Growing Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

We have to talk about Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes. When I bought this little plant at Vintage and Vines in east Texas, I had no idea I was growing the tastiest tomato. Cherokee Purple is hands down the best tomato I’ve ever eaten. My mom said the same and she’s from California, the land of perfect produce. I grew my own this year and I was not prepared for how enchanted I would be by this perfect tomato.

Summer Vegetable Garden Ideas

Read about planting my summer garden (including Cherokee Purple) here.

How to Grow Tomatoes
I love the ombre effect on this tomato!
How to Grow Tomatoes
Cherokee Purple on the vine

How to Grow Tomatoes

The Cherokee tribe are thought to have been passed down the seeds through generations and wow, am I glad they did. It’s without a doubt the most flavorful tomato I’ve ever tasted. It’s no wonder that it frequently wins tomato contests across the nation! I mean, just look at it. You can tell how incredible it’s going to be just by looking at the sheer juiciness and the color. These tomatoes are sort of a dusty brick red on the outside with an ombre effect but the inside is a deep, rich color red that’s almost leaning towards black.

Growing Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

Honestly, I don’t think I could bear to cook with these. They’re too perfect and juicy fresh but of course, any dish you cook with them would be just that much tastier! I have mostly been eating mine in green salads, as caprese salad, and dressed with olive oil and balsamic.

Growing Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
Cherokee Purple tomatoes in a salad

Growing Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

According to Bonnie Plants, a Cherokee Purple plant yields about twenty tomatoes per season, so it isn’t the most prolific tomato plant but that makes sense, since it’s an heirloom. I’ve gotten about ten tomatoes thus far as of mid-July but honestly, I may plant all Cherokee Purple tomatoes next year. They’re worth a lower yield!

Growing Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

Growing Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

You can see that the top is quite brown while the bottom is a pinky-red. I’m not even sure I would find it all that appealing in a grocery store because of how brown-hued the tops are but don’t let that sway you. My jaw hit the kitchen floor when I sliced into one and saw the vibrant, mouth-watering color inside.

The tomatoes are medium-sized, smaller than my Black Krim tomatoes, but definitely larger than a Roma tomato. Sadly birds got the first few the second they started to change color, so I picked all of my Cherokee Purple tomatoes green (but after they start to give a little when pressed) and ripened them on my kitchen windowsill.

How to Grow Tomatoes | How to Ripen Tomatoes
That’s a Cherokee Purple tomato in the top center.
How to Grow Tomatoes | How to Ripen Tomatoes
The same tomatoes two days later

The plant itself can get 4-6 feet tall. At just four feet tall, my Cherokee Purple plant is one of the shorter tomato vines in my garden. It’s an indeterminate tomato, meaning it will keep growing and producing fruit all season long until frost kills it in the winter. This is an absolute MUST GROW plant for any tomato lover. Trust me. It has such an incredible flavor, it’ll make filet mignon taste like a side dish by comparison.

Summer Dinner Ideas
Cherokee Purple tomato slices with basil and balsamic vinegar

Want tomato-growing tips? Read my How to Grow Tomatoes article here.

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Growing Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

Happy growing,

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