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Historical background information for varieties handed down from bygone days.

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Old February 9, 2008   #1
cdntomato
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Default Huh? True Black Brandywine

From Baker Creek:

True Black Brandywine New!
This fine variety was sent to us by our friend, famed seed collector and food writer, William Woys Weaver, of Pennsylvania. It was passed down to him from his Quaker grandfather’s collection dating back to the 1920s. As to its history, Will states "The "true" Black Brandywine was bred sometime in the late 1920s by Dr. Harold E. Martin (1888-1959), a dentist turned plant breeder who is best remembered today for his famous pole lima with huge seeds. Dr. Martin lived in Westtown, PA, only a few miles from my grandfather’s place in West Chester, and the two were gardening buddies. It was through that connection that his grandfather managed to wheedle seed out of the good doctor, as well as the details on how he created it. Dr. Martin always had a high opinion of his plant creations and did not like to share them–he charged 25 cents a seed for his lima, unheard of in those days. And he never released his Black Brandywine to a seed company, nor did he share it with many people, so I am fairly certain it never circulated among growers like his popular lima bean. According to my grandfather, Black Brandywine was a controlled cross between Brandywine and the original brown Beefsteak tomato otherwise known as Fejee Improved. Fejee Improved is probably extinct." We thank Will for entrusting us with this great-tasting tomato that is extra large in size and full of the deep, earthy and sweet flavor that has made blackish-purple tomatoes so popular. Some fruits tended to crack, but the yield was heavy, and the plants were vigorous and did well in our hot Missouri summer. Superior for salsa and cooking. We enjoyed these all summer, both fresh and in countless recipes. A great home garden variety that will surely become a favorite. See Mr Weavers' article about this tomato in the Winter 06/07 issue of "The Heirloom Gardener" magazine.

Caught me by surprise, to say the least. Anyone care to comment.

Jennifer
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Old February 9, 2008   #2
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There are many things wrong in that history....so no, no comment except to say caveat emptor! (Feejee was a large pink tomato, not a brown one....etc).

Craig
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Old February 9, 2008   #3
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I read you, Craig.

Thanks heaps.

Jennifer, not very surprised but wanting to verify with someone in the know rather than presume
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Old February 9, 2008   #4
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I sure wish someone would Pm me about this because I hated being misguided. Especially since I bought the seeds.
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Old February 9, 2008   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomatoaddict View Post
I sure wish someone would Pm me about this because I hated being misguided. Especially since I bought the seeds.
Why PM instead of discussing it here?

I'm not sure why it was psoted here anyway?

THere's a lot more wrong with that description, as Craig said, aside from Feejee being pink, not brown, and Craig had already mentioned this in another thread here in this Forum.

Terry, what else do I need to tell you to convince you that the blurb is so far wrong that it's ridiculous?

Or do you accept the fact that it's ridiculous without Craig or I having to get into details about WWW, which I don't really think are necessary, either in public or in private..
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Old February 10, 2008   #6
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Jennifer thanks for posting that, after a stressful week I sure needed a good snicker
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Old February 10, 2008   #7
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I'm not sure why it was psoted here anyway?


****

Jennifer, please don't take that the wrong way, it's just that Black Brandywine only appeared a few years ago as a natural cross between Brandywine and an unknown black in the growing fields of Seeds by Design in CA.

And for some folks it still is genetically unstable.

And Jennifer, you know WWW's machinations as well as of some of us. Maybe not with respect to the details of the TRUE, ahem, Black Brandywine, but with respect to previous WWW so called introductions.

I guess I do get more than a bit emotional whenever WWW pops up with something he says is new, or newly found, or whatever he wants to call it.

And you could clearly infer from Craig's post that he feels the same way I do about it.
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Old February 10, 2008   #8
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Why PM instead of discussing it here?

Quote:
I'm not sure why it was psoted here anyway?

THere's a lot more wrong with that description, as Craig said, aside from Feejee being pink, not brown, and Craig had already mentioned this in another thread here in this Forum.

Terry, what else do I need to tell you to convince you that the blurb is so far wrong that it's ridiculous?

