When it comes to growing heirloom tomato varieties with big flavor, the sky is the limit!
Open-pollinated (heirloom) tomatoes are soaring in popularity.
It seems like every year, growers and seed companies bring more and more of these old-time tomatoes back into production.
And it is easy to see why.
The flavor of an heirloom tomato simply can’t be beat. And certainly not by supermarket tomatoes.
They might be bred for good looks and a long shelf life, but they lack flavor.
Not the case if you bite into a thick juicy slice of a Purple Cherokee heirloom tomato.
Or for that matter, a Black Krim, Tiger Blush, or a San Marzano. You will have instantly found tomato heaven!
And once you begin to grow them, you’ll be hooked for life.
We certainly are. Every year, we fill our garden (See – Our 2019 Garden Plan) with wonderful heirloom tomato varieties that bring incredible taste and flavor to the dinner table.
And every year, we always make sure to leave a little room to try a few new ones as well.
Here is a look at 8 of our all-time favorites, complete with seed links for each variety.
8 Great Heirloom Tomato Varieties To Grow
#1 San Marzano
Hands down – our absolute favorite tomato. It is also without a doubt the best sauce and salsa tomato!
Amish Paste and Roma are good, but they can’t hold a candle to San Marzano
This variety is straight from Italy and produces a heavy load of thick, rich tomatoes.
It is also perfect for those that want to grow a few tomatoes on their patio. It’s compact, bushy size lends itself well to container gardening.
This is a beautiful salad and soup tomato!
The Valencia is an orange tomato with deep, rich flavor. It adds big color to salads and vegetable trays.
But best of all, it makes the absolute most amazing tomato soup! In fact, we grow it just for that purpose. ( See : Our Tomato Soup Recipe)
It’s lower on the acid scale, so you want to freeze the soups, not can them.
It also can be added to chili soup with your other tomatoes to give a great balance of flavor.
As far as multi-purpose tomatoes go, Rutgers is the rock star of the list.
The heirloom version of this tomato is chock-full of meaty flavor. It is the perfect slicing tomato for hamburgers and sandwiches.
It is also meaty enough to stand up to grilling.
But in addition to those wonderful qualities, it is perfect for canning, making chili, on salads, or just about anything.
Best of all – it is a HEAVY producer! Seed Link : Rutgers Heirloom Tomato Seeds
#4 Huge Lemon Oxheart
Of all of the heirloom tomato varieties on this list, this is by far the most rare.
This large yellow tomato produces fruit between one to two pounds! And the sweet, almost citrus-like flavor is simply divine.
This slicing tomato will have streaks of pink when cut open. And the meaty flesh holds up well on sandwiches or in salads.
#5 Tiger Blush
We have grown this for years now, and it is a BIG personal favorite!
The Tiger Blush produces 2″ oblong tomatoes with orange with pink stripes. It is sugary sweet, with a fresh, peach-like flavor.
They almost taste like candy!
The plant bears mammoth loads of fruit from mid-season right up til frost.
The Tiger Blush is perfect for fresh eating, in salads and salsa.
And The Final 3 Heirloom Tomato Varieties…
#6 Black Cherry :
If you love cherry tomatoes, you need to grow the Black Cherry!
They are the ultimate cherry tomato. Black Cherry tomatoes have a super-sweet, rich flavor that explodes in your mouth.
They keep on growing and producing til frost, so be prepared to have plenty on hand.
Wonderful for salads, salsa, or eating straight from the garden.
#7 Black Krim :
The Black Krim is one of the heirloom tomato varieties that always finds a place in our garden.
The tomato originates from Russia, and has become a big hit among heirloom tomato lovers. The outer skin becomes a dark, blackish-purple when ripe.
A word of caution, be prepared to support this plant. It grows large and will takes up some serious space.
The rich intense flavor is hard to beat!
The Purple Cherokee produces large, beefy tomatoes that have a dark deep red to purplish hue.
When sliced open – they are meaty and delicious. They make the perfect tomato sandwich! A must-have for heirloom tomato salads.
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.
There you have it! Our 8 great heirloom tomato varieties to try this year.
Happy Gardening! Jim and Mary.
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