Wapsipinicon Peach Tomatos have a unique fuzzy skin and extremely sweet flavor.
Wapsipinicon Peach Tomatos have a unique fuzzy skin and extremely sweet flavor.

And the winner is…Wapsipinicon Peach!

Last week you’ll remember we started our seeds in the SUNY Cobleskill greenhouses, assisted by Bob Sutherland.

The first tomato seedlings popped up yesterday. The Wapsipinicon Peach variety germinated the quickest…which we take to be a good sign since it’s also one of our favorites. Named after the Wapsipinicon River in Iowa, this very unique variety is creamy yeallow with a fuzzy skin reminiscent of it’s name. (The peach, not the river.)

The first tomato seedlings sprout.
The first tomato seedlings sprout.

We’re sure more seeds are popping as we speak, but we wanted to get this breaking news out there as soon as possible. Now, back to regularly scheduled programming…

Below are the 17 other heirloom varieties we grow in the Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Garden. Hopefully we’ll have tastings of many of them at our Garden Party gathering in the fall. Let us know which you’re growing in the comment section below, and clue us in to which are your favorites.

CHEROKEE PURPLE TOMATO – This deep purple tomato was believed to have been grown by the Cherokee Indians in Tennessee in the nineteenth century. A very sweet and rich tomato.

BRANDYWINE – One of the most famous of the heirloom tomatoes, this Amish heirloom was introduced in 1885. It comes from the collection of the late Ben Quisenberry who collected hundreds of tomato strains from 1910 to the 1960’s.

YELLOW PEAR TOMATO – This is one of the oldest recorded varieties of tomatoes, dating back to the 1600’s. Not planted in home gardens until much later.

TOMATILLO – Not a tomato, but known as a Ground Cherry. Used in Green Chili sance. 1 2 oz. fruit in tan colored husk. Very distinctive flavor.

DR. CAROLINE (cherry) TOMATO- A rare “white” cherry tomato, has an extremely fruity taste. It is a sport of Galinas, a Siberian tomato, and is named for Carolyn Male, author of 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden. Vines may grow to a height of 6-8 feet and fruit is produced prolifically in clusters of 8-10 tomatoes.

BONNIE BEST TOMATO –  Good Northern tomato. Bright scarlet. 6 oz. fruit.

KELLOGG’S  BEST TOMATO-  This is probably the best of the large, orange heirloom tomato varieties. It was introduced by Darrell Kellogg of Redford, Michigan. The 1 lb. fruits have a rich, intense tomato flavor. They grow in clusters of 2 or 3 on the indeterminate plants.

MARGLOBE TOMATO – Scarlet, flattened, 6 oz. globes with delicious flavor.

WAPSIPINICON PEACH – “Peach” tomatoes are named for the light fuzz that covers its skin.  These creamy yellow fruits are supposedly the sweetest of all “peach” varieties.

RUTGERS TOMATO – Bright, blood red, 5 oz. globes. Old time flavor.

GREEN ZEBRA TOMATO – This tomato is a visually distinctive fruit with dark green stripes set against a light green to yellow background. The flesh is a very bright green. The taste is slightly acidic, but sometimes sweet. The 2-3 ounce fuit grow in clusters of 4-6. The vines grow 3-5 feet in height.

PINEAPPLE TOMATO – Beautiful inside and out. Deep orange with yellow shoulders, it has a sweet flavor as pretty as it looks.

WHITE WONDER TOMATO – A “white” tomato, with a high sugar content.

GREEN GIANT TOMATO – A huge tomato, sometimes producing 2 lb fruits, with brilliant green shoulders and a lime green body when fully ripe.

STRIPED ROMAN TOMATO – Banana-shaped, pointed red fruit with orange stripes make an excellent, sweet tasting paste. Very distinctive.

BLACK CHERRY TOMATO – Still quite rare, these dark purple cherry tomatoes are possibly the best cherry tomato on the planet.

