How To Grow
Blue Ribbon Tomatoes That Taste
Like They Came Straight From Your Grandparent's Garden
"Old Time Tomato Kit™" Produces Delicious Nutrient Dense Tomatoes...
Best Tasting Tomatoes You'll Ever Grow!
Here's the exciting story...
Dear Tomato Lover,
Admit it. As a kid, you didn't "get" the whole tomato thing at first. When it was your turn to weed the garden, you grumbled under your breath that you didn't understand what all the fuss was about.
Until you saw those tomatoes grow and ripen right before your eyes, that is.
Perfect globes of red streaked with gold... hefty, misshapen beefsteaks... cascades of scarlet cherry tomatoes... tangerine-colored spheres with a ruby blush.
You ate those tomatoes with your eyes before you ever took a single bite... except for the ones that were overripe or damaged. Those, you threw at your brother. (Your childhood tomato fights were legendary.)
You Fell In Love With Tomatoes...
And somewhere along the way, between tomato fights and tomato sandwiches, tomatoes stole your heart. Maybe it was the sweet cherry tomatoes you snacked on while you were watering the garden. Maybe it was a late-night snack of freshly cut tomato slices on white bread slathered with mayo. Perhaps it was the combination of full and balanced tart-and-sweet on the tongue while the luscious aroma of sun-warmed, sun-ripened tomato wafted into your nostrils.
But whatever it was that made you fall in love, you've been looking to recreate that gastronomically thrilling experience ever since. You've had a hankering for that old-time tomato taste that has never quite gone away.
You've looked for it in stores, and you've been sorely disappointed.
Farmers markets got you a little bit closer... but it wasn't quite the same.
Even your neighbor's homegrown bumper crop that she shared with you last summer didn't have the taste that you remember.
Were you imagining it?
Did those tomatoes from your childhood really have a legendary, almost impossible-to-recapture flavor?
Here's The Best News Yet...
Good news, and more good news. You weren't imagining it... and it is possible to recreate the tomatoes of yesteryear. If you're thinking "heirloom tomatoes," you're on the right track.
You do have to start with good stock. That's a given. But it takes more than just heirloom seeds to get that old time flavor.
To get old time tomatoes, you have to recreate the old-time methods. For instance, back in the good ole' days, most folks didn't go to the store for tomato plants to plunk in their gardens. Instead, they planted the seeds that had been harvested from the previous year's crop. These were seeds that had been passed down for generations... varieties that had proven themselves, year after year, decade after decade... and delicious bite after delicious bite.
Old Time Tomatoes
Flavorful tomatoes also require rich, healthy soil. Home gardeners of your grandmother's generation wouldn't dream of drenching their soil with man-made chemicals. When families' food supplies depended on their ability to grow it, you can bet they took very good care of their soil.
But in the decades since, we've watched helplessly as fertile topsoil vanishes to the tune of over 1.7 billion tons per year. And what have we done with the remainder? We've burned and poisoned it with chemicals, until the soil is completely stripped of important minerals and microorganisms that help tomatoes grow and impart such wonderful nutrients and flavor.
If you want truly old-time flavor in your tomatoes, you have to nourish your soil. (No worries... there's an easy way to do that, and we'll show you in a minute.) But that's not all you need to grow old time tomatoes.
To grow tomatoes like your grandparents did, you need that good old-fashioned tomato-growing wisdom that grandma and grandpa had. And sadly, for most of us, it's too late to ask them. Fortunately, there are still "tomato coaches" out there... if you know where to find them. (We've got you covered there, too.)
There's No Better Feeling Than Growing Your Own Old Time Tomatoes!
To get that old time tomato flavor, you have to recreate the conditions they were grown in 50 years ago. If you want tomatoes that will take you right back to a warm summer's day in your grandparents' garden... tomatoes that will explode in your mouth with flavor... you'll love the Old Time Tomato Growers Kit™. The Old Time Tomato Growers Kit™ virtually recreates the tomato-growing process your grandparents used half a century ago.