Or do you accept the fact that it's ridiculous without Craig or I having to get into details about WWW, which I don't really think are necessary, either in public or in private..
Well to start with, I didn't know if people felt comfortable explaining the problems with it publicly. Didn't want to start an argument thread.
Carolyn if you and Craig say it's ridiculous I accept that at face value. Just being the curious person I am, I like details. Is WWW the same person that came out with Goose Creek?
I just like knowing WHY I think something is ridiculous. My other thought is, since Jere Gettle is hawking this seed doesn't this reflect badly on him?
So, would you say the seed he is selling as TTBB is actually just BB?
Wasn't trying to get your BP up Carolyn, just wanted to know my stuff.
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Old February 10, 2008   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomatoaddict View Post
Why PM instead of discussing it here?



Well to start with, I didn't know if people felt comfortable explaining the problems with it publicly. Didn't want to start an argument thread.
Carolyn if you and Craig say it's ridiculous I accept that at face value. Just being the curious person I am, I like details. Is WWW the same person that came out with Goose Creek?
I just like knowing WHY I think something is ridiculous. My other thought is, since Jere Gettle is hawking this seed doesn't this reflect badly on him?
So, would you say the seed he is selling as TTBB is actually just BB?
Wasn't trying to get your BP up Carolyn, just wanted to know my stuff.
My BP isn't up so relax on that account.

Goose Creek has been hawked by Jimmy Williams, not WWW.

And yes, I think offering those seeds reflects negatively on Jere Gettle, but he has had a long term relationship with WWW for many years, and if you know Jere, he likes to say that everyone is his friend and so there you go.

When Jere asked me to contribute to his Heirloom magazine I said I wouldn't as long as WWW was going to continue to contribute articles to it. He has, and I won't participate.

Going thru the blurb posted and pointing out all the difficulties is really not sufficient b'c you have to know WWW and how he's changed thru the years.

Jere, if you're reading here at Tville, which I know you do from time to time, and want to know what else is wrong with that tomato description beyond the fact that Feejee is pink not brown, please feel free to contact me.

I have absoulutely no idea what the supposed TRUE BLACK Brandywine is that's being offered.
Feejee is pink, Brandywine is pink; you don't get a self described black from a cross of two pinks.

And when it comes to challenging someone online in a detailed manner about what he's said and done in the past, and currently, I feel acutely uncomfotable about doing that for ALL bones of contention although I've given a few examples below without dissecting the spurious history posted above by Jennifer from the Baker Creek site.

A few things to keep in mind.

First, his initial book on Heirloom veggies was embraced by many until the experts in various areas, especially the Cucurbits, started speaking up a bit and pointing out quite a bit of wrong information.

Will asked Craig and I to contribute to the Tomato Chapter, we did, our names are sprinkled throughout and there are numerous errors in that chapter; he never asked us to proof what he'd written. For instance, he says White Queen is a Livingston variety and folks who emulate him then said the same thing and so that wrong info has been perpetuated at several places.

It is not a Livingston variety at all. Go to Victory Seeds where Mike has outlined and described ALL of the Livingston varieties. White Queen was actually introduced by the Earl May Seed Co. That's just one example.

A couple of years ago he was a featured speaker at SSE and his talk was reproduced in the Harvest Edition. His comments about Brandywine and some others were just plain wrong.

He has changed names of varieties in the Yearbook. He has IDed and introduced varieties just from looking at old colored plates. One can't do that. No documentation. Think Red Fig, for instance.

The button pusher for many of us is Shah, which he resurrected from the dead, as he has done for some other varieties as well. Craig has the old seed catalog where Shah was described. It is not what Will says it is; far from it. And yet you'll also see Shah described as alive and well at several places. It is extinct. What he calls Shah is probably White Potato Leaf.

He was originally recognized as a Food Historian, and a good one, but seems to have lost his way in the meantime.

And I'm not alone in feeling that way.

And yes I've met him. Many years ago we used to interact quite a bit.
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Last edited by carolyn137; February 10, 2008 at 07:18 AM. Reason: I spell better at a more reasonable hour
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Old February 10, 2008   #10
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Quote:
The button pusher for many of us is Shah, which he resurrected from the dead, as he has done for some other varieties as well. Craig has the old seed catalog where Shah was described. It is not what Will says it is; far from it. And yet you'll also see Shah described as alive and well at several places. It is extinct. What he calls Shah is probably White Potato Leaf.
See, you taught me something. I did not know that about Shah. Now I do.
Quote:
He has changed names of varieties in the Yearbook.
You know how I detest that.

