Cherokee Purple- One Good Tomato

Tomatoes and other goodies from the garden

As I have said in a previous blog, this has been my first year to have really good success with growing tomatoes in  my garden.  Well, while I do enjoy all the tomatoes, there is one that really stands out as DELICIOUS!  That is the Cherokee Purple, an heirloom tomato that is said to have origins with the Cherokee Indians from Tennessee grown pre-1890.

A few summers back I got one really great tomato from a plant called “Black Krim”.  It was the best tomato I had eaten up to that point.  I wanted to grow those again but the seed catalog I was ordering from did not offer those, so I went with another purple tomato, the Cherokee.  I am so glad that I did, these have been our favorite.  And of course, being an heirloom we can save the seeds and the exact same wonderful tomato next season.

As spring went along and blossoms turned into baby fruit, I was really getting excited.  The green tomatoes just kept getting bigger- many of them getting to the size of softballs.  It was hard to wait, it seemed that all the varieties took forever to ripen!  I am sure that the length of time seemed longer than it really was, I checked them daily and you know what they say about a watched pot…

I guess due to the pitiful results of the previous season, I did not understand what kind of rambling these vines were going to do.  My staking was terribly inadequate.  The weight of the fruit caused the vines to dip down and touch the ground.  The only problem- other than being a bit difficult to get to the fruit- is that any tomatoes resting on the ground were a target for pill bugs or rolly pollies as we have always called them.  I was shocked at the amount of tomato that these little bugs can consume.

The Cherokee Puple

The first really large one that came in, was such a prize.  I sliced and all my waiting was rewarded.  Cheyenne, who is a tomato kinda gal- but only fresh ones from the garden, came in and had a slice.  Her eyes lit up and she said, “Now that is good!”  Last week, I went out to visit my grandmother and noticed quite a few tomatoes finishing up on her window sill.  I asked her if she had any Cherokee Purples and before I could finish the name she interrupted me exclaiming, “Oh My, that was such a good tomato.  Those are my favorite.”  That says a lot, grandmother is in her 80’s and gardening has always been a part of her life, so she should know what she is talking about.

I am really happy to have grown these tomatoes as seedlings for our nursery.  I am confident that anyone who bought seedlings from us was very pleased.  These will definitely be in our inventory next spring and in our gardens.  Give the Cherokee Purple a try, you will be glad you did.


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