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Heirloom Spotlight: Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

Cherokee Purple Tomato

The Cherokee Purple Tomato is one of our farm’s favorites and one of the originals that began in the backyard. Though it is one of the most well-known heirloom tomatoes, there is a very good reason for that. The taste of this tomato really says it all. Just one bite and we are sure you’ll agree. The fact that this tomato can grow in so many different climates really helps, too!

It all began with a man named Craig LeHoullier, a retired chemist from North Carolina. One day in 1990, LeHoullier received a packet of tomato seeds in the mail with a handwritten note. The sender, from Tennessee, wrote in the note that these tomato seeds came from very good tomatoes that he’d gotten from a woman who received them from neighbors. The neighbors said that the varietal had been in their family for 100 years and that the seeds were originally received from Cherokee Indians. LeHoullier grew the tomatoes in his own garden that summer and fell in love with this purple gem. So much so that he coined the tomato Cherokee Purple!

*Resource: Seed Savers Exchange