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Best Black Heirloom Tomato plants from seed: Paul Robeson

Updated on October 7, 2015
Patsybell profile image

I inherited my love of gardening from mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, Master Gardener emeritus.

More of a brick than black, the color and taste are deep, rich award winning tomatoes.
More of a brick than black, the color and taste are deep, rich award winning tomatoes. | Source

Sandwich sized slicers

rich deep color and flavor make Paul Robeson a consistent taste test award winner.
rich deep color and flavor make Paul Robeson a consistent taste test award winner. | Source

Try Paul Robeson black tomatoes

Paul Robeson Tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum) 90 days

The distinctive, sweet and smokey flavor of the Paul Robeson tomato has a devoted following. The dark brick color of this hefty fruit is one of the black tomatoes getting so much attention these days. Indeterminate vines produce juicy, solid 7-10 oz fruits on heavy vines.

This Russian heirloom is named in honor of the opera singer, Paul Robeson. A beefsteak type tomato, this heirloom is winning taste tests and tomato festival awards across the country. It is also one of the best sellers in the black-purple tomato category.

I call these tomatoes slicers, because they are big enough that you only need one slice to cover your burger. A favorite recipe of summer is Insalata Caprese, which is simply mozzerella and tomato slices with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. In the rare event that you should have more tomatoes than you can eat fresh, freeze or can these tomatoes.

Paul Robeson makes a beautiful salsa. Try making a smoked tomato salsa with black tomatoes. They make a dark and beautiful salsa. This winter, when I am snowed-in, I'll open up a jar of homemade salsa. It will be like a taste of summer and the promise of spring.

Like all tomato plants, grow Paul Robeson Tomatoes in full sun. Set up the stakes or cages when you plant the tomato. The vine grows quickly and produces heavy tomatoes. It is important to steak or cage this tomato. They will continue to produce for you till frost.

Heirloom tomatoes are getting more popular. Paul Robeson is so well known that you may find starter plants at the garden center. To be sure you can get this variety, grow yours from seed. I buy heirloom tomato seed at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, or Territorial Seed Co. Most seed catalogs will have Paul Robeson tomato seed.


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  • Patsybell profile image

    Patsy Bell Hobson 3 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    PegCole17, Paul Robeson is forever etched in my mind singing Old Man River. This tomato is is getting more and more attention. Many folks think it is better than Black Krim. I do too. Thank you for reading my hubs. If you ever have any garden questions, please ask.

  • PegCole17 profile image

    Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

    I had no idea there was a tomato named after the great opera singer, Paul Robeson. I used one of his recordings in a hub I wrote about trees and his voice is quite unique and lovely. Can't wait to find some plants and try this variety of tomato.

  • Seafarer Mama profile image

    Karen A Szklany 6 years ago from New England

    Hi Patsybell,

    Mmmmm...I can already smell that salsa! I sometimes provide salsa as a topping choice for the omlettes I make on Sundays. :0) Will look for this variety when the next planting season rolls around (and, of course...mainly because it's named after the famous opera singer).

  • Patsybell profile image

    Patsy Bell Hobson 6 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

    Dave thanks for your comments and questions. You have helped me see that I left plenty of questions unanswered. I buy seeds at Baker Creek,

    I use these as slicers, because they a big enough that 1 slice is all you need to cover a the bread in a BLT.

    They make an excellent salsa.

  • davenmidtown profile image

    David Stillwell 6 years ago from Sacramento, California

    Very nice tomato profile. Where would you recommend finding seeds? Are there any special requirements for growing these beautiful tomatoes? How would you use them? Sauces, canning, etc?