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Historical background information for varieties handed down from bygone days.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #16
PaulF
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This is what Tatiana has to say about the history of Rutgers:

History
Developed at the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, from a cross between Marglobe and J.T.D. (an old New Jersey variety from the Campbell Soup Co.).
It was first released in 1928 and then again in 1943 (as Rutgers Improved). The 1928 release was indeterminate, and the 1943 release is basically what we have today.
1958 Gleckler Catalog description:
"RUTGERS (Indiana Strain) (72 Days)
A superior strain of Rutgers, re-selected and supervised at Purdue University. Slightly earlier and much more productive than the original 290 strain as it came from New jersey. Fruit quality and color like-wise are greatly improved. Fruits are smooth, slightly flattened at the stem-end, deep red color ripening from the interior outward. Thick walls, small seed cavities with very few seeds from very solid fruits. Plants are large, thick stems with dense foliage protecting fruits from sunburn. To get maximum yield from Rutgers, soil must not be over supplied with nitrogen. A heavy application of phosphate is recommended to insure early ripening and ...? the entire harvest."

This is my commentary:

I grew out Rutgers for a brother-in-law when he was no longer able (or wanted) to work in the garden. This was the only variety he would plant because it was the only one he had ever tried. All the hardware stores had Rutgers and was the most popular tomato here in the midwest for many years until the other round, red Boys showed up.

No wonder he stuck his nose up at the "good" tomatoes I gave him to try. I found Rutgers to be small, round and red without much flavor. I think the meatiness was good for canning and that is why it was so popular. The box stores still sell lots of Rutgers, but shelf space is getting less and less as the original growers age out.

After a couple of years growing Rutgers, I have never given this less than average variety any space.
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Last edited by PaulF; 4 Weeks Ago at 11:35 AM.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #17
Milan HP
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Thanks a lot. This is a very detailed description and explanation. It even answers my main question why they used to be so popular in the US: for canning. I also can my toms, but I won't probably give Rutgers a try.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #18
rdback
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Many, many years ago, we use to stop at the local farm stands in New Jersey and buy tomatoes. These were the farm stands at the end of the driveway, next to the road, of the farm that actually grew the tomatoes they were selling. I ate many a tomato sandwich made with "Jersey" tomatoes as a kid. They were delicious. As I got older, my understanding is these were Rutgers tomatoes.


Those stands are still prominent along the roadways, but the tomato boxes stacked in the back saying "Product of Mexico" says it all.


Now having said all that, I haven't grown a Rutgers tomato in 40 years. Maybe this thread has encouraged me to do so this year, lol.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #19
Oliver
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Quote:
Many, many years ago, we use to stop at the local farm stands in New Jersey and buy tomatoes. These were the farm stands at the end of the driveway, next to the road, of the farm that actually grew the tomatoes they were selling. I ate many a tomato sandwich made with "Jersey" tomatoes as a kid. They were delicious. As I got older, my understanding is these were Rutgers tomatoes.
My parents are from Iowa, but I grew up in New Jersey due to my Dad's work. We lived in area with roadside stands, gardens, and farmer's markets. I found out recently that's also what my grandparents grew in their greenhouse. I'm looking forward to growing them this year.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #20
Milan HP
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I can't make up my mind as to being glad or sorry that I have provoked such nostalgic memories in you. Either way, I also have a similar memory of excellent tomatoes that I often ate and greatly enjoyed in my teens. And now that I have learnt a bit about those beautiful plants, I can't find out what variety they were. I never asked then. It's like having forgotten a dear girlfriend. I wonder if that memory of mine isn't just a case of idealizing the past.

Anyway, Rutgers may come back to their old glory and ubiquitousness thanks to you. Thumbs up.
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heirloom tomatoes , pros and cons , rutgers

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