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 2020
AMISH PASTE – Mid season. Large, bright red, heart shaped fruits with meaty, juicy texture. The classic paste tomato with very few seeds and a sweeter flavour than other paste varieties.
ATOMIC GRAPE – Mid season. Elongated, multi coloured large grape tomato. Lavender and purple striped when immature, turning to green, red and blue stripes when fully ripe. Olive green interior. Very sweet taste.
AUNT GERTIE’S GOLD – Mid season. Very large, 1 – 2lb golden yellow fruit. Shape can be a little irregular, but flavour is wonderful, fruity and sweet, yet complex. One of the best tasting yellow tomatoes. Great for slicing.
AUNT RUBY’S GERMAN GREEN – Late season. Very large, beefsteak type, growing 1- 2lb. Fruit are light green with a hint of yellow striping and a pinkish interior. Sweet – tart flavour.
BLACK CHERRY – Early season. Small sized 1” cherry tomato with a rich mahogany – purple colour. Deep red flesh with blackish hues. Flavor is sweet, rich, deep and complex. Fruits abundantly in heavy clusters.
BLACK KRIM – Late season. Very large, dark coloured, meaty fruits are incredibly juicy, growing up to 1.5lb under semi drought conditions. Slightly smoky, salty flavor is great for salads or eaten straight off the vine. Heavy producer.
BLACK VERNISSAGE – Mid season. Small 2oz cherry fruit that are deep red with dark green stripes. Rich flavour.
BLONDKOPFCHEN (aka LITTLE BLONDE GIRL) – Mid season. Small golden yellow cherry 1” fruits held in giant clusters. Excellent, sweet taste. Enormous yields and rarely a cracked fruit.
CHOCOLATE STRIPES – Mid season. Very large, mahogany coloured with dark olive green striping. Delicious, complex, rich sweet and earthy flavour. Considered to be one of the best tasting ‘black tomatoes’. Great sandwich tomato!
EARLIANA – Early season. Medium sized, very uniform 6oz red pink fruit. Developed in 1900 as the earliest tomato to market. Prolific producer with great visual appeal and wonderful sweet / tart flavours.
FLAMME – Early season. Medium 2” French saladette tomato with persimmon orange skin and flesh. Full bodied flavour with a hint of citrus. Incredibly productive plants.
GOLD MEDAL – Late season. Very large beefsteak bicoloured tomato. 1-2lb yellow fruits blush with red / orange colours as they ripen. Rich old fashioned and sweet taste with a touch of tartness. Lovely slicing variety.
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.
INDIGO APPLE – Mid season. 3-4oz fruit held in pendant clusters. Purple / black colours spread around the fruit as it ripens, giving a two tone effect. Good sweet / tart flavours and great for slicing. A real eye catcher!
ITALIAN HEIRLOOM – Mid season. Large, 1lb red meaty beefsteak fruit – a real classic heirloom from Italy. Flavour is amazing – rich, complex sweet flavours, well balanced with good acidity. Use for both slicing and sauces.
KELLOGGS BREAKFAST – Mid season. Very large, 1-2lb beautiful orange beefsteak tomato with solid, meaty orange flesh. Low acid, sweet, tangy, intense flavor.
LEGEND – Early. Large red beefsteak, may grow up to 1lb. Does well in cool conditions. Resistant to late blight. Short, bushy plants. Wonderful, delicious well balanced flavour.
MARVEL STRIPE – Early season. Large beefsteak bicolour tomato. Sunny gold fruits are shot through with rose – red striping, creating a beautiful marbleized effect. Flavour is mild, sweet and fruity.
MATT’S WILD CHERRY – Early season. Very small, currant type. Copious quantities of small deep red cherries with exceptional flavour and high sugar content. Bred from a wild tomato found in Mexico. Strong plants.
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.
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.
RED FIG – Late season. Small 1.5”, pear shaped, bright red cherry tomatoes. Grown in America since the mid 1800s when they were dried and packed away for winter as a substitute for figs. Delicious sweet flavour and heavy producer.
RED PEAR – Mid season. Bright red, pear shaped cherry tomato. One of the oldest American varieties. Plants are prolific and produce 1-2” long fruit. Great on salads, in sauces or roasted.
SAN MARZANO – Mid season. Medium, 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.
BIG BEEF – Large, 10-12oz red beefsteak type
ULTRA SWEET – Early, 10oz red beefsteak type. Fantastic flavor
ROMA – Red plum, medium size. Use for canning, sauces & salsa
LEMON BOY – Lemon yellow, medium, 7oz fruit. Low acid & mild flavour
TIDY ROSE – Pink beefsteak type with rich flavour, 5-7oz
STELLAR – Medium, 5-7oz red slicing type. Resistant to many diseases
EARLY GIRL – Early, 4-6oz medium sized red slicing type
RED RACER – Cocktail size, 1.5” or 2oz red fruit
SUGAR RUSH – Red grape type, 1” size fruit
ARTEMIS – Red, 1” cherry type. For fresh eating or sauces. Good disease resistance
HELIX – Red, 1” cherry type. For fresh eating. Good sweet / acid balance
SWEET MILLION – Dark red, 1” size cherry tomato. Very productive
SUNGOLD – Orange 1” size cherry tomato. Very productive, sweet fruit
PATIO – For containers. Plants grow to 24” high. Red fruit, 4oz in size
SWEET & NEAT SCARLET – For containers. Plants grow to 12” high. 1” cherry scarlet red fruit
SWEET & NEAT YELLOW – For containers. Plants grow to 12” high. 1” cherry yellow fruit
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: