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Historical background information for varieties handed down from bygone days.

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Old January 27, 2010   #16
stevenkh1
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Hi everyone, I was happy to find this thread because I want to grow WVa heirlooms this year and you all have helped quite a bit. I was able to find 7 names from this list at Tomatofest and ordered most of them. I wondering if some varieities just cannot be found commercially? Penitentiary? Mountaineer Mystery? I've done some searching with out success. Any leads would be greatly appreciated.
SSE, Victory, Baker Creek, Totally Tomatoes, etc may have a few of these WVa varieties.

I've been searching for Cosner - but I haven't had any luck.
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Old February 3, 2010   #17
Dave Tenney
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I've been keeping a list of WV tomatoes for a few years...This should be pretty accurate. I remember as a kid in the early 80's that my uncle Hugh in Buchannon WV (who was an old man when I was a kid) grew a big yellow tomato he called a "Breakfast" tomato. Was it Kelloggs Breakfast? Who knows, but it seems like the same tomato to me (not that that proves anything)

Dave

Tappy's Finest
1884
Kelloggs Breakfast
Giant Syrian
Hillbilly
Akers WV
Mortgage Lifter
Old German
Striped German
Golden Ponderosa
West Virgina Straw
West Virginia 63
Germaid Red
Gallo Plum
Toensfeldt
Cornish
Bower
Bilder
Transparent
Big Sandy
Belgiam
Armenian
Cindy's West Virginia
Yellow Cookie
Homer Fike's Yellow Oxheart
West Virginia Penitentiary
West Virginia
West Virginia Yellow
Mountaineer Mystery
Dr. Suds Capon Bridge
Cosner
Paw Paw
Irish Pink
Mountain Princess
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Old February 5, 2010   #18
farmall
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Watermelon Beefstake is another WV heirloom found by my grandfather in the 1957. His 1957 catolog says it was grown for nearly a century and found nearly extinct in a town in WV only grown by a couple of neighbors.

Adam
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Old February 5, 2010   #19
mjc
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Kellog's Breakfast IS NOT a 'WV tomato', I found that out quite conclusively during my compiling of this list. Between the original listings in the SSE yearbook and Carolyn's comments, it pretty much puts to rest that idea.

Armenian is only a WV 'pass through'...

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Originally from Armenia, as per Charlotte Mullens of West Virginia, who was the original source of the seed in 1990.
Adam, I'd be interested in seeds for that one, if any are available. Are they being offered this year?
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Old February 5, 2010   #20
carolyn137
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Looking at my 1991 SSE YEarbook I see 3 listings for it.

One says an 1800's heirloom and seed source was The Tomato Seed Co in 86( now defunct, was in Metuchen, NJ) via another SSE member and the accession number is 42 which means it entered SSE in perhaps the very first year, which was 1975.

The second person cites Gleckler's in 1986 as his source.

The third person just says 4.5 " and that's Thane Erle and that's the way he descirbed almost everything he listed. Sigh.

One problem is that thru the years some have listed is as a red, but most list it as a pink.

With regard to some I listed above, like the penetentiary one, I'm sure they're obsolate by now. I had searched my older Yearbooks for some of them but back then SSE wasn't sending money to folks to pay for a lister to send in seeds for a new variety listed, so no doubt many of those died when the person died or got too old to garden and never passed along the seeds to someone else.

Carolyn
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Old February 5, 2010   #21
farmall
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Carolyn
Look in our 1957 seed catolog that I sent you a copy of. Think that was the year I sent you. That was the year my grandpa first listed it and it is a pink large tom 1-2 pounds with green shoulders usualy. A very nice tomato. I have seen some list this as PL. it is regular leaf.

mjc
My seed is origional pm me and I will send you some.

Thanks
Adam
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Old February 5, 2010   #22
stevenkh1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Tenney View Post
I've been keeping a list of WV tomatoes for a few years...This should be pretty accurate. I remember as a kid in the early 80's that my uncle Hugh in Buchannon WV (who was an old man when I was a kid) grew a big yellow tomato he called a "Breakfast" tomato. Was it Kelloggs Breakfast? Who knows, but it seems like the same tomato to me (not that that proves anything)

Dave
Small world...my mother was born in Upshur Co and her people (Wilsons) were some of the early pioneers/founders of Ireland, Rock Cave, and Buckhannon back when that area was part of Lewis Co. In fact, Ireland was named after "Ole Ireland" Andrew Wilson. Those Wilsons that your Uncle knows are my mother's people. Small world indeed.
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Old February 8, 2010   #23
Dave Tenney
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Most of our family is from an area close to Tenmile. My Great-Grandpa Bailey was the postmaster for that area, as well as the funeral director. That area of the state is just beautiful. Tenmile's about 8-10 miles from Ireland. From what I know, both sides of our family settled in that area in the 1820's. Lot's of seed savers down there!

Dave
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Old February 8, 2010   #24
stevenkh1
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Most of our family is from an area close to Tenmile. My Great-Grandpa Bailey was the postmaster for that area, as well as the funeral director. That area of the state is just beautiful. Tenmile's about 8-10 miles from Ireland. From what I know, both sides of our family settled in that area in the 1820's. Lot's of seed savers down there!

