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10 Heirloom Tomatoes You Should Plant In Your Garden This Year

Updated on January 1, 2018
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Chris Sherwood is a project manager by day and avid home and garden scholar by night who loves to share his trials and success with others.

Moscow Tomato

This heirloom has a dense, meaty texture with a cold hardiness not found in a lot of slicer varieties. With a bright red exterior, small seed cavities, and heavy yields of near 1 lb tomatoes, this Russian heirloom will survive temperatures as low as the 40s while still producing great tasting tomatoes.

Mortgage Lifter

The story that goes along with this tomato is almost as amazing as the consistent over 1lb fruits the plants put out. The history of the mortgage lifter tells of a man named Radiator Charlie Byles who was able to sell enough tomato starts from this heirloom to pay off his mortgage, hence the name. These huge, pinkish, flattened fruit are great if you're looking for a tasty slicer tomato with a lower acidity and large yields.

Green Zebra Tomato

One of the most unique tomatoes you an grow in your garden this year is the green zebra. Like it's name, even when ripe these tomatoes take on a lime green color. In fact, it can be hard to tell when these are ripe unless you look for their distinct yellow blush against the varying color green stripes. These larger tomatoes have a sweet, rich taste with just the right amount of a tart bite.

Hawaiian Pineapple

This variety far outperformed many of the other slicers last year in my garden, producing some of the largest, meatiest tomatoes I've ever grown. Not only are they huge and juicy, but they have one of the mot beautiful exteriors and interiors around, with a distinct mix of both a dominant yellow and an accent of orange. When fully ripe, these tomatoes definitely have a tropical citrus under-vibe worthy of their name.

Fruit Punch Tomato

No tomato garden is complete without various types of cherry or grape tomatoes. This grape variety puts out huge amounts of dark pink fruits that benefits from a slower watering schedule once the fruit starts to ripen. The reduction in water causes an increase in sugar content while really bringing out the tomato's tropical fruit notes. Not many of these made it into the house last year, as it's hard not to pop all the ripe ones in your mouth as you pick them.

Brad's Atomic Grape Tomato

One of the most unique tomatoes on the market from famed tomato breeder Brad Gates from Wild Boar Farms is Brad's Atomic Grape Tomato. With so many tomatoes attributed to this breeder, you know the fruit is special if he chose to put his name on it. This is a huge tomato if you're a market farmer and are looking to draw in buyers with its unique looks. This tomato is quite literally a tie-dye of colors including black, purple, green, red, yellow, and orange, and each tomato has it's own unique mix of colors. Not only does it look amazing, the fruit is incredibly sweet with just the right balance of tomato flavor.

Cherokee Purple Tomato

The Cherokee purple tomato is not new to the heirloom market, but is a definite must-grow for any tomato lover, especially if you have yet to try a black or purple variety. What makes this variety so popular is it's large size, deep color, and unique balance of flavors. The dark color seems to contribute to its rich, almost smoky flavor that is great on a BLT or simply with just salt and pepper. It's important to note that the Cherokee Purple is also notoriously an ugly tomato in many cases, with a high likelihood of cat facing and a misshapen final product. But don't let the looks fool you, even the ugliest of tomato still has an incredible flavor.

Suddath Strain Brandywine

Brandywine tomatoes are well known slicers that come in all colors from traditional red to pink, yellow and black. One strain that stands out among the rest is a pink strain known as the Suddath Brandywine. What sets these tomatoes apart is that they are believed to be a direct strain of the original brandywine tomato, passed down from the family of Mrs. Sudduth of Tennessee. These tomatoes have an intense flavor that comes in fruits that can reach up to 2 lbs and beyond!

Amish Gold Tomato

No tomato garden is complete without a few paste tomato plants, and the Amish gold does not disappoint. Though smaller in my test garden than my typical go-to Roma tomatoes, the orange color and sweet taste made some of the most incredible, vibrant orange pasta sauce I've ever had. Well worth a few plants in your garden.

Black Krim Tomato

The black krim tomato has grown in popularity over the last five years, with many gardeners gravitating not only to this Russian heirlooms deep purple and red stripes with green shoulders, but also its deep flavor and natural saltiness that is great if you're trying to cut back on your salt intake. Chefs especially have gravitated towards this tomato's flavors for use in tomato salads and sauces, but you don't have to work in a restaurant to be able to cook with and enjoy this spectacular tomato variety.

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    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 2 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing this information. The appearance and taste of the tomatoes sound very interesting, I've only heard of two of the tomato types that you describe, so I was glad to learn about the others.