Here's what that process looks like:
The First Step: You Start With The Absolute Best Tomato Seeds
Starting with good seed stock is essential. That's why we spent so much time meticulously selecting the varieties for the Old Time Tomato Growers Kit™. We chose proven historic heirloom varieties with high germination rates... but most of all we chose tomatoes for the way they taste. Once we decided on the variety, we coddled the seeds every step along the way, ensuring they're always stored at the precise temperature and humidity to ensure superior germination rates. The Old Time Tomato Growers Kit™ includes 10 different varieties renowned for their incomparable flavor. Here's what you get:
Amish Paste Tomato: Plant These, and Save the Planet
We exaggerate, but only a little. Amish Paste, at risk of extinction, has been designated as an Ark of Taste Food. By planting and eating this tomato, you're helping to keep it in production. One of 2011's favorites at our plant sale, this variety produces crack-free 8-12 oz acorn-shaped fruits.
This seed was said to originate from an Amish farmer in Medford, Wisconsin, and we believe it! The qualities of this tomato plant are true to its Amish heritage: dependable, honest, productive. But the real proof is in the paste; these tomatoes make a rich, hearty paste that will set a new benchmark for flavor. Firm and meaty, Amish Paste is an excellent processing tomato because it contains only a small amount of seeds. Gardeners and canners also love it because it is soooo meaty and juicy. So go ahead, fire up the canner, it's time to make paste! If canning isn't your thing, though, no need to worry about the paste police—you have permission to enjoy its versatility. Eat it fresh, as a slicer, or in salads. Indeterminate plants, 80-85 days from transplant. 100 seeds (a $6.00 value).
Aunt Ruby's German Green: Fried Green Tomatoes Will Never Be The Same
Unlike the unripe fruits of other tomato varieties, Aunt Ruby's is actually green when ripe. This beefsteak variety was a family heirloom from gardener Ruby Arnold of Greeneville, Tennessee. Ruby's immigrant grandfather brought it to America from Germany. These lime-colored beauties have been dazzling gardeners and cooks ever since. The plant produces 1-pound pale green fruits. The flavor is the perfect contrast of sweet against spicy. Don't be fooled by their pale green color; when soft to the touch, they're ready for harvest. Gardeners report they grow well in containers.
It's easy to see why in 2010 New York Magazine dubbed this New York's number one tomato. Qualities lauded by the judges: "bright acidity," "excellent sugar-acid balance," and "incredible juiciness." Aunt Ruby's German Green recently boarded the Slow Food Ark of Taste. With a sweet and rich flavor, meaty flesh, and buttery texture, it's incredibly versatile. Cook up a green sauce (why not?), or layer slices against fresh basil and mozzarella. Make an open-faced sandwich by layering a slice on top of some good bread, sprinkle with parmesan, and tuck under the broiler for a minute or two. For truly memorable eating, pursue the obvious: fried green tomatoes. Most people who make them use the green, unripe fruits of red tomato varieties. Use Aunt Ruby's greens instead; you'll be in culinary heaven, and your fried green tomatoes will become legend. Indeterminate, 80-90 days from transplant. 100 seeds (a $6.00 value).
Brandywine (Sudduth's Strain): Make Me A Sammich!
If lifetime achievement awards were given to heirloom tomatoes, this would be the hands-down winner. No surprise that it's onboard the Slow Foods Ark of Taste – this beloved tomato has long been recognized as the king of all heirlooms, and rightfully so. This legendary beefsteak variety sets the standard for flavor by which all others are judged. There are several different strains of Brandywine out there, but we think Sudduth's (from Dorris Sudduth Hill of Tennessee) is hands-down the best for flavor. Grown for over 100 years by the same family, it was first introduced to the public in 1979 by tomato grower Ben Quisenberry.
To eat Brandywine any way other than fresh, you'd be doing the flavor a grave injustice. We're talking Garden-of-Eden flavor—sweet, juicy, rich—whether you use it in sandwiches, salads, salsas, or anything else. (Don't make your BLTs with Brandywine unless you want to be spoiled forever.) This succulent, meaty tomato takes any sandwich from the ordinary to the sublime. Fruits easily hit the one-pound mark; many exceed two. Your plants will need to be staked or caged to support their weighty bounty. Many gardeners report 25-30 fruits per plant per season. Indeterminate plants, 80-90 days from transplant. 100 seeds (a $6.00 value)).
Caspian Pink: Watch Out, Brandywine!
