Heritage or heirloom tomatoes are old style varieties that have been in production for at least 50 years. Over the years, advances have been made to plant breeding and production methods and these varieties are now rarely grown commercially. Heritage tomatoes are available in a huge range of sizes, shapes and colours and have fantastic flavor. However, they are not resistant to a wide range of diseases like most hybrid varieties are. They breed true to seed, meaning that seed can be kept and started the following year again. Most are indeterminate plants, which need to be staked, growing very large and producing fruit for several weeks on long vines.
Heritage Tomatoes Varieties for 2018
AUNT RUBY’S GERMAN GREEN – Late season. Very large, 1 – 2 lb light green fruit with pinkish interior. Sweet – tart flavour.
BIG RAINBOW – Mid season. Very large, 1-2lb very pretty bicoloured fruit. Delicious and sweet. Striking when sliced as the yellow fruit has neon red streaking through the flesh.
BLACK CHERRY – Early to mid season. Small sized cherry tomato with dark skin. Deep red flesh with blackish hues. Flavor is sweet and deep.
BLACK KRIM – Late season. Very large, dark coloured, thin skinned, meaty fruits are incredibly juicy and can grow up to 1.5lb under semi drought conditions. Slightly smoky, salty flavor is great for salads or eaten straight off the vine. Heavy producer.
GREEN DOCTORS – Late season. Small sized ¾” greenish yellow cherry tomato with kiwi green coloured flesh. Some plants produce bright green fruit, others produce ‘frosted’ fruit which are lighter in colour and even sweeter. Huge yields and fabulous flavour.
I CANDY – Mid to late season. Small sized 1” yellow – gold cherry tomato with red / pink marbling and a sweet fruity taste. Productive plants. Beautiful in salads.
ITALIAN HEIRLOOM – Mid season. Large, 1lb red meaty beefstake fruit – a real classic heirloom from Italy. Flavour is amazing – rich, complex sweet flavours, well balanced with good acidity. Use for both slicing and sauce.
KELLOGGS BREAKFAST – Mid season. Very large, 1-2lb beautiful orange beefstake tomato with orange flesh. Low acid, sweet, intense flavor.
MORTGAGE LIFTER – Early season. Large, many over 1lb, meaty and vigorous red beefsteak type. Great flavour and good slicer with few seeds. Plants are highly productive and disease resistant.
PEKING PANDA – Early season. Small sized, sweet and juicy pear shaped yellow fruit. Very prolific. Low in acid and easy to grow.
RED BRANDYWINE – Late season. Large, up to 1lb beefsteak type. Ideal for slicing or salads. Pinkish red fruit. One of the most famous heirlooms (1885, Amish) and the winner of many taste tests. Bright tangy flavour. Reliable performer.
SAN MARZANO – Mid season. Large, deep red Italian Roma style tomato. 3” long and 1.5” thick. Good crack resistance and great productivity. Excellent for sauces, canning or drying. Medium sized plant.
STRIPED ROMAN – Mid season. Medium 4-6” long Roma style tomato. Long pointed red fruit with wavy orange stripes. Abundant, very meaty and delicious with barely any seeds.
Related Tomato Plants
GROUND CHERRY – 1” yellow, tomato type, pineapple flavoured fruit that is sweet and delicious. Eaten fresh, dried or used in pies. 2ft. high bushes spread 3-4ft. wide. Fruit, which falls to the ground when ripe, grows inside an attractive papery husk. Keeps in a dry, dark place for up to 6 months.
Writer Nancy Falconer interviewed our farm for her article on heirloom tomatoes in the Spring/Summer 2012 issue of Food In The Hills.
Check it out, grow your own varieties and then try these yummy recipes: