Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomatoes

My favorite thing to grow is the Cherokee Purple Heirloom tomato. It has an amazing flavor beyond your best beefsteak tomato. It’s a very ugly tomato which grows lumpy with a variety of coloring ranging from a yellowish brown to it’s infamous purple color. Another challenge with this tomato is it’s thin skin. A trait that is common on heirloom tomatoes. When it’s hot and a cool rain comes, the water is pulled by osmosis into the skin and many times creates cracks. All in all the taste is worth the risk.

In our area this tomato is easy to grow and many times grows much larger than the other tomatoes. The one pictured grew so fast it grew around the tomato stake. I had to extract it. You can see where the thin skin peeled partially off. This tomato was huge!

The only problem with this and other heirloom tomatoes is it’s hard to sell to the average person. Customers expect their tomatoes to look perfectly round and red. The majority¬† of Cherokee Purple tomatoes grown do not meet that expectation. I came across a discussion online about the challenges with growing and selling Cherokee Purple and someone recommended a hybrid with a thicker skin that increased successful yield and increased sell-ability.¬† Although I am insistent on only growing and selling heirloom varieties, I plan to try this new hybrid next year and see how it works. It might make a big difference for our customer’s expectations.