for canning, particularly for stewed tomatoes. This long-popular workhorse variety was developed by the University of Wisconsin, Madison in the 1940's. Indeterminate, mid-season