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goodwin September 22, 2013 10:54 PM

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I have been out collecting seed in the pouring rain. In the last week, a foot of rain has fallen - more than we often get in a year. The tomato plants are drooping, but it is getting close to the end of the season for us.
Anyway, Jan and I plan to offer a few new tomato varieties from our breeding projects next year. We also will add to our list of Eastern European tomatoes and offer new strains of chile, beans, and Hopi corn. Here is a little gallery of mostly new tomatoes. A couple were trialled this year. I would welcome hearing how our seeds did where you are, and I hope everyone is doing well on the first day of fall!

clkeiper September 22, 2013 11:16 PM

Hi Lee, I grew Bosque Blue and Yellow Submarine this year....and I think one more, but not positive.

Bosque Blue was much tangier than I was expecting, but it had a nice flavor. It larger than I was expecting, for some reason I was expecting a smaller tomato. Mine is between a salad size and small slicer, maybe 3oz on average and I was expecting all the tomatoes to be blue, not just the ones exposed to sunlight, silly of me to have expectations instead of waiting to see what it would be. I gave away the plants for a project this spring and I had only one person come back and tell me what a nice plant it was. He said it was the nicest/hardiest tomato in his garden this year, (which for our area that is a miracle this year...most tomatoes not sprayed with a fungicide died an early and painful {for us} death) but I don't think it has started bearing very well for him, yet. Mine is in a hightunnel and loaded with fruit.

The Yellow Submarine is loaded and ripening fast and furiously, but much later than I was hoping for. I wanted it for my farmers markets and I now have only one left and it is just starting to bear well. I don't know what I will do with all the fruits. They, also, have a nice flavor. Not overly sweet, but not sour either. I will give both of them another go next year, I think.

RobinB September 23, 2013 02:53 AM

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Hey, Lee!
I grew Ambrosia Gold, Ambrosia Red, Submarine Blush, and Starfire Isis this year. My Ambrosia Gold plants are giving me two sizes of fruit. I found the smaller fruited plant in 2011, saved seed, and found it again in 2012. I got some fresh seed from you in the Spring and planted both. As you can see, there's a difference in size. The taste is very similar, but the smaller fruits are a bit sweeter. Which is it supposed to be? I'm sorry I didn't take a photo of both together and the season is winding down now and the nights are getting cold (38° last night!) I just picked the last of the larger AG fruit today and the smaller fruited plant has a few left and they are just beginning to turn. Ambrosia Red, which I had never grown was one of the tastiest red cherries I've ever had. YUM!

Starfire Isis has a wonderful taste and is very prolific! A friend, who was visiting, tasted one and said, "now, that's what a tomato is supposed to taste like!" My stripes were not quite as pronounced as the ones in your photo, but the color is spectacular, it's such a bright orange. My plant was very tall and viney. I don't see it on your website right now, but I could swear the description said it was a "tree-type?" At any rate, it's a definite keeper!

Submarine Blush was really sweet and tasty too... and very prolific. Mine were mostly not multi color, but some were a little bit blotchey. Toward the end of the season they are now a solid apricot color. Another definite keeper!


Salsacharley September 23, 2013 12:16 PM

Amazing tomatoes!

I just ordered a bunch. I wish I knew about you earlier.


tlintx September 23, 2013 02:45 PM

I can't say much about taste, as I live in a sauna and grow tomatoes primarily for the foliage and soul crushing, presumably character building disappointment, but Copper Currant is a lovely specimen and has grown admirably in dappled sun.

Starfire Isis (next to the Copper Currant) isn't doing quite as well, but it looks pretty healthy, especially compared to everything else. None of my other cherries survived the summer except Pink Bumblebee.

