Blacks


It appears that there is a defining line between many calling themselves “Black Tomatoes“! Some have no tolerance for cold and others have no tolerance for heat! In some cases, the cold intensifies the color and in others…the heat has the ability. In some varieties, the cold enhances the flavor and in others the cold gives the variety a “boring, bland” taste and causes the fruit to rot! What makes this so hard to understand, is that the majority of them seem to come from Russia! This category has proven to be very interesting! The only way you will know for your self, is that you grow a few…no maybe more than a few! Try a couple dozen!  N.B. Trialed out the famous trio of BLUE tomatoes. Have ample seed to offer. Check out my experiences!

Will remain online for educational purposes. Operating on a “Hobby” basis.

Occasionally we may have “extra” seed. Pkts. found below will be $2.50. If nothing marked…then it is “N/A”.

  1. P20 Blue – (aka OSU Blue) A release from the Oregon State University, using conventional breeding methods. This same coloration is responsible for the blue/purple color so commonly seen in blueberries, blackberries and chokecherries. This pigment’s presence is said to have antioxidant properties. Now, like everyone else…I like a good story. [Additional information rec’d: “Please note that this is not “Indigo Rose”, as you asked…For sure “P20″ is part of the parentage but “P20” is not the same as “Indigo Rose”. “OSU Blue” was one of the first of Dr. Myers’s selections and it, by itself, was never released by Dr. Myers as Tania noted. Seeds, shall we say, kind’va escaped from Dr. Myers lab, one person who worked there offered them at the Tomato Forum at GW and when I asked her about it she just said no one told her she couldn’t and she never asked. But…she wasn’t the only one distributing seeds….Solana Seeds] “They” said, foliage also turns purple under cold conditions, as opposed to “Purple Smudge” that turns purple when exposed to more hot sunny conditions. In my trials of this variety this summer, I found this one to be less exciting in flavor from all 3 “Blues”. However, the production were identical to “Indigo Rose”. The size and coloration of the fruits were also identical. Plants were about 30″ tall. Fruit sizes ranged from 1 oz. to 3 oz. Trusses offered up from 5 to 7 fruits per. Most unusual…however, the fruit was able to stay ripe on the vine for a long time. When/if deterioration was to start, it always began where the stem was joined to the fruit. In my trails, the foliage of both (mentioned) varieties, turned dark purple, as it matured, be it cool or hot. And exciting addition for anyone’s garden! 80 days     Pkt…$2.50
  2. Ananas Noire – Developed by Pascal Moreaw, a horticulturalist from Belgium. One of 2 as being the most bizarre fruits I have ever grown…AND one of the tastiest! The outer skin (check it out in my Photo Album) of these huge beefsteaks are a combination of black, purple, yellow and green stripes and overtones. The flesh is green/yellow blended with deep purple/red! Appeared in a patch of “Pineapple” tomatoes and remained stable…as an oddball. Large plants have regular leaves and offer fruits of substantial sizes…18-24 oz. Hard to photograph. Everyone is raving about it! Of special note, this variety behaves and looks very different from the “Black Pineapple” that is offered…despite people trying to lump these 2 together. Ind. 80 days   Pkt…$2.50
  3. Black – heirloom from Russia. Mahogany brown with green mottling. Others say “darkish, brown-red skin”……”interesting brown-black skin”…..”large bronze colored” fruits. Compact plants (2-3ft.) offering wonderfully, rich tasting fruits. Delicious blend of sugar& acid…a typical “BLACK COMPLEX FLAVOR. Some folks say, this variety is the best tasting black of them all, with “smoky” overtones. A good yield of nicely shaped, medium round fruits that will mature to 10oz, or less at 4oz. Plenty of seeds. Does well in hot weather. Ind. 73 days
  4. Black and Brown Boar – So many varieties from Brad Gates’ collection are perfectly suited for our “Novelty” section! Here is another eye catching medium to large var. bearing a brick red base, over which aggressive dark greenish brown stripes run. Most show bulging sides and certainly no 2 will be the same. Flavor is said to have a nice smoky acidic touch. Should be real fun to grow. Ind. 75 to 85 days     Pkt…$2.50