Dave
I just noticed your last name...I remember as a kid, Dad (Brady) used to talk about some Tenneys he knew down in Braxton County (where his people are from). Small world indeed...

Dave - after my grandparents died off, all those old seeds they brought up from WV were lost. My Mom's mother (who was a Payne/Braxton Co) used to plant by the moon and swore by it. She's say she'd "git taters as big as grapefruits". I plant by the moon as she did but I wish I had those seeds.

Mom wants to head down to WVa later this summer; I plan on hitting the farmers markets there in Webster Springs & Buckhannon to get some half runners, ramps, and tomatoes.

Take care,

Steve
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Old February 28, 2010   #25
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I grew West Virginia Straw back in the 2008 season. It's a pink tomato that averages 3/4 -1 lb, and is listed as 85 day, potato leafed. I bought my seed from Marianna's heirlooms. I found it to be rather tasty with an a concentrated taste, like taking a spoon full of tomato paste from a small can of say contadina tomato paste. Only it didn't have that metalic taste that you find in canned tomatoes. I thought it was somewhat acidic at first till my palette slowly registered the sweeter overtones that took a minute or two to catch up.
I made a note to grow it again but for some unknown reason it didn't make the 2009 gardens. It's not scheduled for this years either, but through no fault of the tomato...I'm simply cutting back to about 10% of my normal tomato plantings, and I have too many that are considered better tasting here!
I know that doesn't give you history on the variety like your looking for, but that's all I can contribute!
Camo
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Old March 1, 2010   #26
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Thanks for the info...it sounds like one I want to add to my collection.
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Old March 10, 2010   #27
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Wow! I'm impressed by the comprehensive lists of WV tomatoes y'all have. I'm just now finding this thread. There are some varieties listed that I've never heard of.

I don't know that I can provide any added value to this discussion, but that's not going to stop me.

Dr. Suds - Miss Maggie is a sweet sweet person. And I'm not just saying that because she tends to ask me to speak at tomato related events she sponsers. She's done a lot of wonderful community work here in the area. Angie used to list it in the SSE Yearbook (WV FA A). I don't think she listed this year, but she probably has seeds.

Cosner - My friend "Spud" Raney found this one down in Braxton County WV. Apparently it's pretty popular in the region. We (Spud and I) assumed it was a family heirloom since Cosner is a local name in that region. That has since been verified with the assistance of Carolyn. Thanks to Carolyn! I list it in the SSE and I still have a fair amount of seeds left. It's a good tomato, but you better hope it isn't a good year for Early Blight or Septoria Leaf Spot.

Paw Paw aka Paw Paw Yellow - A customer of Spud's sent him 12 seeds of this variety for trial and we each took 6. We hadn't grown it and in the description they sent they said it was a yellow tomato. So we named it for the town from which it came (Paw Paw, WV) and added yellow. When we grew it out we found out it was a bi-color and started dropping the Yellow part of the name. The people at work still call it Paw Paw Yellow and it is hands down one of their favorites. Paw Paw is probably only about 30 miles away (as the crow flies) from where I live, but it takes upwards of an hour to get there (secondary roads).

Irish Pink - My friend Tom Edwards got this when he worked on a summer job for plummers. They were of Irish descent and had this tomato from their grandfather. Tom is in his late 60s and he got the tomato as a teenager so it's been around for a while. It's a PL pink beefsteak with thin skinned blemish free fruit. The fruit averages about 12 oz. You know how sometimes you might want something a little different. Well, that's what this one is. I guess the tomato tasters at work like something different because it came in 4th last year. I list it in SSE and my seed supply is good.

Trees Bottom Yellow (aka Tree's Bottom Yellow) - Even though it is from the Lurray VA area I named it after a place in WV. My friend Tom Edwards got this one from the mother of a pupil of his. It didn't have a name and I always associated it with Tom's garden which is about 100 ft. from the Potomac river. That part of the river is called, you guessed it, Trees Bottom. So, I started calling it Trees Bottom Yellow. BTW, Mr. Trees was the original land owner. I list it in the SSE and my seed supply is a little low. But, I have to grow it because I wouldn't want to face my mother and my aunt if I didn't. Oh they'd probably put a hurtin' on me if I didn't grow that yellow tomato (that's what they call it). Other people list it in the SSE and the seeds came from me. Most of the listers (all?) say the flavor is outstanding in their descriptions. I can't say I disagree. Even though it is not from WV it is named for a place in WV so that's gotta count for something right?

Randy
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Old March 11, 2010   #28
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The East Fork of the Potomac outside Romney is a beautiful place I used to go with a childhood friend. Her family had some land there & we would ride ponies to the working railroad trestle & climb up to jump into that cool, clear water, over & over - what a way to spent a hot & dusty afternoon - perfection. Those I suppose I ended up looking like a little round Irish Pink by the end of the day LOL.

Would love to get a hold of some of those Trees Bottom Yellow & PawPaws sometime when your stock is replenished. Grow them in Patsy's honor.
Got some last minute Straw based upon camochef's comments. Hope they'll like what our climate has to offer.
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Old March 15, 2011   #29
puttgirl
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Man, too bad the WVA penitentiary is probably obsolete.
I was going to say maybe that's why my watermelon beefsteak does so well for me (not far from WVA), but mine is PL!
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Old March 15, 2011   #30
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