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The Wonderful World of Heirloom Tomatoes

The Wonderful World of Heirloom Tomatoes

Mary Smith |

When people ask us about heirlooms, their first questions is usually about tomatoes.  There is something magical about the deliciousness of heirloom tomatoes.  The flavor of a vine-ripened, homegrown, heirloom tomato is unforgettable.

With so many varieties of tomatoes to choose from, you might be left wondering “what’s the difference?" and what's best for my garden?  We've gathered info on different types and varieties to help you decide.

First, we have the broad characterization of Indeterminate and Determinate.

Determinate tomatoes produce the fruit all at once. These are typically bush tomatoes, and make the best tomatoes for container gardening. Since all the tomatoes are ripe within a short period of time, these are great plant choices if you plan to can or have a short tomato growing season.

Indeterminate tomatoes grow on a vine.  If properly cared for, will produce all season until frost.


From here, you have a more specific classification of Tomato including


Plum, also called a Paste Tomato




 Green Zebra Tomato


We can't leave out the colors!  There are green, yellow, white, PURPLE, bi-color, pink and of course red.

In this article, I'd like to discuss the different varieties available at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.



Beefsteak tomatoes are some of the largest cultivated tomatoes around, with a meaty texture and intense, classic-tomato flavor. Thanks to their thick consistency and compact seed cavities, beefsteak tomatoes hold up well when sliced, making them perfect for sandwiches. They're typically red or pink, certain varieties of beefsteak tomatoes come in a rainbow of colors including Pink, red, purple, black, or yellow fruit.

A few of the heirloom beefsteak varieties we carry at Mary's Heirloom Seeds includes

Cherokee Purple (Mary's favorite), Amana's Orange, Aunt Ruby's Green, Black Krim, German Pink, Hillbilly Flame, Emerald Evergreen, Mortgage Lifter and Watermelon Beefsteak.

Hillbilly Flame Tomato


PLUM, also called a Paste Tomato

Plum tomatoes have an almost cylindrical shape and few seeds, making them perfect for preserving.  If you are looking for heirloom tomatoes to make your own sauce, the San Marzano tomato is arguably "the" tomato. Roma is a paste tomato and one of the most widely grown tomato. Smaller plum tomatoes are often called "grape" tomatoes so we are combining them in our list.

A few heirloom Plum varieties we carry at Mary's Heirloom Seeds includes

San Marzano Tall Vine (indeterminate), San Marzano Paste (determinate), Black Plum Paste, Roma, Amish Paste, Cream Sausage, Jersey Devil, Martino's Roma and Ukrainian Purple



Cherry tomatoes pack a major burst of flavor for such a small fruit. Cherry tomatoes also come in a few colors such as red, yellow, black, purple and even green.

A few heirloom cherry tomatoes we carry at Mary's Heirloom Seeds includes

Black Cherry, Red Cherry, Matt's Wild Cherry and Chadwick Cherry



Pear tomatoes are an heirloom variety known for their small, pear-shaped fruit. They’re sweet and make a delicious snack (especially while working in the garden).

A few heirloom Pear tomatoes we carry at Mary's Heirloom Seeds includes

Yellow Pear (Mary's favorite), Red Pear, Thai Pink Pear and Chocolate Pear



Brandywine tomatoes are a variety of beefsteak tomatoes with large fruit and amazing flavor.

A few heirloom Brandywine tomatoes we carry at Mary's Heirloom Seeds include

Pink Brandywine, Yellow Brandywine and Sudduth Strain


Oxheart holds a special place in my heart.  My grandmother's husband Jim used to grow our Pink Oxheart tomatoes every year before he passed.  They would harvest buckets full of tomatoes every year in Utah.

About Pink Oxheart

Indeterminate.  Vigorous vines produce large bunches of huge pink tomatoes in the shape of an oxheart.  Tomatoes are very meaty and flavorful.

Popular with old timers, a good all-purpose variety.  Great for processing or sliced for a sandwich.


If you have specific garden or seed related questions, please contact us via email at MARY@MARYSHEIRLOOMSEEDS.COM
Happy Planting!


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Our South Florida Planting Guide includes recommendations of specific varieties that grow well in Florida.


Tomatoes: Wild Everglades, Marglobe, Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Homestead, Floradade, Mortgage Lifter & Roma

Thank you and happy planting!


Mary @ Mary's Heirloom Seeds,

What tomatoes can I grow in zone 10a in south florida .Homestead Florida zip 33033

Robert ,

I would not eat tomatoes when I was younger until by chance I started gardening and planted a couple well let’s just say they ruined me for life!! Lol

John caley,

Have you ever planted Abraham Lincoln Tomatoes? They are one of my favorite tomatoes and have the most incredible flavor ever!!


My tomato crop this year was awful. Maybe next year will be better…..

Leslie A. Applegate,

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