Shortly after the cold war ended, this tomato variety made its way from the Caspian Sea region of Russia all the way to the U.S. This variety is a bit contradictory – it matures early (it's the earliest maturing beefsteak we offer), but also produces well late in the growing season. Maybe its origin by the chill sea breezes off the Caspian is what makes this tomato perform so well in cooler regions. Cracking is common, but it won't affect the rich sweet taste one little bit. If you like to root for the underdog, it may please you to know that many gardeners think this contender will soon knock Brandywine off its perch. Experienced gardeners recommend you let this plant sprawl rather than climb. This low-acid tomato is great for both slicing and canning. Medium-sized pink fruits average 10 to 12 ounces. Indeterminate, 80 days from transplant. 100 seeds (a $6.00 value).
Cherokee Purple: Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep
Most purple tomatoes are noted for their purple color and not much else. Cherokee Purple is known for its rich, complex, smoky flavor. No wonder it was invited aboard the Slow Foods Ark of Taste. Extremely prolific plants produce large crops of 12 oz. beefsteak tomatoes; its deep purple exterior often wears green shoulders. This strain was obtained from J. D. Green in Tennessee, who reported that the Cherokee Indians had given the strain to the locals in the late 1800's. There's nothing finer than a ripe Cherokee Purple just off the vine, cut into chunks, drizzled with good sherry vinegar, and sprinkled with a pinch or two of Celtic sea salt. Plants are indeterminate, but seldom grow more than 4' tall. 75-90 days from transplant. 100 seeds (a $6.00 value).
German Pink: Versatile and Hardworking
In 1883, when Bavarian immigrant Michael Ott set sail aboard the S.S. Main bound for America, he brought the German Pink with him. Michael passed along his best seeds to his son Baptist Ott, and then to Baptist's son Fidalis Ott. German Pinks are still grown today in Festina, Iowa by Dale Ott, just down the road from where his family settled. Michael's great-granddaughter founded the Seed Savers Exchange in 1975, starting with just two varieties passed down by Michael. The German Pink was one of them. Michael would be proud; today, his German Pink is listed on the Slow Foods Ark of Taste.
If you're looking for just one all-purpose tomato, this is it. Germans are known for their industriousness, and with its Bavarian origin, this beefsteak tomato lives up to its heritage. The German Pink has a tomato pink exterior (of course) and its flesh is cocks-comb red. Extremely versatile, it's excellent for canning, freezing, slicing, and juicing. Try eating it the way the Otts do – slice it up and sprinkle with just a little sugar. The plants produce large 1-2 pound meaty fruits with few seeds. Indeterminate, 85-90 days from transplant. 100 seeds (a $6.00 value).
Gold Medal: Everyone Loves A Winner
Gold Medal (a.k.a. Ruby Gold and Early Sunrise) is a classic bi-colored beefsteak reintroduced in the 1970's by Ohio tomato collector Ben Quisenberry. Early records indicate that John Lewis Childs, a seed merchant in the 1920's, was one of the first commercial producers of this tomato. He described it thus in his 1921 catalog. "It is a large luscious and superlatively beautiful fruit. Color outside ruby-red suffused marble and blended with gold. Inside a beautiful canary-yellow variegated with rich ruby... The fruit is very large, very smooth and of the richest flavor, lacking the rank acid of many tomatoes. Flesh also the most tender and melting of any tomato we ever tasted." When Ben Quisenberry reintroduced this tomato in his 1976 catalog, he described it as "The sweetest tomato you ever tasted. The yellow with streaks and blotches of red makes them very attractive and a gourmet's joy when sliced."
Gold Medal produces generously large fruits, often well over 1 pound. One home cook reports paying $10.70 at her local farmer's market for a single ginormous Gold Medal tomato. (Your backyard Gold Medal tomato patch could be worth a fortune!) You'll definitely want to enjoy this one sliced. (Try it on a grilled cheese sandwich with provolone and basil and turn an ordinary lunch into luncheon heaven.) Gardeners report that Gold Medal grows well in climates with cool nights. Gold Medals are robust early growers so seedlings are hardy to plant as early as possible. Indeterminate, 80-90 days from transplant. 100 seeds (a $6.00 value).
