Tomato, True Black Brandywine
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80-90 days. Potato leaf. This fine variety was sent to us by our friend, famed seed collector and food writer, William Woys Weaver, of Pennsylvania. It was passed down to him from his Quaker grandfather’s collection dating back to the 1920s. As to its history, Will states “The ‘true’ Black Brandywine was bred sometime in the late 1920s by Dr. Harold E. Martin (1888-1959), a dentist turned plant breeder who is best remembered today for his famous pole lima with huge seeds. Dr. Martin lived in Westtown, Penn., only a few miles from my grandfather’s place in West Chester, and the two were gardening buddies. It was through that connection that his grandfather managed to wheedle seed out of the good doctor, as well as the details on how he created it. Dr. Martin always had a high opinion of his plant creations and did not like to share them. He charged 25 cents a seed for his lima, unheard of in those days. And he never released his Black Brandywine to a seed company, nor did he share it with many people, so I am fairly certain it never circulated among growers like his popular lima bean. According to my grandfather, Black Brandywine was a controlled cross between Brandywine and the original brown Beefsteak tomato otherwise known as Fejee Improved. Fejee Improved is probably extinct.” We thank Will for entrusting us with this great-tasting tomato that is extra large in size and full of the deep, earthy and sweet flavor that has made blackish-purple tomatoes so popular. Some fruit tended to crack, but the yield was heavy, and the plants were vigorous and did well in our hot Missouri summer. Superior for salsa and cooking. We enjoyed these all summer, both fresh and in countless recipes. A great home garden variety that will surely become a favorite.
Minimum Seed Count: 25
Image and description courtesy Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds/Rareseeds.com
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