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Old January 17, 2014   #1
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Charleston, SC
Posts: 10
Default Cherokee Purple alternatives

Ok all...I am a full time greenhouse tomato grower who specializes in heirlooms...and basically tomatoes that just plain taste good (not against hybrids). I am resisting many of the standard greenhouse hybrids despite higher yields and disease resistance. The chefs and market love many of the varieties I grow...including the Cherokee purples. However, I am not a big fan of their growth patterns or the number of lower quality fruit that are harvested. You get some nice big pretties...and then some that are just not marketable. Most of the other varieties I grow don't have that problem. Alternatives with comparable (or higher) yields, excellent taste and a similar color? I have grown Black Krim in the past, but never took data...was thinking about that one. Also, any other suggestions variety wise? I am growing them all hydroponically and pushing for a long "season". I grow year round and each row stays in for 35 weeks. Thanks in advance!
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Old January 17, 2014   #2
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Location: Vista, CA
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To get good crops out of Cherokee Purple -- or almost all 1/2 pound and up size fruits, be sure your available Potash is in a 3:2 ratio with available Nitrogen; i.e., 3 parts available Potash to 2 parts available Nitrogen. Also, amortized across the growing season in the hydroponic environment you will want to use 1/4 pound available Nitrogen per plant.

Now ... I understand that Cherokee Purple can be shall we say, grouchy? I have found that "Black From Tula" is a far more predictable cropper and has less of a heat requirement (in terms of degree-days) to maturity than Cherokee Purple.
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Old January 17, 2014   #3
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Location: Newfoundland, Canada
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Indian Stripe has the same taste as CP in a slightly smaller fruit. Personally I like that characteristic instead of fewer larger fruit, because it spreads the risk - if you lose one it's not so big a deal.

I really liked the quality of IS this past summer. It wasn't lossy at all, pretty much a beautiful fruit with great taste.
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Old January 17, 2014   #4
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Location: Illinois, zone 6
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I haven't tried it, but Seedway has a variety called Black Velvet that looks like a commercialized Cherokee Purple:
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Old January 17, 2014   #5
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Location: 6a - NE Tennessee
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One variety that I grow every year and that gives me lots of larger tomatoes and continues the harvest is African Queen. Another is Bulgarian Old Sort. Another is Faworyt. I could go on and on, but the common thread is my suggestions above is wonderful taste. You might also look at Krasnodar Titan - I grew it in an 18 gallon pot and got 15 to 20 fruits averaging about 8-10 oz. Again it's the taste.

From the Dwarf Project, look at Sweet Sue, Summer Sunrise, Rosella Purple, and Tennessee Suited. Emerald Giant is a great "Green When Ripe" that has the commercial size quality as well as an unexpected sweet taste.
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Old January 17, 2014   #6
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Location: North West Wyoming
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Black Early produces earlier and with more fruits here in Wyoming. I got my seed from Baker Creek. I see it as available at Heritage Tomato Seed. "Black Early is a delicious medium sized black tomato. For us, Black Early wasn’t as early as Vorlon but was still an early, heavy producer.According to Ake Truedsson, who introduced this variety to SSE in 1998, this cultivar came from France." It tastes very much like Cherokee Purple.
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Old January 17, 2014   #7
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Location: Iowa Zone 5
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More ideas for Bogaat,

From Andrew Still's Adaptive Seeds is supposedly an improvement:

I can add that his Mavritanskite was my best dark tomato I grew back in '11. -R
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Old January 17, 2014   #8
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Location: Upstate NY, zone 4b/5a
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I agree with the suggestion to grow Indian Stripe.

It's a version of Cherokee Purple and has slightly smaller fruits,more to the truss and slightly lighter in color.

If you click on seed availability at the top of the page above you'll see that many places list it which indicates its popularity.

Cherokee Purple was introduced by Craig LeHoullier in I think 1992 while I first was given the seeds for IS in I think 2003.

I also find it interesting that CP and IS both have PL versions and they both have heart versions.

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Old January 18, 2014   #9
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If you're growing year round, I would recommend Black Early for your colder season. I grew BE and Indian Stripe starting early in the cold this year. Black Early was sixteen days earlier in those conditions, and the early fruit were high quality with very minor catfacing on the blossom end of the first fruit and no defects of texture or taste which are common early in the season. By comparison, the first fruit of Indian Stripe was quite severely catfaced and ripened unevenly. However once the cold had passed and in summer growing temperatures, Black Early had more of a tendency to radial cracks on a regular basis, while Indian Stripe fruit were generally perfect except for that first one and one other that set in a cold spell. Both plants bore fine quality fruit in the fall.

The taste of Black Early was not the same as IS, although it is very good. I put it closer to the category of mild rich blacks, which are not tangy when fully ripe nor as sweet as CP, IS and Vorlon. Overall though an excellent cool weather black for me.
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Old January 18, 2014   #10
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Location: Edina, MN (Zone 4)
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I think JD's Special C-Tex has more reliable fruit size and produces more than CP. In my opinion, the taste is good, but quite as good as CP.
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Old January 18, 2014   #11
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I notice that Black Krim has dominated Atlanta's farmers markets in the last two years. Big, solid fruits that Atlanta buyers seem to adore.
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