Seed Savers Exchange Tomato Guide- 2023

Our 2023 Seed Savers Exchange seeds have arrived and are ready to be incorporated in your garden planning.  Below you will find the descriptions of Tomato varieties from the Seed Savers Exchange’s website that Green Thumb will stock for 2023 and notes from our Green Thumb Garden from previous years– we plant approximately 150 sq ft of tomatoes each year!


Amish Paste- “85 days from transplant.  Bright red 8-12 ounce fruits vary in shape from oxheart to rounded plum. Delicious flesh is juicy and meaty, excellent for sauce or fresh eating. One of Slow Food USAs Ark of Taste varieties. Indeterminate.”

  • Green Thumb Note:  This is a great variety for anyone looking to start growing canning specific tomatoes.  Produces well. Tastes great. Easy to process.  Keep in mind: Canning varieties of tomatoes are still great for fresh eating, making salsa, etc.


Beam’s Yellow Pear- “70-80 days from transplant. Introduced to SSE in 1983 by John Hartman of Indiana. Our favorite when we compared 25 different yellow pears in 1998. Endless supply of 1½” fruits with great flavor. Ideal for salads. Indeterminate.”

  • Green Thumb Note: Such a good addition to summer salads!! Heavy producer.  Stake or trellis early to keep fruit and branches off of the ground.  Pick just after they have turned yellow for a firmer texture.


Black Sea Man – “75 days from transplant. Russian variety from Russian seedswoman Marina Danilenko. Small plants produce medium-sized brownish-pink fruits with olive green shading. Well marbled flesh is attractive when blanched and peeled. Rich flavor. Potato leaf foliage. Determinate.”

  • Green Thumb Note: A customer favorite in recent years.  I love the interest a potato leaf tomato plant gives.  An excellent variety to grow for ‘something different’ as Black Sea Man will not disappoint.  


Brandywine- “Indeterminate, 80 days from transplant.(aka Red Brandywine) The original Brandywine introduced by Johnson and Stokes in 1889 from seeds they received from a customer in Ohio. Named after Brandywine Creek in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Large vines produce deep red 8-12 ounce fruits. Excellent flavor. Very productive.”

  • Green Thumb Note: Excellent tomato for slicing to make the best summer BLT.  Stake early and apply a calcium or Calcium-Magnesium product throughout the growing season to prevent blossom end rot.


Cherokee Purple- “Indeterminate, 75-90 days from transplant. Introduced by North Carolina SSE member Craig LeHoullier in 1991 from seed obtained from J. D. Green of Tennessee. Uniquely colored dusty rose-brown fruits weigh up to 12 ounces. Delicious sweet flesh.”

  • Green Thumb Note: Gorgeous color.  Exceptionally rich flavor and texture.  An excellent choice for slicing.  Great addition for “something new” to your garden if you are used to growing just red varieties.  Stake early and apply a calcium or Calcium-Magnesium product throughout the growing season to prevent blossom end rot.


Gold Rush Currant- “Indeterminate, 75-80 days from transplant. Very early maturing variety with a heavy set of ¼” fruits borne in trusses of 10-12. Excellent tomato flavor. Sprawling growth habit. Heavy harvests.”

  • Green Thumb Note: Summer’s candy!!! I love currant-type tomatoes.  Gorgeous ‘golden’ color.  They are so delicious off of the vine and make an excellent addition to cherry tomato salads.  Heavy yields.  Stake or cage early to prevent vines from growing on the ground and causing fruit to rot.  


Sweet Pea Currant- “Indeterminate, 75-80 days from transplant. The best red currant tomato we offer to gardeners. Hundreds of fruits per plant. Excellent tomato flavor with a hint of wine. Fruits are borne in trusses of 10-12 on plants with a spreading habit. Great for use as a garnish. Introduced by SSE in 2004.”

  • Green Thumb Note: Summer’s candy!!! I love currant-type tomatoes.   They are so delicious off of the vine and make an excellent addition to cherry tomato salads.  Heavy yields.  Stake or cage early to prevent vines from growing on the ground and causing fruit to rot.  


Earliana- “Indeterminate, 80 days from transplant.  Standard early variety developed by George Sparks of Salem, New Jersey and introduced in 1900 by Johnson and Stokes. Clusters of 4-5 ounce fruits. Very good flavor.”

  • Green Thumb Note: A good alternative to ‘Early Girl’ if you are looking to avoid hybrid tomatoes and grow heirlooms instead.  An all-purpose type tomato great for a wide range of uses in the kitchen.


Federle- “Indeterminate, 85 days from transplant.  Introduced to SSE in 1991 by R. W. Richardson of New York. Original seed obtained through a swap with a West Virginia gardener. Productive plants loaded with 7″ long red paste tomatoes. Rich full flavor and few seeds. Excellent for processing, especially good for salsa.”

  • Green Thumb Note: My favorite tomato for canning.  These tomatoes are HUGE–up to 7 inches long.  Their large size makes them super easy to peel before processing.  A nearly seedless variety.  Plants will get very large. Stake or cage early and continue to support branches throughout the growing season.  Fruits grow quickly so additions of Calcium or a Calcium-Magnesium product is necessary throughout the growing season to prevent cracked fruit and blossom end rot. Keep in mind: Canning varieties of tomatoes are still great for fresh eating, making salsa, etc.


