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Dester Tomato

Dester Tomato

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Dester

92 days, indeterminate — The regular leaf plants of 'Dester' produce large (six to twenty-four ounce), pink, beefsteak-type, oblate shaped fruits.  It is an excellent, tasty slicing tomato.

Its history is one that was fun to research.  Like all true heirlooms, that is, varieties that families have grown, protected and handed down through the generations, 'Dester's' story revealed the life of a very interesting man.

Its name is a tribute to the late Dr. Herbert Edgar Dester, M.D. of Berne, Indiana.  He was many things; a medical doctor (from 1926 to 1974),[3] a devout Christian, and a Mennonite missionary to India (providing medical missionary services).[1]

The story behind his tomato is that the variety originated in Germany and was brought to America by Dr. Dester's ancestors.  Sometime in the 1970s it was shared with the Dester's Amish housekeeper, Anna.  She eventually relocated with her community to Missouri and continued to raise the variety there.  At some point, Anna gave it to a local farmer, Larry Pierce, who then submitted it to the SSE.  We received it from our friend and heirloom tomato collector, Dr. Carolyn Male (NY MA C) in the winter of 2014.

Each packet contains approximately 20 seeds.
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Sources:
  1. The Freeman Courier, Freeman, South Dakota, February 27, 1947.
  2. The Mennonite Library and Archives, Photo Collection.
  3. LicenseDirect.com - Dr. Dester's medical license file.

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