Brandywine Tomato:
Tomato of the Month

The Brandywine tomato, a classic beefsteak slicing tomato, is credited with bringing heirloom tomatoes back into popularity after the rise of hybridization in the twentieth century. The variety has become one of the most popular home garden cultivars in the United States. It has been dubbed “the best-tasting tomato in the world.”

How did this tomato come to us?

Brandywine’s history is a bit uncertain. What can be confirmed is this: Ohio tomato enthusiast Ben Quisenberry (1887-1986) brought the tomato to the attention of today’s gardeners by listing it in the Seed Savers Exchange in 1982.

Prior to that, Brandywine’s line cannot be unequivocally verified. Quisenberry reputedly received original Brandywine seeds fom Dorris Sudduth Hill, who claimed they had been in her family for over 80 years.  In question is whether the cultivar was passed down as a heirloom (through Doriss’ Amish family in Pennsylvania) from a commercial variety, or if it was brought to the U.S. from overseas.

To further muddle the seed ancestry waters, Burpee claims to have introduced Brandywine to its customers in 1886 – nearly a century before the variety’s Seed Savers Exchange debut. Johnson and Stokes also listed a Brandywine variety in their 1889 catalog.


Johnson & Stokes Brandywine tomato ad 1889

What to know about Brandywine

Brandywine: Burpee
Regardless of who introduced the Brandywine first, its original and other confirmed strains are readily available.

Buy Brandywine tomato seeds here.

Confirmed Brandywine strains

Brandywine OTV
Brandywine, Purple
Brandywine, Red
Brandywine, Red (Landis Valley)
Brandywine, Sudduth's Strain
Brandywine, Yellow (Platfoot)

Additional strains with the Brandywine name have appeared in the marketplace, including Cherry Brandywine, Glick’s Strain Brandywine, Joyce’s Strain Brandywine, Liam’s Brandywine, and Pawer’s Brandywine, to name a few.

Brandywine Tomato
Indeterminate
Type: Heirloom
Origin: reputed to be Chester County, PA, USA
Days to maturity: 80-100 days
Season: mid-season to late season
Foliage/habit: potato leaf
Fruit color: pink-red
Fruit shape/size: beefsteak, 12 ounces – 2 pounds
Yield: moderate
Taste: rich, flavorful




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