Green Zebra Tomato: They'll Be Green With Envy
With its distinctive green-on-green stripes, the Green Zebra is prized by chefs for its unique appearance. But its beauty is more than just skin deep. With an emerald green interior, and zingy, fruity flavor, it's fast becoming a market favorite... not to mention the envy of gardeners and gourmands everywhere. And all because 10 year old Tommy Wagner got the wild idea to crossbreed a striped green tomato. With encouragement from his Irish immigrant grandfather he persevered, growing tomato after tomato after tomato. After years of hard work, he had his prize: the Green Zebra. When he proudly showed it to the rest of his family, they told him such a strange looking tomato would never catch on. But Tommy never believed them, and he eventually grew up to become Thomas P. Wagner and started his own seed company. When Wagner introduced it for sale in his 1985 catalog, it was an instant hit. The Green Zebra has had staying power ever since. In 2008, Mother Earth News dubbed it one of the "20 Best Tasting Varieties."
Green Zebra yields medium-sized 2-3" fruits that grow in clusters of three to five. Best appreciated fresh, it's great for slicing, salads, and salsa, though some cooks report it works well in pasta dishes, too. How do you know when it's ripe? When the lighter areas turn a yellow popcorn color and the tomato softens just a bit. Indeterminate plants, 75-80 days from transplant. 100 seeds (a $6.00 value).
Hungarian Heart: Feel the Love
Hungarian Heart is an oxheart type with tomato pink exterior and interior. This strain originated in a small village outside of Budapest, Hungary, and was brought to the United States in 1901. When grown under optimum conditions, you can expect 10-15 fruits per plant. Its huge, irregularly shaped fruits often weigh one pound or more. One Pennsylvania gardener recently reported numerous 3-pounders! This amazing tomato rarely cracks, even when it gets big.
The savory flavor is delicious fresh, but stands up to canning and roasting as well. Cut up your Hungarian Hearts, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle crushed garlic over them, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes to let the flavors marry. Enjoy as a side dish with your dinner. (And if there's any left over after that – highly unlikely – throw it on top of some cooked pasta for your next meal.) If you're a canner, you'll love using Hungarian Hearts for your marinara sauce. Cooking with these tomatoes is a pleasure, by the way, because they're minimally seedy. That makes them good candidates for dehydrating, too. (Good for you, but bad for us; a dearth of seeds makes it harder for us to keep up with demand.) Indeterminate, 80-85 days from transplant. 100 seeds (a $6.00 value).
Tommy Toe (a.k.a. Steakhouse): Nature's Best Snack Food
This is the cherry tomato you'll be snacking on as you pull weeds in your garden. (It tastes great at all stages of ripeness.) And even a big snack attack won't put a dent in the harvest, because this prolific, vigorous plant cranks out hundreds of 1" fruits throughout the growing season. Just because it's little doesn't mean it's delicate; Tommy Toe has a good resistance to cracking and does well even during the dog days of summer. Thought to have originated in the Ozarks, this humble little gem is bursting with superb flavor. Tommy Toe has won many blue ribbons and taste tests around the world. Short on gardening space? No worries; Tommy Toe is perfect for container gardens. In addition to snacking, this tomato is great for salads, canning whole, and drying. Indeterminate plants, 75-90 days from transplant. 100 seeds (a $6.00 value).
It's Easy To Get
Involved Because Everybody Loves
Old Time Tomatoes!
With these ten varieties, you'll get a lifetime's worth of old time tomato flavor in a single growing season. But first, you have to plant them. Here's how:
The Second Step: Provide An Environment Where Your Seeds Can Sprout and Thrive
Don't let the thought of starting your own seeds intimidate you. Our Seed Starting Greenhouse, where your seedlings will be coddled until it's time to transplant them to the garden, makes it a breeze. (By the way, starting your own seeds gives you the freedom to try out far more varieties than are typically available at nurseries. It's highly unlikely you'd ever find the ten varieties in this Kit all ready for transplant at your local nursery.) We've taken all the guesswork out of starting your own seeds. No more messing around with paper cups and plastic wrap, or buying expensive paraphernalia: it's all here in the Seed Starting Greenhouse.
36 starter cells give you plenty of space to start a few of each Old Time Tomato variety. Each starter cell consists of soil medium in pellet form. Just add our Old Time Tomato Grow™ to a quart of warm water, pour into the waterproof tray, and you'll be ready to plant your seeds in minutes. Once the seeds are planted, the humidity dome provides the right protective environment to help your tomato babies thrive. You'll need to spend less than 5 minutes a day checking and watering your seedlings. The Seed Starting Greenhouse is durably constructed and can be reused year after year. If you could find this at your local garden supply store, you'd pay at least $10 for this unit.