I wouldn't want to make assumptions, but neither Copper Currant nor Starfire Isis seems bothered by whatever it is that killed my other plants off. Definitely on the list for next year!

goodwin September 24, 2013 12:01 AM

Thanks everyone - the feedback is invaluable. The Ambrosias and the Copper Currant have wild genes which may help a bit with whatever is going around. Good photos, Robin. Do either of your Ambrosia plants have that spicy, skunky aroma? The smaller one is closer to the Sugar Drop which came out of that line. I would hang onto it. Perhaps we can trade some seed.
I've noticed this summer some of the tomatoes did not color up until later. The blue tomatoes (with the exception of Midnight Select) need direct sunlight and cooler temperatures. There is a thread here where some of us who are working on the blue tomatoes post results. It is good to hear the Bosque Blue is doing well. It seems to be a larger, more vigorous plant than the other kinds of blue tomatoes out there.
I had a chance to visit last night with Tom Wagner about his work with breeding tomatoes, blue varieties, and what I was doing. We agreed this business of developing new tomatoes is rewarding, but not always well-compensated. I plan to offer a couple of his stable varieties, and return a fraction to him, and I encourage everyone to support Tom's work.
Charley - hello neighbor! If you are up in Santa Fe some weekend, Jan and I will be at the market until the first hard freeze. It's always fun to talk tomatoes.
I plan to upload some of the new varieties to our home website by the weekend. Again, if there is anything you would like to sample, just let me know here.

RobinB September 24, 2013 02:02 PM

Absolutely I can send you some seed! You've been so generous, it's the least I can do. My life is kind of chaotic right now with homeschooling my son and DH went back to school full time... As soon as the garden is done, I'll have a little bit of time to think! It's blustery today with yet another cold front coming through tomorrow and Thursday. The forecast is calling for three consecutive nights under 35, so the end is near I'm afraid.

I don't really smell anything different about the Ambrosia plants. Do you have to crush a leaf to smell the aroma you're talking about? I didn't try that.

I look forward to perusing your website to see what you've been working on!


Salsacharley September 24, 2013 02:52 PM

Hi Lee,

Are you all at the market in the Railyard?


austinnhanasmom September 24, 2013 04:53 PM

I grew these:

tomato -
Lee's Sweet Starfire Isis Jan's Muchacha

Lion's Tail - flower

Nativo Chile
I had excellent germination on all. They all grew well for me too.

Jan's, Lion Tail and Nativo Chile are must grows now.

Nativo started small, pinky length, and has a perfect size now, 4-5" x 2" and a really nice heat.

Will order again when you're done saving seeds!!

natural September 24, 2013 10:20 PM


I ordered and grew these:

Starfire Isis - Same results as RobinB (without any striping). This was a large viney plant versus a short bushier plant. Really productive and great flavor. It also had really distinct pattern of fruitset. There was a main cluster (typically 8 fruit) and then a side-branch with 2-to-3 additional fruits. Really cool. I was hoping for a little more pronounced striping, so I may order these again.(though I would definitely grow these even without the striping)

Sugar Drop - I grew 6 plants of this. 3 looked like the photo on your website (round and orange) and 3 looked similar to RobinB's photo. Really good flavor and productive. I liked the pale orange pointed version.

Bosque Blue - average producer, flavor was good when dead (and I mean dead) ripe.

Midnight Select - these were the exact same as Bosque Blue. Same size etc.

Bosque Bumblebee - I really liked the flavor of this one. Fair-to-Good production.

Submarine blush - had a more subtle blush than I expected. Very productive as expected. I did have a lot of splitting but it was very wet here this Summer.

