If you have ever bit into a thick juicy slice of a Purple Cherokee, or had the pleasure of devouring a beefy Brandywine tomato – you know what real tomato flavor is all about! Heirloom tomatoes simply burst with flavor – and once you begin to grow and taste the difference – you will be hard pressed to ever eat another bland “Supermarket” tomato again.

heirloom tomatoes
The German Strawberry Tomato! (photo courtesy of Baker Creek Seeds)

Sadly – commercial varieties of tomatoes are selected and grown for their ability travel well and look good in the organized little bins of the supermarket – not for taste. But when you grow your own tomatoes in your backyard garden – there is simply no need to sacrifice on flavor. That is where the incredible taste of heirloom tomatoes can reignite your passion for real flavor and real food! No GMO’s here – just down to earth

Here are 10 great varieties to try this year in your garden! And if you are looking for seeds – we have provided links below when possible to seed sources.

10 Incredible Heirloom Tomatoes

heirloom tomatoes
Rutgers are a great all-purpose tomato

German Red Strawberry : Like the name implies – these tomatoes are shaped like a giant strawberry. They are extremely high yielding plants and can grow as tall as 6 or 7 feet. They have very few seeds – so are perfect for salsa and sauces, but they also make one of the best tomato sandwiches ever! Fruits on the vine can weigh up to a pound each. German Red Strawberry Seeds

Rutgers : This an old-time variety that hails from New Jersey – and was once a favorite for canning in days gone by. This is a great all-purpose heirloom tomato – perfect for slicing and eating as well as canning. It is a heavy producer of 6 to 10 oz. round tomatoes that simply burst with flavor. Rutgers seeds

Heirloom tomatoes
The beauty of the Gold Medal tomato. Photo courtesy of Seed Savers Exchange

Gold Medal : The gold medal tomato is an multi-colored heirloom variety that range somewhere between orange and yellow with a hint of pink. Firm and meaty – they are an extremely sweet-tasting variety that are delicious in sauces, but can be roasted as well. That sweet flavor also hold up great on a sandwich or in salads!  Gold Medal Seeds

Black Krim :  Just like the name implies – it becomes a dark blackish-purple when ripe.  It originates from Russia, and has really become a favorite among heirloom tomato lovers. A word of caution – be prepared to support this one – it grows large and will take up some space! Rich and intense – the flavor is hard to beat! Black Krim Seeds

heirloom tomatoes
The quirky look of the Italian Genovese tomato. Photo courtesy of Baker Creek Seeds

Genovese Tomato: This is an old-time Italian variety that has been grown for hundreds of years. A favorite among many Italian gardeners for canning – this has grown somewhat popular in the last 5 years with the explosion of heirloom varieties.  The only drawback is that the tough outer skin makes it a little harder to peel – but the strange-looking ribs of the fruit certainly make it a conversation piece. Genovese Tomato Seeds

San Marzano: If you love pasta sauce – the San Marzano should be in your garden! This variety is straight from Italy and produces a heavy load of thick, rich tasting tomatoes that will add incredible flavor to all of your dishes. It is also perfect for those that want to grow a few tomatoes on their patio – its compact, bushy size lends itself well for container gardening.  San Marzano Seeds

The San Marzano has a tiny seed cluster that is easily removed – making it an excellent choice for the home gardener wanting to make great-tasting canned sauce, salsa, stewed tomatoes and more.  They also perfect for salads as well!

Cherokee Purple:  This is one of our personal favorite – and always seems to make our list every year. It produces large, beefy tomatoes that have a dark deep red to purplish hue. When sliced open – they are meaty and make the perfect tomato sandwich! It is said to have been grown and handed down from the Cherokee tribe – hence the name. This one can easily grow 6 to 8 feet tall.  Cherokee Purple Seeds

heirloom tomatoes
The thick, juicy and meaty texture of a Purple Cherokee

Amish Paste :  Our absolute Go-To tomato when it comes to canning salsa and sauce! This is the heirloom variety of what most know as a “Roma” style of tomato.  Thick walled and great for making sauces and ketchup – this is a perfect tomato for canners.  They stay nice and firm when sliced – so also a great choice for salads or stewed tomatoes.  Amish Paste Seeds

Black Cherry :  If you like cherry tomatoes – you will love this black cherry heirloom variety.  They produce tons of small round black and reddish fruit that are perfect for salads, salsa – or just eating one after another!  They have a super-sweet rich flavor that can’t even be compared to those bright red cherry tomatoes you find in plastic boxes at the grocery store. They keep on growing and producing til frost – so be prepared to have plenty on hand!  Black Cherry Seeds

Brandywine:  The Brandywine is probably one of the most well-known heirloom tomatoes – and should be properly thanked for bringing a lot of people back to growing heirlooms. It is a favorite among so many gardeners – and for great reason – the flavor is simply amazing and their large beefy size make for a perfect slicing tomato for sandwiches. Brandywine Seeds

So there you have it  – 10 great heirloom tomatoes to try out in your garden this year!  If you would like to receive our 3 weekly updates via email– be sure to sign up to follow us in the right hand corner of the blog. Each week, we publish a Recipe of the Week, a DIY / Gardening article, and our Sunday Farm Update. This post may contain affiliate links.

Happy Gardening!  Jim and Mary



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