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.

 

Heirloom , Non-GMO, Organic Seed Collecting

Seed Collecting

Unfortunately, with all the home renovations last year, I got a very late start on the vegetable plot and didn’t have time to grow any plants inside from seed. It was expensive purchasing tomato and pepper plants so everything else in the garden was grown outside by seed.  We had an okay crop, but I learned what I like (Roma tomatoes) and don’t like (crook neck squash), what does well (lettuce) and what doesn’t (potatoes). I also learned I can save money on seeds by purchasing heirlooms and collecting the seeds at the end of the season to use the following year. In addition, the heirlooms are GMO free.  I already collected heirloom tomato and lettuce seeds for this coming year! And of course, since it’s already February, I just bought 30 new non-GMO, heirloom seed packets, most of which are organic. If this is going to be an artisan farm, I want the produce to be the most natural and tasty it can be. We’ll try these new seeds out this year and see what works best.