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Historical background information for varieties handed down from bygone days.

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Old January 7, 2013   #16
jerzey
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I just read through this thread and did a site search and didn't see the mention of Purple Calabash being grown at Monticello, as mentioned at this link: http://www.monticellocatalog.org/600071.html

Then I found a thread on GW where Carolyn debunks that claim: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/l...122421786.html

So, my question now is, if the seed was donated to the USDA in 1963, where and when did it originate before then?
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Old January 7, 2013   #17
Tania
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According to GRIN, Purple Calabash was donated by Texas A&M University. No more info about where it came from is available there (they don't seem to capture that information )

http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs...lay.pl?1220048

Interesting narrative!
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Source of Crl, cr2 genes for crimson color and high lycopene parentage in new 'High Crimson'; fruit purple.
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Old January 7, 2013   #18
jerzey
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It was such an interesting narrative that I grew it last year before I had discovered this forum and your site. I love growing tomatoes with a story, both for myself and to excite folks at market, so unfortunately I spread some bad info this past summer as a result of my gullibility...
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Old January 7, 2013   #19
carolyn137
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Originally Posted by jerzey View Post
It was such an interesting narrative that I grew it last year before I had discovered this forum and your site. I love growing tomatoes with a story, both for myself and to excite folks at market, so unfortunately I spread some bad info this past summer as a result of my gullibility...
I read the link you gave above and my comments about Purple Calabash.

What I didn't say in that post was that it was Will Weaver who wrote the blurb for Monticello and he was the one who gave the seeds to Monticello. Last I knew he was a very good friend of the Director or Garden Manager there.

Purple Calabash was not known when Jefferson was at Monticello. I have all of Jefferson's garden books and they make for great reading, but what he grew often had no names, some did, and I once wrote them down, but lost in the many moves I've had to make.

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Old January 9, 2013   #20
b54red
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I did extensive research in that area a year or two ago. The earliest mention of a black tomato from what I found was Filipino #2. http://doublehelixfarms.com/filipino-number-2 and its sister tomato Nagcarlang

http://doublehelixfarms.com/nagcarlang

After quite a bit of research I began to question the heritage of many of the tomatoes that were being called heirloom. I could not find any documentation to substantiate Cherokee Purple coming from Native Americans. My search actually led me to Fayetteville Arkansas and Dr. Joe McFerran. I had a conversation with him about some of his projects including the ones that he abandoned. One of those projects involved working with the gf gene. Apparently, the University of Arkansas under his direction tested dozens and dozens of varieties during the late 50's through the early 70's. Also from what I found in some of my research is that the main reason for the interest in the gf gene was it's possible link to setting fruit in cool temps. I believe this is why the germplasm ended up so heavily in the U.S.S.R.

The U of A and Dr. McFerran were interested because of its purported ability to set fruit in high humidity. There were several "black" tomatoes created by Dr. McFerran but they never went into production because of poor testing to consumers. It had nothing to do with production or taste. Farmers could not get anyone to buy a tomato that looked like that. Dr. McFerran said they had some test varieties he bred that were outstanding but it was impossible to overcome the look of being "spoiled" and the project was dropped. Dr. McFerran went on to introduce Traveler (Arkansas Traveler), Ozark Pink, AR7985 and Traveler '76. There is also a tomato called Pope, which he was one of the breeders for too.

He also told me he had a cocktail tomato that was pink, sweet and crack resistant. It went to California and into commercial production sometime in the 70's. He could not remember what the name was if any. He only knew it by a test number and could not remember that number either. I have had no luck trying to track it down but is one of my pet projects. The reason I want to find it is that he bred tomatoes to be sold as "vine ripe" and not shippers. This is not a common persuit with most Universtity breeding programs. All of his tomatoes taste pretty good and have some excellent qualities.

Another interesting note about black tomatoes and Dr. McFerran is that he did not recall if his introducing the gf gene into his breeding work came from Filipino #2. It did not ring a bell with him at least.

It is my opinion, and just an opinion, that Cherokee Purple and many other "heirloom black tomatoes" were just escapees from the U of A testing grow outs in the same way as the O.S.U. Black tomato was introduced. I don’t think it really matters whether it came from Arkansas, Russia or is its own mutation and was saved by Cherokees. I am just glad it made its way to Craig and got introduced to the world. I personally find it hard to believe that a tomato as good as Cherokee Purple could have remained a secrete for a century or more. I think it has only been around since about the 1960's or even later and the story was concocted since I don’t believe that the gf gene was present within breeding stock prior to the 1950’s.


