Cherokee Purple Tomato

Isn’t this just a pretty tomato? This is one of the new varieties of vegetables I’m trying this year in the vegetable garden. Cherokee purple is an heirloom tomato that actually has a Tennessee origin. In 1990 man in Sevierville, TN named John Green sent a package with an unnamed tomato variety to Craig LeHoullier in Pennsylvania. According to Green it was a century old variety that had originally been cultivated by the Cherokee people. You can read more about it at Wikipedia.

What drew my attention about the Cherokee Purple Tomato was the purple color of the tomato combined with a flavor that reportedly rivals that of the Brandywine.  I love Brandywine tomatoes so you can see why I sought out the Cherokee Purple. I just planted six seeds on Friday and hope to have them ready to plant outside in a few weeks. I don’t need all six plants, two will probably be fine for us and a few other lucky people may receive my leftover plants! I always like to raise few extras just in case something happens.  They take about 80 days to reach production age which will hopefully put a few purple tomatoes in our vegetable baskets by July.

Cherokee Purple Tomato Details

Indeterminate
Maturity:70-80 days
up to 16 oz. tomatoes
Beefstake

15 thoughts on “Cherokee Purple Tomato

  1. Randy Emmitt

    Dave,

    We grew Cherokees last year, maybe 6 plants produced a half bushel of some of the best tasting tomatoes out there! This brings to mind something that happened last summer. We visited the Carrboro Farmers Market and many farmers had bushels of Cherokees for sale from $2.50 to $3.50 a lbs, many were going to be composted because they could not sell all of them FRESH. Later that day we stopped in Whole Foods to get coffee, they had Cherokee Purples from California nearly 2000 miles away for $6 a lb. To think our local farmers can only sell to Whole Foods when produce is out of season in CA burns my britches, I’ve never shopped there since.

  2. notsocrafty.com

    I grew these last year along with Brandywine. I found that it grew well and produced nice large tomatoes. The Brandywine was more delicate and it didn’t produce as much. Purple Cherokee is a great choice for an heirloom tomato.

  3. notsocrafty.com

    I grew these last year along with Brandywine. I found that it grew well and produced nice large tomatoes. The Brandywine was more delicate and it didn’t produce as much. Purple Cherokee is a great choice for an heirloom tomato.

  4. Tylersays

    I guess these aren’t really known for making sauces but these make the BEST spaghetti sauce. We made some from an abundance of CP’s a friend gave us and it was incredible! Best sauce I’ve ever had, hands down. We’ve grown them and made/froze sauce every year since. Great on a frosty January night watching Soprano’s re-runs!

  5. Dazy

    I got beautifully-packed box of heirloom tomatoes from a supplier in New Jersey. It was what I needed. Unpacking heirloom tomato varieties developed in far-flung parts of the world offers a certain orientation.

  6. Anonymous

    I have a great crop of Cherokees this year but have a couple of other heirlooms in the garden. I wanted to keep my Cherokee seeds now but am wondering if cross pollination occurred between the Cherokees and Brandywines and Mule Team. Any advice?

  7. Dave

    Anonymous,

    I suspect that if your tomatoes cross pollinated together you could end up with a tomato even better tasting than before! That being said if you want a purebred Cherokee purple and are concerned about the cross pollination keep an eye out for a flower that hasn't opened yet. Then cover it with a bag. Once the flowers have opened pollinate it by hand using a Q-tip. Cover it again with the bag and watch for tomatoes to form. Once they do you can remove the bag. Be sure to mark which tomatoes are the hand pollinated ones since you don't want to get them mixed up. I would go ahead and save the heirloom tomato that you think may have been cross-pollinated as an experiment and see what grows!

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