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#8 of 12 from Staples in My Vegan Kitchen by
“The colors and shapes of Heirloom tomatoes are great, but what about the names. Box Car Willy, Lollipop, Mortgage Lifter, Green Zebra, you gotta love it.”
#6 of 10 from Favorite Health Foods by
About this topic


An heirloom tomato (also called heritage tomato in the UK) is an heirloom plant, an open-pollinated (non-hybrid) cultivar of tomato. Heirloom tomatoes have become increasingly popular and more readily available in recent years.

Heirloom tomato cultivars can be found in a wide variety of colors, shapes, flavors and sizes. Some cultivars can be prone to cracking or lack disease resistance. As with most garden plants, cultivars can be acclimated over several gardening seasons to thrive in a geographical location through careful selection and seed saving.

Some cultivars are:

  • Big Rainbow – One of dozens of large fruited yellow tomatoes with red swirls, having a mild, sweet flavor. Hillbilly, below, is another. According to some sources, tomatoes of this color were never sold by American seed companies; their origin is not known.
  • Blaby Special – A red fruited cultivar grown in the village of Blaby in Leicestershire until just after World War II. It was the main tomato cultivar supplied through England during the war. The cultivar ceased to be cultivated when the Shoult's Tomato Farm was closed after the war. The cultivar was brought back into cultivation in 2006 as a result of a campaign by Russell Sharp of Lancaster University. It may have resulted from either a mutation or cross-breed of an older cultivar known as Anwell.
  • Black Krim – A dark red to brown cultivar often cited in seed catalogs as being from the "island of Krim" in the Black Sea, ...
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Tomato, Big Rainbow, Brandywine, Heirloom Tomato, Hillbilly, Cherokee Purple, Heritage Tomato, Blaby Special, Green Zebra, Cultivar, Black Krim, Mortgage Lifter


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