It is interesting to note that at one time Arkansas was a very large producer of tomatoes and the state was known for their "Pink" tomato. Most of the pink tomatoes that came out of the state were Dr. McFerran's creation "Bradley". It was a snowy February day in 2011 when I last talked to Dr. McFerran. You would not believe how excited he got when you brought up breeding tomatoes. It was during my last conversation with him that he revealed that the Bradley tomato was not named after the big tomato producing county in Arkansas that shared the name, but was in fact named for his Father. He passed away later that year at the age of 94. He was a very nice man.
Wow, great info. It makes sense because two of the most productive tomatoes for me during the very hot and humid summers here in south Alabama are Indian Stripe and Cherokee Purple. I always thought all of the blacks came from Russia and wondered why some of them did so much better than most other tomatoes in the heat and high humidity of the deep south. The Philippine connection sure sounds reasonable. That may be why some of the blacks do so much better than other blacks down here.
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Old January 10, 2013   #21
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Just a side note
Majority of Russian hobby gardeners grow their tomatoes in greenhouses, where it is very hot and humid. So there is surprise for me that so many Russian varieties do very well in the south.
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Old January 14, 2013   #22
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Originally Posted by Fusion_power View Post
There are 5 separate mutations to the same gene that result in black tomatoes. ...

Ananas Noire gf
Black Crimson gf
Black Zebra gf
Carbon gf
Cherokee Chocolate gf
Cherokee Purple gf
Green flesh (LA3534) gf
Indische Fleish gf
Schwarze Sarah gf

Black Plum gf 2

Black Brandywine gf 3
Black Ethiopian gf 3
Black From Tula gf 3
Black Krim gf 3
Black Pear gf 3
Black Seaman gf 3
Chocolate Stripes gf 3
Indian Dark Violet Beefsteak gf 3
Japanese Black Trifele gf 3
Paul Robeson gf 3
Purple Passion gf 3

Black Cherry gf 4
Purple Calabash gf 4
Purple Prince gf 4

Black Prince gf 5
Nyagous gf 5
Purple Russian gf 5

DarJones
Thanks for posting the list. I find it interesting that the 2 blacks I've grown that I did not care for are in the same grouping.

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Just a side note
Majority of Russian hobby gardeners grow their tomatoes in greenhouses, where it is very hot and humid. So there is surprise for me that so many Russian varieties do very well in the south.
I've brought this up with people before. There is often the idea that if a variety is from Russia, it must be early and/or cold hardy.
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Old August 18, 2013   #23
NarnianGarden
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Does anyone know if the genetic factor causing the black mutation also have to do with the flavor? Or is it a different set of alleles altogether that cause the 'deep intense flavor' that I have seen associated with the black varieties (especially those supposedly from the Russian/Ukrainan region)?
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Old August 18, 2013   #24
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Originally Posted by NarnianGarden View Post
Does anyone know if the genetic factor causing the black mutation also have to do with the flavor? Or is it a different set of alleles altogether that cause the 'deep intense flavor' that I have seen associated with the black varieties (especially those supposedly from the Russian/Ukrainan region)?
There is no ONE mutation that results in so called black varieties. And I'll give you a link to that info later.

And I don't think that ANYof the gf mutations ( green flesh alleles) are involved with taste.

Over 400 molecules have been Ided by spectroscopy as being involved with taste and the genes for only a very few have been Ided.

As I said,I'll get back to you with that link,just no time to go find it righ tnow.

Edited to add that I just realized that the gf allele associations were already posted in this thread.I think post 22 possibly.

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Old August 18, 2013   #25
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Narnian, I think someone should explore the possibility that the significant amounts of retained chlorophyll in dark (green tinted) tomatoes may contribute to the difference in flavor from pink, red, and yellow tomatoes which they otherwise would be without the retained chlorophyll.
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Old August 19, 2013   #26
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Thanks, Carolyn. I did read the gf allele list with interest, that's why I was curious to find out it they also contribute to the taste

travis, that sure would be an interesting subject for someone to jump in... Many dark green vegetables have a rich flavor, that might indeed come from the amount of chlorophyll.
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Old August 19, 2013   #27
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Originally Posted by NarnianGarden View Post
Thanks, Carolyn. I did read the gf allele list with interest, that's why I was curious to find out it they also contribute to the taste

travis, that sure would be an interesting subject for someone to jump in... Many dark green vegetables have a rich flavor, that might indeed come from the amount of chlorophyll.
You must of missed what I wrote in my last post. I said the tomatoes that I did not care for came from the same group on the gf allele list. When I say I didn't care for them I mean I did not like the flavor, and I will not be growing them again. So it has to contribute at least partially to taste. I did not know they came from the same grouping until after growing them so the chart had no influence over my perceptions.
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