Winter’s Crimean tomatoes
‘TOMATO revolutionary’ Alf Sorbello grows black krim, red ox-heart, golden ox-heart, Hungarian red heart, pink brandy wine and hill billy for Granny Smith. And from mid-June we’re bringing these wonderfully-named varieties of Solanum lycopersicum directly from Alf and Lee Sorbello’s Leppington farm – in Sydney’s south-western hinterland – to our store. Black krim is a Ukranian tomato bred in Crimea, the peninsula on the northern shore of the Black Sea. Hungarian red heart is an ox heart type with tomato pink skin and flesh. This strain originated in a small village near Budapest and was brought to the United States in 1901. Grown under optimum conditions, you can expect 10-15 fruits per plant. It has irregularly-shaped fruits which often weigh one kilogram or more. Illinois tomato grower Nick Huizenga says that if lifetime achievement awards were given to heirloom tomatoes, pink brandywine would be ‘the hands-down winner’. ‘No surprise that it’s on-board the Slow Food Ark of Taste – this beloved tomato has long been recognised as the king of all heirlooms, and rightfully so.’ Nick writes. ‘This legendary beefsteak variety sets the standard for flavour by which all others are judged. There are several different strains of brandy wine out there, but we think Sudduth’s (from Dorris Sudduth Hill of Tennessee) is hands-down the best for flavour. Grown for over 100 years by the same family, it was first introduced to the public in 1979 by tomato grower Ben Quisenberry.’ Alf and Lee Sorbello today grow more than 48 varieties of heirloom tomato. Granny Smith is proud to market these superb fruits.