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Cherokee Purple Tomato

Cherokee Purple tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) is an heirloom variety grown for its unusual color, rich taste, and irregular shape. The fruit of Cherokee purple may be red or a light or dark purplish red. This tomato is a beefsteak type tomato that has a rich, sweet, tomato flavor without any tartness and very juicy. Cherokee Purple tomatoes usually have pronounced ridges or shoulders and are not perfectly round as most tomatoes but are irregular in shape. The photo below compares from left to right: Boxcar Willie, Cherokee Purple, and Celebrity tomato varieties. Note that Cherokee Purple produces a large tomato fruit.


The Cherokee Purple tomato is believed to have originated with the Cherokee Indians in Tennessee more than a century ago.


Cherokee Purple is indeterminate, so it keeps growing and setting new fruit all summer long until frost. It’s large fruits are great for slicing up and using with any sandwich or serving with your favorite meal like green chile chicken enchilada and beans.


Cherokee Purple Tomato is an heirloom variety that Trees That Please Nursery usually has available in 4-packs for planting each spring. If you planted yours in May you are probably enjoying some of these tasty fruits now.


Photos & Narrative By:
Stephen Sain
Staff Plant Physiologist

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