The Third Step: Get Up To Speed With
Essential Reference Book
In The Old Time Tomato Grower's Guide, written especially for this Kit, we explain it all. Includes instructions for everything from starting your plants to saving your seeds. It explains precisely how to use your Seed Starting Greenhouse with detailed instructions and photographs. Packed with information about each variety including history, growth habit, harvest and use, you'll find this is the "go-to" reference for old time tomato gardening. It has a retail value $10.
The Fourth Step: Nourish Your Soil
The secret to growing great tomatoes is in the soil, not in the amount of chemical fertilizers you dump onto the plants' roots. Old Time Tomato Grow Soil Feeder™ is our own special blend of natural soil foods with beneficial bacteria and symbiotic fungi to process the nutrients into available food for your tomatoes. Restoring the microbial life in your soil is the secret to providing constant and renewable food for the plants. It even fixes nitrogen from the air, making it great for tomato growth and development—and it encourages root growth, which will help to strengthen the plant before the time comes for flowers and fruit. With a retail value of $10, Old Time Tomato Grow Soil Feeder™ is one of the best things you can do to ensure abundant, nutrient-rich, flavorful tomatoes.
The Fifth Step: Give Your Seeds A Jumpstart on Germination
We've got another secret, and it's called Old Time Tomato Seed Starter. Our own blend of natural ingredients, this solution will jumpstart your seeds, giving them a head start on the growing season. Soaking for just seconds produces seedlings in only a few days, by unlocking the dormancy of the seed so that it can start growing almost immediately. Seed Starter has a retail value of $10.
Let's Recap Everything You Get
The Old Time Tomato Growers Kit™ gives you everything you need to grow mouthwatering, delicious old time tomatoes.
You get 1000 seeds total, 100 of each variety, a $60.00 value.
You get the Seed Starting Greenhouse, a $10 value, to help sprout and nourish your seedlings.
You also get The Old Time Tomato Grower's Guide, worth $10.
You also get Old Time Soil Reviver (with a retail value of $10), to replenish deficient soil and provide a nourishing medium for your tomato plants to grow in.
And you get the Old Time Tomato Seed Starter (valued at $10) to get your seedlings growing fast.
Why Are We Practically Giving Away This Kit With Over 1000 Tomato Seeds?
Everything, if bought separately, would cost you $100. But we're not going to charge you even half that. And here's why...
Over the past 100 years, botanists tell us, the world has lost over 90% of known vegetable varieties. That's a travesty. We don't know how many of those lost plant species were tomatoes, but we do know this: to save them, you have to plant them... and we want to encourage as many people as possible to plant the old heirloom varieties. That's why we're offering the Old Time Tomato Growers Kit™ at such a low price.
Old Time Tomatoes
Are Easy To Pick,
But Hard To Carry
To Grandma's House Without Sneaking A Bite!
In fact, the great thing about heirloom seeds like these is that from here on out, you have the opportunity to keep these tomatoes from going extinct. Because they are true heirlooms (and not modern commercial hybrids), you can save the seeds from each harvest to plant again the following season. You'll have seeds to pass down to your children, your grandchildren, and your grandchildren's children. I'm sure you'll agree that $29.97 is a bargain when you consider that you can have tomatoes year after year without spending another dime on tomato seeds.
It may seem like a long way off, but planting season is just around the corner. To order your Old Time Tomato Growers Kit™, click below.
Or, if you prefer to order by phone
You can even order by mail if you wish. Simply send $29.97 plus $9.95 shipping and handling (total $39.92), to:
Attention: Old Time Tomatoes
2200 Illinois Route 84
P.O. Box 518
Thomson, Illinois 61285
To Your Gardening Success,
P.S. Heirloom seeds are not an industrial product. Supply depends entirely on small, fiercly independent farmers who are passionate about keeping these varieties alive... and that means some of the varieties in the Old Time Tomato Growers Kit™ are in very short supply. We only have a limited number of complete Kits available. So be sure to order yours today to avoid disappointment.
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