Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tomato Patch: Grandpa Henry’s paste tomato

Grandpa Henry's heirloom tomatoes

One of the most unusual paste tomatoes I’ve “trialed” in years is Grandpa Henry’s, the seeds of which were a gift late last winter from Henry Lysy, a Carroll County Master Gardener.

The Grandpa Henry’s I’ve grown this summer averaged just over 10 ounces.  They were long, narrow, with pointed ends, reminding me of a few other paste tomatoes I’ve seen in catalogs—such as Jersey Devil and San Marzano Redorta.  When visitors saw them, they often thought they were hot peppers, not tomatoes. 

Henry said his dad received the original seeds from an Italian immigrant neighbor in Rhode Island and passed seeds on to Henry, who’s been growing them at least 30 years.  For Henry’s family and his many gardening friends, Grandpa Henry’s paste tomato is truly an heirloom variety.  Thank you, Henry, for carrying on a grand gardening tradition—and for sharing seeds with me and many others.
'Solid, little juice...just perfect for making sauce'
“I’ve really seen nothing like them,” Henry said when he gave me the seeds.  “I gladly share seeds and just ask that they call them Grandpa Henry’s. They’re prolific producers and are solid with little juice—just perfect for making sauce.”

Though many of Grandpa Henry’s sported green shoulders when I picked them to avoid damage by brown marmorated stink bugs, they were mostly deep red inside.  The green shoulders turned red in four or five days on a counter in our garage.  I made several batches of sauce in late summer, and this open-pollinated family heirloom has been a welcome ingredient, along with my other trial paste tomato, Burpee SuperSauce, which I blogged about a few days ago.

Thank you, Henry Lysy for sharing a family treasure.  Maybe you’ve just proved again that some of the best things in life are free.

If you've grown Grandpa Henry's, please post a Comment about how this heirloom performed in your Tomato Patch.

1 comment:

  1. ...just thanks for your good work and sharing of observations.