Early Girl. Better Boy. Heirloom. Beefsteak. So where have I been? I thought I knew about and have tasted just about every tomato known to mankind until I ran into Samantha and Tessa from Penn Farms in Colonial Beach Virginia, at the Great Falls Farmers Market.
“What tomatoes are good today?” I asked
Tessa replied, The Cherokee Purple…it’s everyone’s favorite and we sell out fast!”
“You mean those small ones that look more like an apple? Okay, I’ll try them.”
What is a Cherokee Purple Tomato?
According to Rareseeds: “This tasty tomato is an old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety; beautiful deep dusky purple-pink color, superb sweet flavor, and very large sized fruit. Try this one for real old-time tomato flavor.”
Seed Saver’s Exchange says this about the Cherokee Purple: “Unique dusty rose color. Flavor rivals Brandywine, extremely sweet. Productive plants produce large crops of 12 oz. fruits. Indeterminate, 80 days from transplant.”
The Cherokee Purple did not disappoint. Today I had them for lunch, sliced with a little salt, fresh basil, some mayo, and a piece of toast for dipping into the tomato juice left on the plate.
Samantha (left) and Tessa (right) are pretty cheerful early on a Saturday morning at the Farmer’s Market in Great Falls. They also know their produce. As I pointed to all the tomato varieties they quickly rattled off their names. Thanks to them, I’ve now experienced the Cherokee Purple. They also introduced me to squash blossoms which is a topic for a later blog.
According to many sources, tomatoes are a formidable source of lycopene and antioxidants. The Tomato Wellness website says tomatoes are one of the worlds’ healthiest foods. I have a friend in the south who claims that if you eat something with tomatoes in it every day you will not have a weight problem. While that theory has not been proven, it wouldn’t surprise me. It’s the best time of year to take the tomato plunge, so go ahead. It’s all good.
For more on my tomato thoughts, see “It’s Too Hot to Eat,” page 71 in the summer issue of Celebrate Home Magazine. Download for free here.