  5. Black Cherry – (aka Cherry Black) 2004…bred by Vince Sapp, husband of Linda Sapp, who owns Tomato Growers Supply Co. from a heirloom variety of unknown origins, known to be around since 1940! The first truly black cherry tomato! Perfectly round (1-1 ½”) fruits with that classic “black” (dusty pink/purple/black) look and sweet wine-like, rich, acidic flavor. Plants are vigorous (7ft), always offering plenty of fruits….all season long. An incredible seller for farmers’ markets! Volunteers have no problem showing up for years after some plants have been grown there! Ind. 45-65 days       Pkt…$2.50
  6. Black Ethiopian – (aka Ethiopian Black) Back for 2017! From the Ukraine. Be prepared for extremely heavy production of deep reddish/brown/bronze 5oz luscious plum-shaped fruits. One of the darkest colors known. Plants and fruits are a knockout! Flavor is pure ambrosia, rich and tangy. A highly prized tomato of the world. Resists cracking. Ind. 80 days   Pkt…$2.50
  7. Black from Tula – Russian variety from Tula. Deep mahogany/purple/brown beefsteak tomato, which just happens to be the largest of the blacks (4” to 5”)….very flattened shape. Shoulders are green. Flavor is rich, sweet and smoky…..very delicious! The outside skin is very smooth, with some ribbing in the actual shape. Another “seedy” type. This variety is very productive (with very little care….) and seems to set well, even when the weather turns hot & dry! Ind. 75-80 days   Pkt…$2.50
  8. Black Giant – Another top performer of past years. Color was quite different from the typical “Black Brandywines“. Fruit was extraordinary …2 lbs anyone? Loaded ALL over the plants! Another classic smoky/sweet flavored tomato with more fruit than leaves! Plants grew to only 3 feet…really very small for such monster-sized plants! One of my top 4 favorite blacks in 2009. Ind. 75 days   Pkt…$2.50
  9. Black Icicle – from the Ukraine. In my 2012 tomato trials, found these to be a stunning, deep purplish brown (almost black) elongated “Roma” with very defined sharp tips! Loves the heat. Has very rich flavor-sweet with earthy overtones, like typical blacks”! Very untypical for a Roma with such flavor. Best tasting in its class. Super juicy.     Pkt…$2.50
  10. Black Krim – In 1990, Olov Rosenstrom of Bromma, Sweden found this Russian heirloom from the Crimean Peninsula by the Black Sea. Dark brown/red (Others say….”large black beefsteak that appears: black/brown…dark, gray/black or purple/black”). Sufficient sunlight (and heat or cold) will bring out deeper dark colors in the blacks! 10-12 oz. fruits offering rich sweet flavor, with a hint of saltiness. Some say even 1lb fruits are possible. Fruits overall are unusually ugly, in a pretty sort of way. Some cracking is possible, but a heavier production will make up for that. If picked before fully ripe….cracking can be prevented. Ind. 75-90 days   Pkt…$2.50
  11. Black Oxheart – the first true from seed black “oxheart” developed by Brad Gates of Napa, CA. Maybe the first one of its kind! Delicious heart-shaped fruits, deep purplish brown with rich flavor. To seed collectors, this is a “must have”! This variety shows some irregularity in shape and form. Fruits (from 2011 trials…) ranged from 6 to 12 oz. Plants have regular leaves which are slightly wispy. Fruits are 8-14oz…a real winner! Ind. 66 days      Pkt…$2.50
  12. Black Pear – [First introduced into the SSEx. 1997 Yearbook by Glenn Downs, the owner of Sand Hill Preservation Center, who obtained the seeds from Suzanne Ashworth, the author of the book “Seed to Seed”, who acquired the seed from Moldovan…SSEx Yearbook 2011] Here is a STUNNING, 8-10 oz.( gray-brown, brownish red, gray-red & green, green/brown/red – everyone has a different color for it!) Bartlett, pear-shaped tomato fruit! Plants have the potato leaf gene and produce bountifully. Fruits are unusual: 5.5” long and 2.5” wide, bearing 4 seed cavities and 3/16” walls! Flavor is again complex, sweet with some salty overtones. The fruits are fairly juicy, with creamy texture and red flesh. Ind. 80 days       Pkt…$2.50
