Jester LSU Fan Baton Rouge Member since Feb 2006 20069 posts
re: Cherokee Purple TomatoesPosted by Jester on 6/20/13 at 1:46 pm to faxis
I have 2 cherokee purple plants, 1 Mr. Stripey, 2 better boys, and 3 different romas this year. Romas are coming on strong; just bought my Ball lids yesterday to can some. I think I have 6 to pick now.
faxis LSU Fan La. Member since Oct 2007 7773 posts
re: Cherokee Purple TomatoesPosted by faxis on 6/20/13 at 1:56 pm to Jester
Definitely. I love romas for sauces. Hell I love romas for anything if that's what I've got. I've even got some Celebrities that I got just to make for damn sure I had tomatoes this year come hell or high water, disease or the apocalypse. And those things have gone bat shite insane on me.
Cherokee purple is the name of a cultivar of tomato, unusual for the deep purple/red hue of its fruit. It was one of the first of the "black" color group of tomatoes. It is also unusual in being extremely popular for the sake of its flavor, instead of only its unusual color. Cherokee Purple tomatoes are beefsteak in style, with green "shoulders" across the top. They are also notable for having a dense, juicy texture, with small seed locules irregularly scattered throughout the flesh. The comparatively dark interior color is enhanced by the tendency of the seeds to be surrounded by green gel. This cultivar originated with Craig LeHoullier, who claimed it was a century-old cultivar originating with the Cherokee people. In 1990, while living in West Chester, Pennsylvania, Craig received unsolicited in the mail, from John Green of Sevierville, Tennessee, a brief note and a small packet of seeds. The note indicated that John wanted to share this unnamed tomato with Craig, and that it was a purple tomato that the Cherokee Indians gave to his neighbors 100 years ago. Upon growing the seeds and observing the fruit, Craig was surprised and delighted to find that the fruit was remarkably close to being a true purple in color (pink tomatoes were often referred to as purple in horticultural literature, so the color of the tomato was quite a surprise). The tomato was named in line with the note that accompanied the seeds, and a sample of seeds were sent that winter to Jeff McCormack, founder of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, as well as listed in the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE) Yearbook 1991 edition. A few years later, Craig also sent it to Rob Johnston, founder of Johnny's Selected Seeds. Both seed companies elected to multiply the seed and carry the variety in their seed catalogs. Craig sent out many seed samples to SSE members over the next few years. Through these transactions, as well as the availability via the two seed companies, Cherokee Purple has become a very popular, widely grown and well regarded variety. Craig now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Cherokee Purple remains one of his favorite varieties in a tomato collection that numbers well over 1500 varieties.
I started mine too early so it got frostbite but it came back. When the weather finally warmed up it launched. I didn't find it particularly hard to grow. Just hit it with the miracle grow tomato formula every couple of weeks till it's about six feet tall then let it do it's thing. Although I did spend a lot of time picking suckers off of it after awhile. Other than that, the occassional sevin dust, water it like crazy, and they're about like the rest of my tomatoes. Just a lot bigger plant.
I had it in a four foot cage when we got storms the other day. It was over seven foot tall at the time and the wind just chopped it off above the cage and broke all those branches over. I figured it was fricked but the damn thing's just keeping on growing in spite of the broken branches.