Is Feejee amd Feejee improved that same tomato? I noticed in the article that he called it FI.

Thanks for clarifying some of it. If I plant it out this summer, I will just call it BB.
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Old February 10, 2008   #11
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Is Feejee amd Feejee improved that same tomato? I noticed in the article that he called it FI.

****

I'd have to do some Googling to see about that but in any case I would presume that anything "improved" would not change the color of a variety, and for Feejee that color is pink, which is what matters. You too can do some Googling and confirm the color of Feejee. It's usually described as pink, a few times reddish pink, but still pink and not brown.

(Thanks for clarifying some of it. If I plant it out this summer, I will just call it BB.)

Terry, how carefully worded that first sentence is, as in clarifying SOME of it.

If you call it BB then how are you going to distinguish between the known BB that arose in the growing fields of Seeds by Design and this, to me, faux BB?

Since it was listed as TRUE Black Brandywine, why don't you call it TBB?

(See, you taught me something. I did not know that about Shah)

Glad to see I taught you at least ONE thing Terry.

You'll never know what lurks in the tomato section of the brain when it comes to some of us who have been involved with tomato varieties for many years. Craig and I and a few others can only respond to questions asked, not give answers if a question isn't asked. And Craig has a lovely collection of old seed catalogs when it comes to info about the older commercial varieties . And there are also some other sources that are helpful and I think I saw Craig mention several of them in other threads here in this new Forum.
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Old February 10, 2008   #12
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I assumed that calling this thing 'True Black Brandywine' was an effort to distinguish it from the recent cross being circulated in various formations. I posted this originally because the listing was public. If it had been sent to me privately, I would have kept it private.

I have issues with the Brandywines in circulation in Canada, especially. It (the generic beast called 'Brandywine') may prove to be a catalyst for unwanted (to me at least) changes, restrictive changes, in seed regulations. Too much wrong stuff now being flogged by the big ticket sellers. There will be fall-out.

Terry, I'm in agreement with Carolyn about not wanting to discuss the 'legacy' of W3 here. I will say that I first heard about him and his books when I was still at the Toronto Historical Board. An historian specializing in hort. related stuff called his work 'some of the best fiction' he'd read that year.

Enough said. Public research and awareness campaign on my part now over for me. I'm clear on what's what, thanks as usual to Craig and Carolyn

Thanks,
Jennifer
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Old February 10, 2008   #13
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I assumed that calling this thing 'True Black Brandywine' was an effort to distinguish it from the recent cross being circulated in various formations. I posted this originally because the listing was public. If it had been sent to me privately, I would have kept it private.

****

For sure it was public Jennifer but what WWW has done is to try and indicate that long before BB showed up at Seeds by Design just a few years ago it was his grandfather who had the first BB way back when, thus it was the TRUE BB. NOT.

And I'm glad that you agree with me in not discussing the total picture of W3. Sufficient methinks to indicate that there have been and are problems re W3's information.

Terry, if you look at the threads in this Forum you'll see that about two weeks ago Craig did talk about Shah, and Shah is in the title of that thread.
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Old February 10, 2008   #14
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Quote:
If you call it BB then how are you going to distinguish between the known BB that arose in the growing fields of Seeds by Design and this, to me, faux BB?

Since it was listed as TRUE Black Brandywine, why don't you call it TBB?
Very good point. I will call it TBB.

Quote:
Terry, how carefully worded that first sentence is, as in clarifying SOME of it.
Well, you know how that goes Carolyn. For you to explain the whole story to me would use up pages of the this thread.
Quote:
Glad to see I taught you at least ONE thing Terry.
You've taught me many, many things. I always respect you and your teaching. Except when you tell me fake histories about purple dogs and make people think I don't know that Belgium and France are different countries.
Oh boy, don't forget April 1st is coming Carolyn. LOL
You know what they say about payback.
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Old February 10, 2008   #15
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You know what they say about payback.

****

I certainly do Terry.

My favorite place to buy my dark bittersweet choco no longer sells Valhrona, so there's something to think about along with the Scharffen Berger and Guittard Onyx buttons and the Merkens buttons and the Belcando BELGIAN dark choco , all of which I covet.
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