  13. Black Pineapple – Wild coloring on the inside of this one – deep green, yellow, red and purple! Fruits are large, with weights at 1.5 lbs. Skin is very smooth and shape is very oval/ rounded. Not similar to “Ananas Noire” as some have lumped these 2 together. Outside coloration is less wild…offering mostly smoky purple base with gentle green/brick red overtones. Superb flavor…smoky, sweet and citrus at the same time! Heavy producer here at Mandy’s. Ind. 80 days     Pkt…$2.50
  14. Black Plum – a Russian commercial variety, offered at the S.S.Ex. in 1995. Small elongated oval or plum-shaped fruits are gray/green/black OR mahogany/brown/black with green shoulders on the outside. The flesh is dark red/brick…sweet, meaty and dense. The denseness makes them excellent for drying. The fruit size ranges from 2” to 2.5”. The 3.5 ft. plants tend to sprawl and will force out an all-time-high yield. Some say that these will turn into better sauce than the Italian Roma! A rare brown tomato with a mahogany crown…stunningly attractive. Super in salads. Ind. 83 days       Pkt…$2.50
  15. Black Prince – Back for 2017! Originated from Irkutsk, Siberia. Deep garnet/brown/black fruits are perfect round globes of 6-12 oz with brick red flesh and green gel seed cells. Their taste is great…a lovely blend of old-fashioned with the smoky, rich and sweet. The fruits appear not to be as frail as “Black Krim” (less thin skin…) therefore no cracking has been noticed. Plants are not too large, staying around 3 ft. Harvest when the shoulders still have a hint of green. Always a reliable and interesting variety for me.(as you will soon find out! ) Ind. 70 days    Pkt…$2.50
  16. Black Prince (Horny) – sorry, but I can only describe these as I see them! A ? stable offspring of the above mentioned variety, which for reasons I cannot explain, had some fun in-store for me! In plant trials of 2009, 60% of “Black Prince” had some unusual characteristics. Perfectly round black fruits bearing 1 and up to 3 horns each! They were just as tasty…only now they looked more interesting. (check out photos on Flickr…)
  17. Black Roma – Very rare variety. No tomato ‘colored’ section would be complete without at least one Roma in each batch! And finally here is a small sized paste version, offering chubby pear shaped fruits that are solid with great eating and cooking potential. (hello Wendy!) Fruits appear to be a brownish brick red, over thrown with black. Some green shoulders. Flesh is deep red-black. Less juice than our “Black Icicle“. Great storage variety. Ind. 70 to 80 days
  18. Black Sea Man – One of the most compact varieties in the “Black” family…only about 34”. This does not stop them from pushing out fruits like no tomorrow. Another Russian tomato that carries the potato leaf gene. The fruits are medium-sized, (100-200g) muddy brown with green shoulders. The slices from this one is very intriguing, gray and brick red blends. For some reason it does not like the heat. The flavor on the other hand is bold and tasty! Determinate 70 days    1 Pkt…$2.50
  19. Black Star – from Russia, as most of our “Blacks” are. Here is another excellent & beautiful variety, with purple/ pink/brown outer skin and emerald green shoulders! Fruits are huge (16oz) and ribbed, for a black beefsteak! Flavor is earthy, spicy and sweet. High producing plants that also grow taller than most. Ind. 80 days
  20. Black Zebra – a natural cross stabilized for 10 years – a Jeff Dawson selection. Like “Green Zebra” except with a “Black” purple background! A stunningly perfectly round 2”-2.5” globe of black/brown skin with jagged green stripes running round! Others describe it as: deep red to caramel colored skin beneath vertical dark green & mahogany streaks. WOW! Rich, smoky flavor with a nice tasty tart “kick”! As most “Zebra” varieties are known for tons of production. Texture is chewy and crunchy. Flesh is deep burgundy. Ind. 75 days
  21. Black Zebra Cherry – Another very rare version of the above. Cherry sized fruits with dark brick red base over run with wild jagged stripes of dark greenish brown. Chewy firm flesh is a wonderful smoky tangy sweet flavor. Plants do not get too tall (about 3-4 ft.) great for a smaller garden. Heavy production! Semi-determinate. 75 days        Pkt…$2.50