Looking forward to trying more next season.


goodwin November 10, 2013 07:52 PM

Hi everyone -

It sounds like the Sugar Drop Bill and Robin got is falling into two groups - either lighter gold and pointed or deeper orange and round. The right one is the lighter one with that little point. I grew four this year and didn't see the other type. And it's great to get some idea about production on that tomato and others. Any any observations about possible disease resistance (as tlintx noted) or the lack of it is good to know.
We had a summer that started out hot and dry and then took a cooler turn. That meant that anything over 75 days was a bit later, but then they really came on. Unfortunately, an early freeze the second week of October took most of our tomatoes out, but I saved quite a bit of seed. Charley - it was great to visit! We just made it to three more markets after that.
This year there are a half dozen new varieties we are releasing for trials. They should be stable, but this is always an adventure. I was also working with some cold-tolerant strains and so I have the breeding stock for those and some wild tomatoes I used. Everything is updated in the main catalog and I'll post a revised list a bit later. Thank you for all your observations.

goodwin November 13, 2013 01:01 AM

Hi again,
I've been working to build our 2014 catalog, and I think it's ready. We're excited about some of the new varieties we're releasing and pleased to add a number of other tomatoes, peppers, corn and melons that have done well for us. As promised here is the list, and I hope you can find room for a few.

[U]Our releases for 2014[/U]
Baby Blue, a blue cherry
Black Shadow, from our Painted Blue
Golden Tiger, a striped versionof the Bosque Bumblebee
Matt's Black, cross of a cherry tomato with a Russian tomato
Painted Pink, beautiful blue and pink salad/cherry tomato
Rancho Solito, ultra-early salad/cherry tomato
Royal Purple, unique shape and color
Snow Prince (trial), a good-sized white tomato with blue genes
Snow Cherry (trial), a true white cherry tomato
Strawberry Tiger (improved), striking gold stripes on pink

[U]New tomatoes[/U]
Belye Nochi
Cafe Bule
Crnkovic Yugoslavian
Little Julia
Muddy Waters
North Queen
Polish Linguisa
Principe Borghese
Rozovyi Gigant
Stump of the World

[U]New peppers[/U]
El Rito land race chile pepper
Hernandez Hot traditional chile pepper

[U]Additional corn varieties[/U]
Country Gentleman shoepeg corn
Hopi Native
Japonica Striped Maize
Pod corn (stable colors)

Bolitas (traditional dried bean from Nambe Pueblo)
Lundquist Swedish Nut (dried bean)
Cranberry Pole Bean
Fortex Pole Bean
Neckargold Pole Bean
Franklin Red Cowpea (crowder bean)

Crane Melon (Eel River)
Licorice Mint
West Indian Gherkin
LA 1777
LA 1028
LA 1269

Thanks to all the wonderful people here!

tnpeppers November 13, 2013 10:32 AM

I grew Bosque Bumblebee, Ambrosia Red, and Strawberry Tiger in Earth Boxes...Sugar Drop plants were in 'Global Buckets'...The three in Earth Boxes produced way beyond expectations, Sugar Drop less so; but that was because I didn't have room for them in the EB's. I supplemented them late in the season with Texas Tomato food, which gave everybody a shot in the arm unlike anything I have ever seen. Ambrosia Red kept going until the frost finally killed was my LAST plant in the garden at season's end; along with Heritage's Bi-Color Cherry. I will be growing ALL of them next year.

goodwin November 13, 2013 11:26 PM

It's good to know they did well, but the end finally comes to every season. Well. sort of... I'm thinking about planting a few containers this winter with tomato crosses I made earlier in the summer. It sounds like that Texas Tomato Food is a solid product, and this might be a chance to try it.
I'm looking forward to hearing how things go next year. Enjoy the holidays.

gill_s November 14, 2013 07:07 AM

Lee, I am afraid that I did not keep a note of which of the Dwarf varieties I had from you, as trial samples, so I shall tell you of my experiences with all I grew.

The dwarfs I grew where:-D Mr Snow, D Wild Fred, D Kelly Green, Yukon Quest, Rosella Purple, Summertime Green and Summertime Gold.
This year, as last, they were not suited to outdoor growing in the UK, even though they were against a S. facing wall. They were all very late setting and needed to ripen up indoors. Eventually Summertime Green and Gold gave a large crop which ripened indoors and kept good flavour. I shall try some of them next year in the greenhouse. All apart from Rosella Purple were much taller than expected and I had to stop them at 5 foot due to lack of available height.

