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Brandywine, Red - Tomato

Brandywine, Red - Tomato

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Red Brandywine 

80 to 100 days, indeterminate — It is by far one of the most recognized of heirloom tomato varieties and helped to establish the mainstream heirloom seed renaissance. The regular leaf plants yield fruit that are red, relatively large (over a pound), globe to oblate shaped, and full of flavor. 

Any tomato with the "Brandywine" moniker has immediate "recognition" and generates interest among gardeners. There is a lot of lore surrounding the Brandywine category of tomatoes. And by lore, I mean confusion, myth, argument, and cliques who follow various garden writers. We simply try to stick to facts that are verifiable using primary source historical documentation and compare that to the firsthand observations we gather during our grow outs.

The information that you find in seed catalogs, gardening books and magazine articles tends to simply be the oft repeated "Amish origin story." We have found no factual basis for this attribution and assume that it began as conjecture based on an association with its name to the creek in Pennsylvania with the same name. This evolved to become legend, and has now achieved the status of commonly accepted "fact."

Here is what we know, in Johnson and Stokes' 1889 Seed Annual, they describe the origin of the name, "Brandywine." They wrote, "The name given it was suggested by our friend, Thos. H. Brinton, of Chadd's Ford, Pa., who has probably grown and tested more varieties of tomatoes than any other person in the United States, who wrote September 25th, 1888: "The more I see of the Tomato No. 45, the more I am pleased with it,  It is certainly a magnificent new and distinct variety, and worthy of the name 'Brandywine.' after the most beautiful of all streams, which flows near our Quaker village."

Our parent stock is from author and tomato authority Craig LeHoullier who got the seed from Landis Valley in the early 1990s. Each packet contains approximately 20 seeds.

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Informational References:
  1. "100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden," Dr. Carolyn Male, Workman Publishing, 1999, pages 70-71.
  2. "Epic Tomatoes: How To Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time," Craig LeHoullier, Storey Publishing, 2015, page 44.