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Historical background information for varieties handed down from bygone days.

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Old February 16, 2008   #1
Tania
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Default Background of Black Ethiopian

I am having trouble to locate any background information for Black Ethiopian tomato. I think I saw somewhere that it may be Ukrainian tomato, and this got me curious.

Any help is appreciated!
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Old February 17, 2008   #2
carolyn137
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I am having trouble to locate any background information for Black Ethiopian tomato. I think I saw somewhere that it may be Ukrainian tomato, and this got me curious.

Any help is appreciated!
The first entry I see in the SSE Yearbooks was in 1996 where an SSE member from MN listed it and said it was from the Ukraine and seeds were received in 1995.

Members of the former Soviet Union army occupied Ethiopia for many years and no doubt it was brought to Ethiopia by one of those persons, and it probably, or maybe, is a variety that we already know under a different name.

One of my former students, Tadesse Wuhib, claimed asylum in the US as did his uncle and a few other family members, and I met his uncle when Tadesse graduated from college. His uncle was the former Bishop of Ethiopia and returned to that position when the country was again free. Tadesse went on in his career to get an MS in Medical Administration, studied with a witch doctor in S America and then graduated from Johns Hopkins with an MD degree, eventually ended up managing a pediatric health program for the country of Armenia, after joining CDC where he then was one of the selected members to go to places having problems with newly recognized infectious diseases.

So I knew quite a bit about Ethiopia as regards the Soviet occupation from Tadesse, his uncle and his sister.

So Black Ethiopia really isn't a legend type variety of the kinds being discussed in this Forum, just another so called black, and those of you who know me know I say a so called black only b/c with few exceptions I'm not that fond of them and so many of them are so similar. When Craig and I joined SSE there were perhaps 2 listings for them, and then came the explosion, meaning the numbers increased very very fast. They became a fad.

It seems to me that where there is demand the varieties will appear, if you catch my drift, and the same thing has happened of late with the green-when ripes.

No, the above couple of paragraphs aren't answering the direct question Tania asked, I just threw that in here for general info re my opinion, well, not just my opinion on this subject. And I am up at this ridiculous hour and trying to get sleepy again so I can go back to bed.
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Old February 19, 2008   #3
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Hmmmm, that some name for a tomato. Well, at least they didn't name it Starvin Marvin.
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Old February 19, 2008   #4
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Carolyn ,

actually Ethiopia as well as some other countries with Communist party regimes have been never occupated by Soviet Union Army. Their goverment just asked USSR to help with weapons, Army technicians and sometimes Soviet and foreign Communist leaders made decision like Soviet soldiers had to dislocate in such countries like Ethiopia, Cuba and many countries of former Warsaw Pact countries. The same way USA are still having military bases in many countries And I highly doubt any Soviet soldiers/officers thought about bringing any vegetable seeds with them and grow them there You don't know Soviet Army
We (my parent's family) haveve spent 3,5 years in Eastern Germany as a part of Soviet Army forces there (and my wife's parents had been to Cuba that way) and I must admit nobody from our neighboors think about vegetable gardening or seeds that times...
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Old February 19, 2008   #5
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Andrey, by Soviet Army I didn't mean fighting forces at all, I meant just what you said, maybe best said as consultants.

I only know from Tadesse and his Uncle that apparently before the Soviet occupation there were no black tomatoes in Ethiopia and afterwards there was and that the person who originally introduced the variety in the SSE Yearbook said his source was the Ukraine. So I think that many folks, Andrey, are assuming that some of the then Soviets actually did bring or send for varieties from home and did have some gardens, despite what you said above about the Soviet Army personnel. LOL After all, they occupied/consulted in Ethiopia for many many years, I'd have to check the dates before saying how many years.

Tadesse did go home for a visit when it was politically OK to do so, and of course I asked him to see if he could bring me back any tomato seed, and he did from the market in Addas Abbaba, and those two became the varieties Tadesse and Wuhib, his name.
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Old February 19, 2008   #6
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Quote:
The first entry I see in the SSE Yearbooks was in 1996 where an SSE member from MN listed it and said it was from the Ukraine and seeds were received in 1995.
Perhaps the name "Black Ethiopian" is just that, a name, and the variety never actually set foot in Ethiopia. Now Tadesse and Wuhib, those hail from Ethiopia.
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Old February 20, 2008   #7
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Carolyn,
the wrong word for me here is "occupation", of course.

Vietnam were and Afganistan and Irak are occupated indeed. Serbia (in its Kosovo region) are still occupated by NATO forces (there is an Army base there). But that was military consultation in Ethiopia or Angola for Soviets as well as for American military specialists almost all around the world...

OK, outside political issues that is the same old question about Crimea (now Ukraine, former Russian area for ages) as an area of origin of many black tomato varieties... Still can't believe in that, because there is no such info circulated inside former Soviet Union countries (CIS now)...
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Old February 20, 2008   #8
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Carolyn,
the wrong word for me here is "occupation", of course.

Vietnam were and Afganistan and Irak are occupated indeed. Serbia (in its Kosovo region) are still occupated by NATO forces (there is an Army base there). But that was military consultation in Ethiopia or Angola for Soviets as well as for American military specialists almost all around the world...

OK, outside political issues that is the same old question about Crimea (now Ukraine, former Russian area for ages) as an area of origin of many black tomato varieties... Still can't believe in that, because there is no such info circulated inside former Soviet Union countries (CIS now)...
Andrey, I apologize if again I've used what to you is a wrong word.

