Kitchen Gardening

Plant Pink Heirloom Tomatoes

One of my favorite things about heirloom and open-pollinated vegetables is discovering the amazing array of color variation.

  • Photo by Neil Conway under the Creative Commons Attribution Licnese 2.0.
  • Photo by Rubber Slippers in Italy under the creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
  • Photo by Heydrienne under the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.

One of my favorite things about heirloom and open-pollinated vegetables is discovering the amazing array of color variation. And heirloom tomatoes have beautiful hues in spades.

This year I promised my Sugar Babies (granddaughters) that I’d plant pink tomatoes in the garden. Admittedly we’re not talking about “Hello Kitty” pink, but pink in comparison to their red counterparts. Some varieties offer variations such as purplish-pink or dusky rose. So which tomato varieties come in pink? Lots.

Here’s a short list of some pink heirloom tomato varieties:

  • Pink Brandywine — This is the darling of the heirloom tomatoes. Matures at 1 – 1 1/2 lbs; 90 days to harvest.
  • Caspian Pink — One of my favorites in terms of flavor. This Russian matures at 1 lb or more; 80 days to harvest.
  • Depp’s Pink Firefly — Beautiful dusky-pink beefsteak type with iridescent freckling (“fireflies’) ; 85 days to harvest.
  • Belize Pink Heart — Heat-shaped and burgundy-pink; 78 days to harvest.
  • Ferris Wheel — Seed Saver’s Exchange brought this bad boy back from neat extinction; 90 days to harvest.
  • German Pink — Awesome 1-2 lb fruits; 85 days to harvest.
  • Grace Lahman’s Pink — a heavy and prolific producer; 75-80 days to harvest.
  • Pink Oxheart — This is a pretty, oval-shaped fruit; 85 days to harvest.
  • Rose — Rose is an early producer; 75-80 days to harvest.
  • Royal Hillbilly — A purple-pink variety; 80-90 days to harvest.
  • Pink Honey — These irregular-shaped fruits from western Siberia are 1-3 lbs!
  • Rose de Berne — We can thank Switzerland for these 4-6 ounce fruits; 70-90 days to harvest.
  • German Lunchbox — Egg-sized variety; 70-80 days to harvest.
  • Mrs. Benson — Fruits are 1 lb and have old fashioned flavor; 70 days to harvest.
  • Missouri Pink Love Apple — Large fruits with rich flavor; 80 days to harvest.
  • Millionaire — Coral-pink and sweet; 80 days to harvest.

Don’t assume that heirlooms and open-pollinated tomatoes are hard to grow — plant them for yourself and decide if this is true for you. Every year 99% of all of the tomatoes in my garden are either heirloom or open-pollinated varieties and I rarely have a problem.

They key is knowing that many (not all) of them need a long growing season and you have to choose varieties that thrive in your area. You may be overwhelmed at the sheer number of tomato plant possibilities — but don’t panic.

Contact an heirloom seed company that’s as close to your growing zone as possible and find out which types they reccomend. Don’t forget to visit a local, independent nursery (or even a garden center) and they’ll be able to steer you towards the right varieties.

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