GERMAN RED STRAWBERRY TOMATO – Uniquely shaped,  with sweet taste and lovely fragrance. Originated in Germany.

by Josh Kilmer-Purcell

Reader Comments

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Connie Wedding

I have heard that Green Zebra has won a lot of taste tests. Have you tried that one? I am looking for a tomato that has that old tomato flavor….not too sweet, and with some acidity and zing. Have not done too well growing them in the two years that I have tried. Was inspired to try by the two of you! Is there a "tomato for dummies" out there that hardly ever fails? I think I have black thumbs!


This is making me want to force the others in this house to eat tomatoes! I'm the only one who will eat them on their own, so most of the tomatoes we grow get made into sauce. Any suggestions there?

Big Bubba Cain

My Pleasure!

BTW: Although my mother raised me not be a "name dropper", I will say that there's a regular contributor on Tomatoville who's certain lady doctor with tomato varieties named after her (including the "white cherry" you mentioned above). She's a wonderful source of info….practically Tomato Royalty!

Big Bubba Cain

I hope you'll take a look sometime at http://www.tomatoville.com. It's a great resource of info for those who want to think "outside the box" when it come to heirloom tomatoes. It's where I've always found varieties that are:

a.) not always available commercially.

b.) previously believed to be extinct.

People don't realize the impact they'll leave on future generations when they grow an obscure heirloom variety. By doing so, they're keeping that variety alive. I like to encourage others to keep seeking new varieties. There are so many heirloom tomato varieties worth saving if we could just encourage others to try and grow something new every year.


I have started my beekman tomatoes inside and they are close to 2.5". Nothing better than getting a head start. I can't wait to taste my first beekman heirloom tomatoe

Beekman Groupie

Hey there! I just wanted to share two quick tomato tips (that is a tongue twister two tomato tips)…

1) potassium rich soil – one of the best ways is to cut up a few banana peels and cover in the soil around the plants (of course if the banana's aren't organic then this might not be the best solution because you could unknowingly introduce outside pesticides from the banana peel).

2) crop rotation – legumes fix nitrogen to their roots so it is always a good practice to plant the legumes in a different bed each year to naturally enrich the soil of each bed.

– This is from one cute gay farmboy to another.

Dr. Brent


We'll have to be the judge of "cuteness", but we can say that these are excellent tips for raising tomatoes. Thanks for sharing with us and everyone else


I grew 15 different Heirloom Tomatoes last year in Lincoln Park, many from previous years saved seeds. My 3 favorites were Sheboygan, Morgage LIfter and Purple Russian. Sheyboygan was a huge sucess, they are fat pepper shaped fruit, that is just tops and taste and Heavy yeilding. Purple Russian were super sweet. Morgage lifter is just a top all around Mater.

Charles Burns

Or was it Bonnie Rutger. Looks like both are bright red or is it scarlett. Liked it and would like to use it next year. Please reply.

Charles Burns

Is Bonnie best the real bright red with tough skin tomato I have heard about. Had a sample last year but localy couldn't find plants.Do we need to get them from you next year? I only plant a dozen, is it worth while for you to reply?

Josh Kilmer-Purcell

hmm, charles. it would be hard to tell a rutger from a bonny best tomato by the fruit alone. they are both nearly the same size and color. if you remember the plant itself, you could tell the difference. the rutger tomato is a determinate plant (shorter, compact bush plant whose fruit ripens all at once) while bonny best is indeterminate (more viney, keeps blossoming & fruiting until frost.)

we don't sell tomato plants ourselves, but we recommend landreth seeds for starting them if you have the capacity to do so.


Yay for tomatoes! When those two little leaves poke out of the seed trays, we have renewed faith that summer's on the way!

All great varieties-can't wait for that first "real" salad of the season…


Some of those varieties I have never tried before, but my favorites are the tomatillo, roma, yellow pear, Mr. Stripey, green zebra, and hillbilly. So far I haven't tried an heirloom tomato that I haven't liked though.

It's always so exciting when the first seedlings come up!