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Heritage Tomato Named After Gardener
Stephania Potter never expected to have a tomato named after her, but she is pleased that people now have access to a variety her family has enjoyed for 5 decades.
  “We call it a toMayto because we start eating them in May,” explains the Ridgefield, Wash., gardener. “It’s a salad tomato, and the plant doesn’t get very big either. It has an old-fashioned tomato taste.”
  A Skamania County extension agent gave the original seeds to her mother. He told her they came from the Andes Mountains in South America, which is where tomatoes originated.
  Seeds were saved by several members of the family, including Potter, who has grown them in a garden at a 1,500-ft. elevation in the Columbia River gorge. She starts the seed in cells just before Christmas and later transfers them to 4-in. pots. In late February or March she moves the plants to soil-filled totes outside on the south side of her home and keeps them covered until April.
  The red tomatoes start out with little tips on the end but round out as they grow and ripen. The plants have “potato” leaves that are more oblong than jagged like most tomato varieties.
  “They are just an all around little tomato. We use them for everything — in salad, for salsa,” Potter says. The skin is firm and the tomato is sweet and juicy. Because it is an indeterminate variety, plants produce all season long. It is also hardy, Potter adds. She has picked tomatoes that were laying on the ground after a week of hard frosts. The only disease issue she has noticed is late blight that other varieties in her garden also have.
  The family’s variety name toMayto became Stephania Heritage Tomato when she shared seeds with the Clark County Master Gardeners.
  Potter grows the variety away from other tomato varieties so they don’t cross-pollinate. She notes that she will sell seeds to FARM SHOW gardeners interested in trying the heritage variety.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Stephania Potter (ph 360 887-3455; stephaniapotter@gmail.com).

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2016 - Volume #40, Issue #2