The other varieties from you, Banded Amazon and Fioletovyi Kruglyi, were grown in a greenhouse.
Banded Amazon was not very productive. The first truss had flowers which just did not develop. Later trusses did set but the main stem then became blind and I had to let a side shoot develop which was then all rather late. I was expecting it to be Indeterminate. Should I have let it bush? The flavour was OK but not special.
I had difficulty with Fioletovyi Kruglyi at the germination stage with the seed leaves and first true leaves being very pale. This resolved itself, although all the early growth was much paler than usual, but then turned quite a dark green, compared to other varieties! It was very productive but the fruit did not keep well and I am afraid I did not like the flavour.
We did have a very cool and dull Spring. The Summer when it did come was good and we were helped by a mild Autumn.

goodwin November 14, 2013 09:06 AM

Hi Gill,
It does sound like you had an unusual year. Your dwarfs turned into giants! I've grown several in the field rather than containers and they do get larger for me, up to 4 feet. I have not grown Mr. Snow or the Kelly Green, but that is true for the others. Tomatoes do not need much nitrogen and an excess can lead to plants setting poorly or fruiting later. You probably kept that well-balanced, so I don't have an explanation except the vagaries of weather and climate.
The Banded Amazon has very short internodes, but it is indeterminate. Did you try to grow your Kumato tomato again? I had a couple of plants from your seed and they did well. The foliage was sparse, but production was early and steady. They were good-looking tomatoes with decent flavor, and kept very well.
I'm hoping the work several of us are doing to increase cold tolerance in the tomato will result in new strains that will flourish in more northern latitudes.
In the meantime I believe the key is to do what you are doing - keep trying a number of different varieties and save seed from any that show promise. The advantage of open-pollinated versus hybrid stock is that given time, open-pollinated varieties can adapt.

gill_s November 14, 2013 11:30 AM

Thanks for your reply, Lee.
Yes, I did grow Kumato again and it did very well. Early on the flavour was OK, but sweet without enough acid balance. However, later in the season it was much better, with better acid balance. As usual it is one of my good standbys.

Varieties which did do well, outside, here were Red Siberian, Clear Pink Early, Vorlon, Grub's Mystery Green, Maya and Sion's Airdrie Classic and Yellow Scotland. Red Siberian especially retained its flavour very well when 'finished off' inside. They all produced very well, but especially Yellow Scotland which was laden with tomatoes. Unfortunately they didn't keep too well once picked! I don't know whether those varieties will give you any material to work with for the 'cold tolerance' project.
There is one hybrid which I shall always grow for its reliability, Late Blight tolerance, production and flavour is Fantasio. It is one I can rely on for outside in our climate.

One of the introductions I had from you, Lee, which I love and will always be included (for the greenhouse) is Maria Amazilitei's Giant Red. It is superb!

goodwin November 18, 2013 08:29 AM

Thank you for all the information. I have a couple of the varieties you mentioned, and should track down the others. I plan to start in the greenhouse right after the holidays and give some of the lines I'm working with a real dose of the damp and cold. Right now we are having a beautiful sunny weather, but January here is usually a different story. Carolyn Male sent me the Maria Amazilitei's, and I've grown it every year since as well.

roper2008 November 20, 2013 10:03 AM

Hi Lee. I only planted 1 sugar drop plant this summer, and I see you saw my
review on GW. My tomatoes were lighter in color with no point, and the
best flavor,when the weather cooled off here. We have a very hot & humid
climate. Should have taken a picture of the sugar drop, but they looked like
in your picture.
I bought Starfire Isis seed last year but didn't have the room for them. For
sure next year.

