Monday, June 09, 2014

Tomato Patch: Cherokee by Another Name is Chocolate

In this guest blog series by Bob Nixon, he explores various tomato varieties and how well they grow in the Mid-Atlantic region. Look for Tomato Patch posts every Monday for the next few months as our local tomato season gets underway.

Typical Cherokee Chocolate tomato
When I received my seed order from Tomato Growers Supply Co. last winter, it contained a complimentary packet of 'Cherokee Chocolate' tomato seeds.  Hey, chocolate, I thought—what is there not to salivate over?

Here’s how Tomato Growers describes Cherokee Chocolate:  “A stabilized version of Cherokee Purple, this 10 to 16 oz. mahogany-colored variety has excellent flavor and beautiful large fruit.  Very productive plants are vigorous and yield a large harvest of these chocolate-colored tomatoes with the ample size and wonderful flavor associated with Cherokee Purple.”

I’m not sure I know what “stabilized” means in a tomato variety, but my Cherokee Chocolate plants produced more fruit per plant than the Cherokee Purples I’ve grown.  Fruits are larger, mine averaging just under 16 oz., though Chocolate seem more irregular in shape than the global Purple, and slightly more juicy and less “smoky” in flavor, as some catalogs describe the Purple.  I found it more convenient to cut the irregular-shaped fruit in half and then to slice or chunk the two halves.

Will I grow them again next year?  I have left-over seeds stored in the fridge from this year’s complimentary packet, so why not?  But I probably wouldn’t buy another packet unless I really wanted to grow a Cherokee that produces more and larger fruit than Purple.

Cherokee Chocolate tomatoes
sometimes challenge your slicing skills

About the Author
Bob Nixon is a retiree who lives at Meadow Glenn, a rural residential home near Clarksville in the piedmont region of Maryland. He loves gardening with emphasis on veggies and perennial flowers, and he is gradually reforesting parts of his home lot with native trees. And while he is gardening or mowing or just walking about, he sometimes reflect on life and what’s happening beyond Meadow Glenn at his blog:

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