Every year, there are certain tomatoes that I grow because they have been proven in our garden; they are consistently excellent and I can count on them. Tomatoes like Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Ukranian Purple, Italian Heirloom, Hungarian Heart, Sun Gold… I could go on, but I’m pretty sure I’ve written about all of these tomatoes before. Today I want to share some varieties that you may not know and that are also in my garden for the first time. I’m finding them very exciting and I think you might, as well.
These are all from Wild Boar Farms, local to us in Vallejo. Brad Gates is the owner and main propagator, and he is famous for his wildly colored tomatoes. I’ve grown his Pink Berkeley Tie Dye in years past and liked it very much, so when I saw him at the Heirloom Expo last year, I bought a few new kinds to try.
First up is Indigo Apple, a small slicer or salad tomato, which starts out green with deep purple shoulders and then ripens to a reddish plum color. They also have these funny little horns.
The second is called Brad’s Atomic Grape, which is probably the tomato Wild Boar Farms is most known for. It’s a grape tomato, but an extremely large one, larger than some of my plum/paste tomatoes. It starts out green with deep purple stripes and then turns a deep red/purple/green stripe.
The third is a cherry, absolutely prolific (maybe the most prolific cherry in our garden so far), called Blue + Gold Berries. These apparently take quite a while to ripen and we have yet to get any even close to ripe. They start out blue and white, and then deepen to a rich gold color. I’ll have to show you how they look ripe at a later date!
The fourth tomato that I am trying is a slicer called Black Beauty. It is almost entirely black, but the inside will apparently be a deep, rich red when ripe.
There is a fifth I’m trying called Lucid Gem, but the colors in that one will show on the inside when it’s ripe - it’s supposed to look like a stained glass window. At the moment they are still fully green, so not much to see there.
All of these have heightened anthocyanins, the compound that gives them these rich dark colors. That means that they are particularly good for us (although all tomatoes are good for us, truly).
The one drawback is that they are all hybrids, so the seed won’t come true if you save it and plant it next year. But, I’m happy to support Wild Boar Farms and this fabulous propagation project by buying fresh seed. These tomatoes add so much color and interest to the garden and, eventually, our plates!