Green Zebra- “Indeterminate, 75-80 days from transplant. Bred by Thomas Wagner of Tater Mater Seeds and introduced in 1983, this variety produces very prolific plants that bear olive-yellow 1½-2½” fruits with deep-green zebra stripes and a sweet, zingy flavor.”

  • Green Thumb Note: Truly unique addition to any garden.  Harvest when tomato has a yellow tinge to it and lime green ‘zebra stripes.’  The flavor is zingy and unlike that of many other kinds of tomatoes.  Grow it with ‘Red Zebra’ for the whole zoo!


Italian Heirloom- “Indeterminate, 70-80 days from transplant.  Winner of SSE’s 2012 Tomato Tasting. Outstanding variety from Italy. Plants are loaded with red fruits weighing over a pound. One of the most productive varieties we have grown at Heritage Farm. Excellent full tomato flavor. Ideal for slicing and canning—very little waste and easy to peel.”

  • Green Thumb Note: One of the largest tomatoes I have grown.  A favorite for a wide range of uses including slicing, salsa, bruschetta, tomato sauce and more.  Due to its large size it is prone to cracking and blossom end rot.  Additions of calcium or a calcium-magnesium product will help prevent these issues.


Japanese Trifele Black- “Indeterminate, 70-80 days from transplant.  One of the best Russian black tomatoes. High yields of blemish-free fruits that rarely crack. Rich full flavor, great for canning. The size of a Bartlett pear, weighing 4-5 ounces. Potato leaf foliage.”

  • Green Thumb Note: Another awesome ‘black’ tomato.  A customer favorite that is reliable and delicious.  Potato leaf foliage adds even more interest to this beautiful variety.


John Baer-  “Indeterminate, 60-80 days from transplant.  From the Bonny group of tomatoes that includes Chalk’s Early Jewel. Introduced in 1914 by J. Bolgiano and Son of Baltimore. Bright red, meaty, smooth fruits with very good flavor. Once a leading canning variety, also great for fresh eating. Heavy producer.”

  • Green Thumb Note: Ole reliable!  John Baer is an early producer that continues throughout the season.  A good choice for first time gardeners and experienced gardeners alike.  


Lemon Drop- “Indeterminate, 80-90 days from transplant.  Winner of SSE’s 2010 Tomato Tasting. Seed originally from Florida SSE member J. T. Sessions, who found this sport growing with his Snow White Cherry plants. Heavy sets of ½-¾” translucent yellow-green cherry tomatoes. Refreshing tart-sweet flavor. Continues producing even in cold wet growing conditions.”

  • Green Thumb Note: New to Green Thumb’s seed offering for 2023.  The ability to produce in cold, wet growing conditions is intriguing and will be tested in our garden in 2023.  


Martino’s Roma- “75 days from transplant. Italian variety with pretty rugose (puckered) foliage. Very heavy set of mild 2-3 ounce fruits perfectly suited for making sauce, salsa, and paste. Tends to fall off the vine when fully ripe. Determinate, but requires trellis.”

  • Green Thumb Note: Fruits are smaller than most canning tomatoes and are a little bit more difficult to peel but make an excellent flavored sauce.  Tomatoes can be picked before they fall off the vine.  Once tomatoes begin to fall off the vine, check your plants daily to prevent any rotted fruits on the soil surface.


Red Zebra-  “75-80 days from transplant.  A natural cross between Tom Wagner’s Green Zebra and an unknown parent. Discovered by Jeff Dawson in his California fields and listed in the 2003 SSE Yearbook. Gorgeous 2½” round fruits are blood-red overlaid with jagged carrot-orange stripes. Top quality uniform strain, very productive. Slightly tart flavor. Indeterminate.”

  • Green Thumb Note: New to Green Thumb’s Garden for 2023.  


Rosso Sicilian- “70-90 days from transplant. (aka Russo Sicilian Togetta) Introduced to SSE by Ann Fuller of Indiana. She received the seed from a man who brought it to the U.S. in 1987 from Sicily where his family had grown it many years. Anne said its slices look like red-petaled flowers (rosso means “red”). Striking crayfish red costoluta (ribbed) fruits weigh up to 6 ounces. Firm pithy flesh is perfect for making tomato sauce or paste. Thin skin bruises easily. Determinate.”

  • Green Thumb Note: New to our Seed Saver’s seed offerings for 2023.  


Silvery Fir Tree- “60 days from transplant. Traditional Russian variety with distinctive carrot-like silvery-gray foliage on compact 24″ plants. Heavy crops of round, slightly flattened 3-3½” red fruits. Unique decorative variety that is a real eye-catcher. Does well in hanging baskets or on patios. Introduced by Seed Savers Exchange in 1995. Determinate.”

  • Green Thumb Note: A true champion of container gardening.  Its dainty leaf shape adds further interest and desirability to plant on the patio and is the earliest tomato we sell.  Succession plant when starting seeds for a continuous harvest throughout the season.


White Cherry- 70 days from transplant. Early and productive pale yellow to ivory 1 ounce fruits; color will be paler with less sun exposure. An excellent color addition to cherry tomato mixes. Sweet fruity flavor. Indeterminate. 

  • Green Thumb Note: Super Sweet!!! 2022 was my first year growing white tomatoes and I will have them in my garden from here on out.  Heavy producers. Stake or cage early to prevent fruit rotting on the soil.


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