Here is a bit of info about the tomatoes that were featured in the Heirloom Tomatoes with Mozzarella and Balsamic course:
Virginia Sweets - This is one of many (as in over 100) of the so-called yellow/red bicolor tomatoes that may or may not be just synonyms...the tomatoes are that similar. Other examples are Pineapple, Old German, Mr. Stripey, Big Rainbow, Mammoth German Gold, Regina's Yellow - they all share potentially enormous size and striking yellow flesh with brilliant red marbling, as well as a very sweet, mild, fruity flavor.
Green Zebra - Not strictly an heirloom, having been bred and released by Tom Wagner in the mid 1970s, this is a very popular small to medium sized round tomato with a pronounced tartness to its flavor - the flesh stays green when it is ripe, and the skin is striped green and amber.
Aunt Ruby's German Green - This is unusual in being a green fleshed variety that has clear skin (making it very hard to know when to pick); it is one of the very best flavored tomatoes and a good one to fool your friends with....how can a tomato that is so green inside be so succulent and delicious? First introduced in the Seed Savers Exchange1993 Yearbook by Bill Minkey of Darien, Wisconsin, Bill received the seed from Nita Hofstrom of Clinton, Wisconsin, whose aunt, Ruby Arnold of Greeneville, TN, grew it for years. The seed originally came from Ruby Arnold's German immigrant grandfather, and Ruby simply called it 'German Green' tomato. Bill Minkey asked Ruby for permission to rename this variety and he called it 'Aunt Ruby's German Green' after Ruby Arnold.
Cherokee Purple - I suspect by now most people know the story of this tomato....the quickie version is that J D Green of Sevierville TN sent me seed of an unnamed "purple tomato that the Cherokee Indians gave my neighbors 100 years ago". I grew it, loved it, named it and sent it to my friend Jeff at Southern Exposure Seed. He loved the flavor, thought people would compare the tomato's appearance to a bruise! All's well that ends well!
Brandywine - there were a few options for the pink tomatoes - the larger, flatter one could have been Brandywine, or German Johnson (see next entry). Many people consider Brandywine among the most delicious of tomatoes (I certainly do!)...it is large, pink (clear skinned), and grows on plants with potato plant-shaped leaves. We don't know all that much about its history except the Sudduth family gave the variety to Ben Quisenberry from Ohio - Ben is the one who popularized it through sharing seed and selling plants.
German Johnson - Similar in appearance to Brandywine (sometimes it is lumpier and has more pronounced creases on the tomato shoulders), this is THE North Carolina heirloom tomato - that, shockingly, we know essentially nothing about the history. Always described as low acid, in truth there are no low acid tomatoes - just big variations in sugar content (tomatoes that taste sweet/low acid just have more sugar). Also to be noted is that I just don't like German Johnson very much! I don't find much flavor - and that flavor I note isn't all that pleasant to my palate! But there are many who love it...go figure!
Eva Purple Ball - This is a perfectly round medium sized pink tomato - one of the most perfect looking heirlooms. This variety was brought to the U.S. from the Black Forest region of Germany in the late 1800s by the family of Joseph Bratka of Elmwood Park, New Jersey - Joe shared the variety with Carolyn Male...Carolyn sent it to me - it was then exchanged frequently among seed savers and became quite well known. It tends to be a mildly sweet, tasty variety.
Kellogg's Breakfast - This lovely orange tomato originated with Darrell Kellogg of Redford, Michigan - he sent it to SSE member Bill Minkey, and its popularity grew rapidly. This tends to be one of heirloom enthusiasts' favorite orange tomatoes, having a particularly full bodied, well balanced flavor.
Let's see what varieties show up next Tuesday!