All I know is that whatever the interaction was with the Soviets as consultants, the word you used, it led to many Ethiopians leaving their country and seeking asylum elsewhere, and that included Tadesse, his Uncle and two sisters who were given asylum in the US.His parents and some other relatives remained in Addas Abbaba.

As for the true origin of Black Ethiopian all I know is that it was listed in the SSE Yearbook as coming from the Ukraine by the person who first listed it. Why it was named with the word Ethiopian in the variety name can have several interpretations and I've given one interpretation, not unique to me, that has been given.
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Old February 20, 2008   #9
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Carolyn,
many people (especially from poor countries) want to live (to have asylum) in USA They will tell you they were fighters for freedom or were under occupation on their own country, but that's not true in most of cases. They just want to live in a country with the better (or even best) life conditions...
Soviet Union spent so many billions of USD as a friendship help to many African countries (Ethiopea as well), built many roads, hydro- and electric stations and other important things. So there was nothing that could force these people leave their country because of Soviets actually...
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Old February 20, 2008   #10
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Originally Posted by Andrey_BY View Post
Carolyn,
...that is the same old question about Crimea (now Ukraine, former Russian area for ages) as an area of origin of many black tomato varieties... Still can't believe in that, because there is no such info circulated inside former Soviet Union countries (CIS now)...
Andrey,

The life in the former USSR tought me that if there is no information available or circulated in the country it does NOT mean that the thing never existed - I am sure you know what I am talking about .

Re so called 'Ethiopian' black varieties originated in Ukraine - my other speculation is that these could indeed be some black tomatoes originated in Russia, and called 'Efiop', or 'Ethiopian' by people who associated black color with the skin color of etihopian people. Similar story may apply to the well known Paul Robeson tomato... or 'Negritenok' tomato.
What do you think?
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Old February 20, 2008   #11
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Tania,
you are right about the lack of info in USSR times here, but I also speaking about those 16 years after its collapse. I've got too much information during this time

Negrityonok is one of the recent varieties distibuted by some of Russian well-known seed companies. Will try to find some info about Efiop...

I have many relatives in Ukraine and had been to Creamea several times and never seen or heard about black fruited old vareites from there...
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Old February 20, 2008   #12
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"Tadesse went on in his career to get an MS in Medical Administration, studied with a witch doctor in S America and then graduated from Johns Hopkins with an MD degree..."

That's an amazing combination of training, IMO.

As to Paul Robeson, I haven't liked that name for a tomato variety since I learned of his extensive ties with socialism and communism. And to think I had a communist tomato in my garden last year!

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Old February 20, 2008   #13
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Re so called 'Ethiopian' black varieties originated in Ukraine - my other speculation is that these could indeed be some black tomatoes originated in Russia, and called 'Efiop', or 'Ethiopian' by people who associated black color with the skin color of etihopian people. Similar story may apply to the well known Paul Robeson tomato... or 'Negritenok' tomato.
What do you think?

Tania, the idea that it was named Ethiopian b/c the majority of the people there are black has been raised and discussed before. But why Ethiopia when the peoples of many other countries are also dark skinned?

And while I've got both you and Andrey here I wanted to share with you that I've been reading thru my Yearbook and have finished the orange/yellow and pink/purple sections so far and what amuses me a bit is that you and Andrey are at the top of all varieties you listed b'c BC ( British Columbia) and BELR ( Belarus) are usually first, and when you two list the same variety you often spell that variety differently.

Not a huge change but yet differently.

Two observations so far, and I'll probably post this in the SSE thread anyway, but first, the errors I saw are getting more and more numerous, no, I'm not necessarily talking about the listings of either of you, and second, so many histories are being lost.

For many varieties you'll see NY MA C, for instance, but there are many more where the original histories I posted when I was listing those varieties has totally disappeared.

A few of the SSE members, such as Bill Minkey, try to keep the histories going, but many don't, and I feel badly when I read thru and see that many that I introduced, which is several hundreds of new ones, the histories are gone.
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Old February 20, 2008   #14
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Carolyn,

This may have happened because not many other 'black' nations were widely known to 'general' Soviet public... And also because the Ethiopian culture is so interesting and unique. I remember as a kid I was watching a weekly program on TV back in Russia that was called something like 'The Club of Cameramen Travellers' where they were showing other countries. I am sure that there was a list of countries that were allowed to be shown on Soviet TV, and Ethiopia was one of them. Anyway, interestingly enough I remember watching one of these programs where Ethiopia was a main topic; I don't remember any other countries being shown - probably because it was a long time ago and I forgot... but Ethiopia and ethiopian people and culture got embedded in my brain. I think that was back in the mid or late 1970s...

Sorry for a long rumbling about a distant past...
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Old February 20, 2008   #15
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Default SSE Yearbook - histories (off topic)

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Originally Posted by carolyn137 View Post
Two observations so far, and I'll probably post this in the SSE thread anyway, but first, the errors I saw are getting more and more numerous, no, I'm not necessarily talking about the listings of either of you, and second, so many histories are being lost.

For many varieties you'll see NY MA C, for instance, but there are many more where the original histories I posted when I was listing those varieties has totally disappeared.

A few of the SSE members, such as Bill Minkey, try to keep the histories going, but many don't, and I feel badly when I read thru and see that many that I introduced, which is several hundreds of new ones, the histories are gone.
Carolyn,

I would like to collect all the histories for all the varieties that you have introduced from you and post them at the TOMATObase. This way the true histories will not be lost. I will PM you my idea how we can go about it, if you agree to help.
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