goodwin November 21, 2013 10:58 PM

Yes, I was glad to get some idea of how that variety, Sugar Drop, was doing. It has been quite an adventure to stabilize the line and bring it this far. Jan and I have been getting the moonrise yellow ones with the little point pretty consistently for the last three years, and so it has replaced SunGold and SunSugar in our market lineup. We are market gardeners selling both retail and wholesale produce locally.
The Starfire cherry tomato is later and larger and produces in big flushes about every other week. Cooler weather seems to bring out the best contrast, and it also develops wonderful flavor by late summer. Anyway, I know there are a lot of great varieties out there, so anytime folks can save a bit of space for one of mine, I appreciate it.

goodwin December 29, 2013 12:32 PM

I took some time over the Christmas break to upload the new varieties from our breeding program and reorganize things. There are now categories for early tomatoes, container varieties and cold-tolerant varieties.
We spent some time testing for cold-tolerance and I still need to post those results on another thread. Today I'm starting some of the crosses as well as the first tomatoes for the farmers markets. It is always fun to get going on a new year and imagine how it will turn out.

goodwin January 12, 2014 04:36 PM

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Well, the new seedlings are popping up and it was a nice day here so I took them out for a bit. Some are our new varieties that I want to take an early look at, but we also like to get to the markets with field grown tomatoes before the rest of the farms around here.


tnpeppers February 24, 2014 02:54 PM

Hi, Lee! Just received my package of seeds in the mail out here on the East Coast...thrilled with the 'free trial' pack of Esmerelda Golosina...thank you so much!

goodwin February 25, 2014 11:02 PM

You are welcome! Thank you for the order. If you see anything else you would like to try, PM me and I'll send a sample. I imagine you are still digging out from the winter storms, but spring will be here before we know it.

comamma February 27, 2014 06:45 AM

Wild berry
Can you tell me more about the flavor of LA 1269 'Wild Berry'? Does it reseed? I am intrigued. You have an awesome catalog, someday I will have enough space to add more.

goodwin February 27, 2014 09:21 AM

hi comamma -

Its a current tomato (L. pimpinellifolium) and has a kind of earthy flavor - some would say a hint of mushroom - but sweet. If you have tasted Coyote or Sara Galapagos, its like that. The plants are prolific and would naturalize in warmer climates and also cross easily with other tomatoes.
I am using LA1269 to add late blight resistance (Ph-3) to several varieties.
Where are you in Colorado? I grew up in Durango and we still have the family place there.

comamma February 27, 2014 11:37 PM

Thanks! I am in Kremmling, between Silverthorne and Steamboat Springs.

goodwin April 29, 2014 08:32 PM

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First ripe tomato in the field - it is officially tomato season! This year it was a Snow Cherry from a selection of Joe Rarus's Pink Champagne. These plants are in the ground, but under plastic because the nights are still freezing and the wind has been ferocious. You can see the gritty sand on everything.
Not far behind is my Painted Pink which is just starting to blush. This season we'll carry a bunch of Joe's varieties in a separate section - he has done some remarkable work.

RobinB April 30, 2014 10:35 PM

Wonderful! I'll have to get some Snow Cherry for 2015, it looks early! I got two from Joe Rarus in a trade in 2012, the Pink Champagne and another red cherry he called "Pop My Cherry." His notes said that he found this when stabilizing Pink Champagne. I couldn't fit in PMC last year, but I've got some healthy seedlings for it this year. It looks to be another tall one. Is Snow Cherry tall?

goodwin April 30, 2014 11:51 PM

hi Robin -

The Snow Cherry is more bushy, maybe reaches 3-4 foot here. I'm glad to hear you are growing some of Joe's varieties as well.
I hope to offer Casino, Casino Chips and Mini Mexico which are already being carried by others, as well as Pink Champagne, Chocolate Beefsteak, Green Honey, and Super Nova. He also sent me some varieties he's collected that need to be trialled - just incredibly generous.
It sounds like your season is off to a good start. We'll have to trade information on how things do this year.


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