Back in 1993 I grew one of my favorite tomatoes, Brandywine, in my Raleigh, North Carolina garden. From those wonderful, large pink fruit, I saved plenty of seeds. That year, Brandywine was situated between the experimental variety Tad, and Ukrainian Heart. Tad was a variety developed by a seed saver friend Tad Smith by crossing Tigerella (a small red tomato with gold stripes) with Old German (a large red/yellow bicolor). Though not yet fully stable, Tad was producing small yellow tomatoes with red jagged stripes. Ukrainian Heart is a large, heart shaped pink variety.
Anyway - fast forward to 1997. I started perhaps 10-15 Brandywine seeds from that batch I saved in 1993. Several of the resulting seedlings showed themselves to be regular leaf, rather than the expected potato leaf foliage that Brandywine itself has. Well, I could have just tossed out those regular leaf seedlings and planted out what I knew would be Brandywine. But instead I decided to also plant one of those regular leaf seedlings in my garden. I suspected it was an F1 hybrid - regular leaf is dominant, and any cross of a regular leaf variety with Brandywine would result in a hybrid with regular leaf foliage.
Well, that was the first instance of luck - that I didn't toss, but instead planted, a regular leaf seedling. In the green fruit stage, I noticed distinct vertical striping. As it ripened, the fruit turned a lovely deep pink, with striking vertical gold streaks and stripes - with much finer and distinct striping than I'd seen up to that point. In retrospect, a bee probably transported some pollen from a Tad blossom on to a Brandywine blossom, thus producing a hybrid. And I managed to include some seeds from that crossed fruit with my Brandywine saved seed that year. As a bonus, the fruit was delicious, reflecting its Brandywine heritage.
With plenty of seed saved from the uniquely striped fruit, the saga of Little Lucky and Lucky Cross begins....and this part of the story ends. Stay tuned for part 2, soon!
By the way, below is a picture of a slightly overripe fruit of the Brandywine X (presumably) Tad cross that started this whole interesting journey. Note the distinct vertical striping.