  22. Blue Estonia – (aka Blue) from Estonia through the S. S. Ex. 1999. A distinctive variety that shows a brown/black variety with a “Blue” cast and green shoulders. Plants have potato type leaves and will grow to 4 ft. One grower described it as having: small, fluted, flat maroon beefsteaks with very blue-gray shoulders. Everyone agrees that the flavor is indeed very nice. Fruits range from 4 to 6 oz. Determinate 61-75 days
  23. Blue Streak – Where do they get these names from? Intense deep purple blue tomato with an underlying orange red base. Lots of sun can make the color scheme here. How often would you get a chance to display a truss of these black & blue beauties in your garden? Pretty enough for the flower beds too! In my trials this summer, I found this one to offer the very best flavor from all 3 “blue” varieties. The fruits were also much larger by far, from 4 to 6 oz. Plants were also not too tall, about 30″. Get your requests in early as these will not last long!  Ind. 78 days     Pkt…$2.50
  24. Brandywine Black – a purple-maroon cousin of the famous “Brandywine” family. A large (…just smaller) flattened beefsteak of very dark mahogany pink color. The fruits offer a winey, fruity, yet tangy flavor and smooth texture. They can reach 8-12 oz, are blocky & flat and because of their smooth, thin skin, I would not recommend that they stay around too long anywhere! (Yum!) Plants are not as vigorous as their cousins and come in regular and potato-leaf forms. By all accounts, reports indicate that this variety may not always be reliable and stable, due to its inherent genetic nature. Ind. 80 days   1 Pkt…$2.50
  25. Brandywine Black (True) – Finally someone thinks they have found the original! Was in a collection of William Woys Weaver of Pennsylvania. One of the biggest tomato seed collectors of all times and a devoted member of the S.S.Ex. (A larger history can be obtained from B. C. Seeds. Thus far…was a controlled cross between “Brandywine” & the original “Brown Beefsteak” tomato otherwise know as “Fejee Improved“…now extinct.) Earthy, sweet flavor…and known for some cracking. Trailed out and what a pleasant surprise. Huge sizes (all were 1 lb plus!) with smoky, black/green/purple tones on flattish to round formed fruits. (No cracks!) What a production! Fairly early for such a monster. Taste is a classic “Brandywine” only better. Clusters contain 3 to 5 fruits. A KEEPER! Ind. 75 days      Pkt…$2.50
  26. Brown Prince – another unusual “colored” tomato variety. Described as having beautiful “chocolate/earthy” brown skin and reddish brown flesh when grown in full sun. Great tangy flavor. Fruits are not too large…6-8 oz. Plants are medium in height and fairly productive, with regular leaves. Ind. 70 days
  27. Carbon – one of the blackest of the “Blacks”! A purple/brown variety with clay/olive interior. Fruits are oval to round, medium beefsteaks with a flattened form and grow from 8 to 12 oz. Their flavor is modestly rich and sweet. They do not display any cracks, blossom end rot or blemishes. Won a taste test of 10 heirloom varieties at the Cornell Research Farm. Ind. 80-85 days
  28. Cherokee Chocolate – Said to be a stabilized version from Cherokee Purple. Another beautiful mahogany chocolate colored 10 to 16 oz variety that bears all the celebrity flavor of its predecessor. Plants are aggressive, healthy and highly productive. In one trial, found a large sample of these that looked identical to a large bagel! If one looked at its outside edge, it was a joined seam…in the middle! If you turned it to its “top”, there was a perfect doughnut hole, straight through the middle where a stem or blossom end should have been. To make matters more interesting…there was also a seam on the inside! The wonders of nature never cease…    Ind. 78 days   Pkt…$2.50
  29. Cherokee Purple Back for 2017! An old Cherokee Indian heirloom from pre 1890’s. Unique flattened globes of a dusty purple/rose with smoky sweet flavor! Crops are heavy with 12oz sized fruits. Centers are deep brick red. Fruits are thin skinned, soft, smooth fleshed and very perishable. So EAT QUICKLY! Plants will perform well in hot dry conditions. Ind. 70-80 days     Pkt…$2.50
