Tomato season is almost here, and Storey staffers are growing some of the unusual varieties featured in Craig LeHoullier’s book, Epic Tomatoes.

In early May, Storey editor Carleen Madigan sent out an email seeking foster parents for tomato plants that had been sent to us from North Carolina by Craig LeHoullier, author of  Epic Tomatoes. Partially for fun, and partially to ensure that we’d have the fruit we needed for photo shoots for the book, a number of us here at Storey volunteered some garden space and pledged to take good care of our charges.

Now that the heat and rains of summer have arrived, many of us are beginning to see signs of fruit. In honor of Bloom Day this month, we thought it would be fun to collect all our “epic” tomatoes virtually, from the giant to the dwarf, as they continue to grow in various corners of Western Massachusetts.

Are you growing tomatoes this summer? What varieties are in your garden?

ANNE GUEST, NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS

Variety: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln is the only one in my garden that I see an actual tomato on so far; it was ahead of the others I started from seed. It’s also the only one in my garden that looks stressed; it’s at the end of the row and I’m sure gets the most sun, but also maybe the least water.  I did cram them in there.

Abe Lincoln Tomato plants

Garden marker

Green Abe Lincoln Tomato

GWEN STEEGE, WILLIAMSTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS

Variety: Rosella Purple

Rosella Purple Tomato Plant in Container

CARLEEN MADIGAN, CUMMINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS

Varieties: Nepal, Lillian’s Red Paste, Little Lucky

Nepal tomato fruit and plant

Nepal


Lillians Red Paste

Lillian’s Red Paste

Little Lucky tomato plant

Little Lucky has not been so lucky — no fruit yet!

DEBORAH BALMUTH, WINDSOR, MASSACHUSETTS

Variety: Dwarf Wild Fred

Here’s the first tomato emerging on our Dwarf Wild Fred growing in a pot on our deck!

Dwarf Wild Fred Tomato Plant

HANNAH FRIES, MONTEREY, MASSACHUSETTS

Varieties: Hugh’s, Yellow White

Both Hugh’s and Yellow White are looking robust and have started to fruit.  Early on they bravely suffered some minor nibblings by spider mites, but you wouldn’t know it now.  They have been growing like crazy, and I’ve been dutifully suckering them and whispering sweet tomato lullabies in the evenings…

Hughs tomato

Hugh’s

Yellow white tomato

Yellow white fruit set

Yellow white tomato

Yellow white

LISA HILEY, WILLIAMSTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS

Varieties: Lucky Cross, Mexico Midget, Tiger Tom

Tiger Tom has good fruit set but the leaves are sort of curling in (not sure if this is normal). They look healthy otherwise. Lucky Cross has some fruit and looks healthy; the leaves on this one and Tiger Tom are huge compared to the other varieties! Mexico Midget looks the spindliest and sprawliest of all my tomatoes and has the only signs of disease — yellowed leaves in the interior lower branches; not sure if it’s blight or just too much moisture — but it has lots of blossoms and a few teeny green tomatoes.

Lucky Cross Tomato

Lucky Cross

Mexico midget tomato plant

Mexico Midget tomato plant

Tiger tom tomatoes on plant

Tiger Tom

EMILY SPIEGELMAN, WENDELL, MASSACHUSETTS

Varieties: Lillian’s Yellow, Cherokee Chocolate

Our Cherokee Chocolate and Lillian’s Yellow are keeping pace with the rest of our toms, with nice fruit set on both plants. I love the deeply ridged fruit of the Lilllian’s Yellow, but the plant has some discoloration on lower leaves and branches. A few other (non-Epic) varieties in our garden show the same. Blight? Hopefully not. It doesn’t seem to be spreading.

cherokee chocolate tomato

Cherokee Chocolate

lillians yellow tomato

Lillian’s Yellow

flower on lillians yellow tomato plant

Lillian’s Yellow flower

CAROLINE BURCH, STAMFORD, VERMONT

Variety: Golden Queen

It seems to be flourishing!

Golden queen tomato plant

DEB BURNS, WILLIAMSTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS

Varieties: Mullen’s Mortgage Lifter, Big Boy

mullens mortgage lifter tomato plant

Mullen’s Mortgage Lifter

big boy tomato plant and fruit

Big Boy

ZAN DAVIES, NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS

Variety: Sun Gold

I planted my sun gold over Memorial Day weekend. I started getting fruit pretty early, probably at the end of June. But now it’s really starting to bloom and fruit even more. I have some photos of pizzas I made last year with sun golds I grew and it makes me get a hankering for more of the same this year.

sun gold tomato plant

Just planted: Memorial Day weekend

sun gold tomato plant

How it looked on July 12

sun gold tomatoes on vine

Fruit!

LESLIE CHARLES, CHESTERFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

Varieties: Yellow Oxhart, Giant Syrian

Yellow Oxhart tomato plant

Yellow Oxhart

giant syrian tomato on vine

Giant Syrian

Storey Digital Editors

We are the staff at Storey Publishing — the crafters, cooks, brewers, builders, homesteaders, gardeners, and all-around DIY-ers who make Storey books.

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Epic Tomatoes

by Craig LeHoullier

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