There are many choices of heirloom tomatoes to grow, just look at seed catalogs or seed racks to see a huge selection. Heirloom tomatoes have in common incredible flavor, most are found in carefully tended gardens, organic co ops, gourmet restaurants, and at area farm markets grown by people who love good food. You definitely won’t find them shipped in from farms on the other side of the country to big box grocery departments.
You can find heirloom seeds at area greenhouses and also find starter plants at early Madison area farmer’s markets. On line sources include Seed Savers Exchange http://www.seedsavers.org Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds http://www.rareseeds.com and Botanical Interests http://www.botanicalinterests.com . Here is a sampling of heirlooms you may want to grow in your own garden, and since they are all open pollinated, you can save seeds from year to year.
Black from Tula
Russian heirloom tomato that has brownish red tomatoes that are full of rich flavor. This is an excellent choice for canning and juicing.
Black Krim is a Russian beefsteak type tomato that are purple – red, and in plenty of sunlight and warm temperatures, look nearly black.
This is a beautiful French heirloom tomato with apricot to deep orange coloring. It is a heavy producer and is fantastic stuffed with garlic flavored breadcrumbs and then broiled or baked.
This is an heirloom tomato that was introduced in 1889. It was named after Brandywine Creek in Chester County, Pennsylvania. It is very productive, has excellent flavor, and is delicious sliced for bacon lettuce and tomato sandwiches or topping a grilled hamburger.
This Italian heirloom with puckered foliage is very prolific. The tomatoes are perfect for sauces, paste and salsa. Fruits tend to fall off the vine when fully ripe.
This heirloom tomato has been grown since the 1930s and is reported to have been the reason a farmer was able to pay off his farm mortgage. Large 1-2 pound pink beefsteak fruits are exceptionally meaty and typically crack-free. It has old fashioned flavor.
This Italian heirloom is a perfect choice for drying; fruits retain beautiful color and flavor when dehydrated. Bushy plants do need support due to the heavy yields of 1-2 ounce plum-shaped red fruits.
This tomato is also called Russo Sicilian Togetta. This Italian heirloom has red costoluta (ribbed) fruits that can weigh up to 6 ounces. The thin skin bruises easily, however the firm flesh is perfect for making tomato sauce or paste.
Stupice is compact with potato leaf foliage loaded with clusters of 2” fruits. This early tomato bears heavy yields all season and produces well in northern climates.