  30. Chocolate Cherry – Move over “Black Cherry” ! There is a new kid on the block and he is looking handsome! Unusual skin tones of dusty rose/purple/dark chestnut brown. Small 1″ cherry fruits that also offer same colored flesh, combined with incredible full sweet/salty/spicy with fruity overtones! Plants are known heavy producers, all season long (Just what the kids ordered) Folks have pulled this one out, just prior to threatening frost and hung them up… continuing to harvest the remainder, as long as they lasted! Ind. 70 days   Pkt…$2.50
  31. Chocolate Stripes – comes from seed collector & heirloom gardener, Al Anderson in Troy. Ohio. He says it is a cross between Schimmeig Creg and a unknown Big Pink beefsteak. Another medium to large, slightly flattened beefsteak globe. That’s where the ordinary stops…as the color on & in these fruits are amazing! Deep reddish “barn” brown (some say burnt orange) flesh, all covered over with reddish orange skin, bearing lime/green (some say neon chartreuse) stripes! Wow! Rates high in the taste trials with its sweet fully rich flavor. 75-80 days
  32. Frankenstein Black – From my friend Micky. I don’t know where she finds these strange named beasties. ? Dev. by Joe Bratka of New Jersey. A 12 to 16 oz purple brown fruit with green shoulders. Flavor is super unusual for a “black”…tart and quite acidic BUT very tomato! leaves are regular and plants are productive. Ind. 80 to 87 days
  33. Gypsy – I received this one as a gift. As far as there is recorded history, Gypsies have been around, traversing the globe. This variety has been named for the Gypsies of Russia and introduced by Soviet plant breeders. Said to be one of the most deepest purple/maroon black tomato ever grown. A perfect medium size with gorgeous color and equally terrific flavor. Ind. 75 to 85 days.
  34. Indian Stripe – (info. c/o H.H. Seeds…) Thought to be a distinct strain of “Cherokee Purple“. Found in the possessions of 84 year old Clyde Burson, who has grown it as long as he can remember. Fruits are quite large beefsteaks, deep purple, with green shoulders and occasional striping. In 2012 trials, showed much striping, making this one extremely attractive to the eye as well to the palate. Flavor appears to be outstanding, with true “Cherokee” influences. Plants bear regular lvs. and grow only to 3-4 feet. Ind.
  35. Indigo Rose – Finally Oregon State University has gotten back on board and refined a tomato beauty. One of the first varieties released, offering a true purple blue, almost black coloration! According to Jim Myers, a hort. Prof. there “…so called black tomatoes have the green flesh gene which prevents normal chlorophyll breakdown. A brown pigment called pheophytin accumulates & has a brownish color that makes a muddy purple when combined with carotenoids. “Indigo’s” gensis began in the 1960’s… Breeding for the antioxidant potential of the purple anthocyanins in fruit is the most important goal of the OSU breeders. This new variety is intended for home gardens and market gardens.” An open pollinated variety! Large cherry type hanging in long truss formations. In my trials of this summer, these are indeed a “cherry” type, where fruits do not form larger than 1 to 3 oz. Flavor was not outstanding, but production was great! If my memory served me correctly, this variety was shorter by far, reaching only 18″. It also did not have the dark foliage form. Trusses offered anywhere from 5 to 8 per. Gorgeous eye candy and the rage of gardeners today. Ind. 80 days    Pkt…$2.50
  36. Indische Fleisch – Have heard this one could be a non-commercial variety from Germany? A medium-large (6-12 oz) variety, slightly flattened, very dark purple/brown fruits with green shoulders. By all appearances, the inside looks just awful with chocolate colored flesh, BUT they are very “Yummy”! Susceptible to cracking and rotting (if much rain falls, later in the season…) The saving grace is the flavor which in my opinion is better than most “Brandywines”! Production in 2012 trials was outstanding! (See Flickr photos…) Ind. 80 days     Pkt…$2.50
  37. Japanese Black Trifele – (aka Japanese Trifele Black, aka Jaapani Truffel, aka Yaponskiy Trufel ) Believe it or not, appears to have originated from Russia (as many of our Blacks have), but with the name “Japanese”! Leaf form for this variety is potato-leafed. The fruits are very interesting, like a very smooth “Bartlett pear”, with dark reddish brown skin base, blending into black/green shoulders. Flesh texture is a combination of “Roma” and “Blacks”. Skin is perfect, very smooth with no defects! Terrific “salty/smoky” taste! One of the prettiest “roma-looking” varieties I have grown. 6-10 oz. fruits. My vines grew only to 36″ and plants showed strong rugose type growth. Ind. 70 days      Pkt…$2.50
