Do you have any tomato recommendations for northern Illinois?

Joined Nov 6, 2004
Hi all :)

It's the off season for gardening, but I've got a few questions regarding tomato varieties that might be desirable in northern Illinois.

For the last two years I've been growing my own heirloom tomatoes. I went with four different varieties at home and six varieties at work. The women who runs the nursery where I buy my vegetables is open to suggestions. She usually gets around 40 varieties of tomatoes and many of them are heirlooms :roll:

Here is a link to the 2009 varieties. Does anyone have any suggestions about must have heirlooms? or must keep heirlooms?

Her selection of tomatoes is much better than her selection on other vegetables. Have you got any heirloom suggestions for other veggies?

Last year I tried Thessaloniki, Pruden’s Purple’, Green Zebra and Garden Peach at home. At work I had Green Zebra, Garden Peach, Julia Child, Matt's Wild Cherry, Chocolate Cherry and Mule team.

All were very good and together they were even better! My least favorite were probably Matt's Wild Cherry, just too sweet.

Thanks all!
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
That's an interesting list, Dan. From it there are four I would consider must-grow for a relative beginner, particularly where you are.

1. Cherokee Purple. Hands down, the best tasting heirloom in general circulation. The fruits are ugly as home-made sin, but the flavor more than makes up for that.

2. Stupice (which, btw, is pronounced stew-peach-ee) is a fair-to-middlin' tomato, in terms of flavor. But it's incredibly early (50-odd days), and does well in the northern states.

3. Paul Robeson. Undoubtedly the second best of the blacks (the first is a determinate type), and one for which plants and seeds are not overly common. If you're gonna try a black tomato, may as well start at the top of the heap. While on this subject, avoid Black Krim, which is the most over-rated heirloom tomato in the world.

4. Brandywine. Brandywine is an icon of the heirlooms community. As such, you should see, firsthand, what the shouting is all about. And it will introduce you to the pinks, which, as a group, are IMO the best tasting.
Joined Nov 6, 2004
Thanks for the response KYH! I can't wait until next year and the owner sent out an e-mail asking for any request for 2010. I'll certainly make sure I get all of your recommendations.


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