  38. Noire de Crimee – another Russian heirloom of great interest. Dusty brown/black fruits of 3-4 oz having some green shoulders (and a brick red overtone) at maturity, with green gel around their seeds. Carolyn Male says “with superior flavor to Black Krim”…rich, smoky and sweet. And I will concur…having eaten almost all of them! Some cracking noted. My plants in 2011 grew to 5 feet. Heavy yields. Ind. 75 day
  39. Nyagous – originated with seed supplier Reinhard Kraft of Germany, who offered this one to the USDA. Another unusual tomato variety that offers shapely globes of dark brown/red/black skinned fruits with smooth shoulders. Most fruits grew in clusters of 3 to 6, maybe the only known black “cluster” tomato. The flavor, some say is outstanding…aromatic, earthy, rich with a meaty texture. Wow! I just hated cutting these up! Most were oval or flattish Beefsteaks, ranging from 8oz to 1 lb.+. Flavor for me in 2009, considering the kind of year…was salty and “tomatoey”! Plants were not big or aggressive. Ind. 66-75 days      
  40. Purple Calabash – resembles tomato pictures in 16th century herbal diaries. The “Ugliest” tomato in the world! So ugly…it is pretty! Fruits are flattened, ranging from 3″ to 4″ across, medium to large, convoluted, fluted, ruffled and truly the most darkest purple/pink tomato variety that I have grown. If it receives a lot of sunlight, the color intensifies to brownish purple! Saving grace is its excellent wine-like, very rich flavor and its ability to tolerate extreme drought and heat conditions. It is very juicy! Because it possesses some of the thinnest skin of all tomatoes, its time on the vine is limited…so pick often, as it is very perishable. The plants are not overbearing or large, yet the harvests are heavy. One of my all time favorites for flavor AND looks! Ind. 75-80 days    Pkt…$2.50
  41. Purple Russian – (aka Russian Purple) originally from Irma Henkel of the Ukraine. Interesting purple/brown/red, paste variety with gentle rounded tips. These dark “Roma-like” fruits are 4” long x 2.25” wide, with 7 seed cavities, .25” walls, brownish green gel that is sweet, fruity & tangy. The texture is crunchy and meaty at the same time. Skin (to me) was like that of a baby’s bottom! The flavors are well balanced. Good cold tolerance. Folks have said that fruits will crack, if under hot dry drought conditions. However in my trials of 2011, with these exact conditions, the plants showed NO signs of cracked fruits. Wispy foliage, yet strong plants! Ind. 68-80 days       Pkt…$2.50
  42. Purple Smudge – unknown history. A rare heirloom variety that impressed me when I first grew it in 2003. The plants grew to great heights, over 6ft. then. The stems, the undersides of the leaves and the tops of the fruit (while still green….) all appeared as though someone had splashed purple paint on them! The fruits were the size of golf-balls and turned pink (with purple shoulders….) when ripe. The fruits formed in clusters of 3 to 5 with many, many clusters per plant. Production was great! The taste was not strong….just a gentle tomato flavor. Ind. 75-80 days
  43. Sara Black – (aka Schwarze Sarah) Originated in Germany. Grown by Joe Bratka’s grandmother’s sister for years. Simply put…a purple/maroon slicer! 3”-5” flattened beefsteak shaped beauties of striking deep rose/purple outside, with green & red overlays inside! The flavor is to die for, unique and excellent…considered one of the best. Plants “poop” these large fruits…like no tomorrow! Plant in rich soil. It can handle it! Ind. 75-80 days
  44. Turks Muts – (aka Turkish Turban) Obtained this wee variety from tomato extraordinaire Ken Cook of Dunbarton, NH. Am told the name translated from? Dutch, as Turkish Turban. An unusual “translucent/clear skin” black/dusty rose/purple/grey fruit with green shoulders, 6 to 10 oz, ribbed or very fluted with excellent sweet and smoky flavor. Potato leafed plants were very prolific in 2014. Ind. 70 days      Pkt…$2.50