Porter varieties

ABlindHog(8a Tx Hill Country)April 8, 2013

My first post on a forum

Having time on my hands due to a recent illness I decided to fill part of it by doing some gardening. I am trying to learn what I can about tomatoes, and as I live in the Texas Hill Country I am particularly interested in tomatoes developed in Texas or tomatoes that can thrive in our hot dry Hill Country conditions. Porter tomatoes fit those criteria but I am confused about the varieties of Porter tomatoes being referred to by these names.

1 Porter A small smooth or rounded plum shaped tomato that is dark pink and weighs about 2 ounces?
Many agree on the characteristics of this one though it is also described as a 4 oz plum, a 4 oz egg, as blocky rather than smooth, as pale pink, or as round. I have also seen tomatoes of this description referred to as Dark Cherry Porter.
2 Improved Porter An egg shaped dark pink tomato that weighs 4 ounces?
About half agree with this description, although the size is said to be 2 oz, 2-4 oz, 4 oz, or in one case 4-6 oz's.
Improved Porter is referred to as "pullet shaped" by a few. Others describe it as a red, round, 4 oz tomato.
3 Porters Pride A round red tomato with good keeping qualities and weighing four ounces?
Porters Pride is usually described as this red round tomato, but I have often seen it described as a pink egg shaped fruit.

All are said to be well adapted to harsh Texas conditions such as extreme heat, drought, and some say also to poor soil.
Because of the pullet shaped reference I think that either Porter or Improved Porter where once probably described as being the shape and size of a pullets egg. Pullets eggs weigh about 1 1/2 ounces.

More than one seller of Improved Porter claims it is "also known as" Porters Pride. One such seller depicts very small plum shaped pink tomatoes, describes a medium sized dark pink egg shaped tomato and goes on to include this excerpt from the 1959 Porter & Son Seed Company catalog about a red tomato.

"Porter's Pride Tomato is an ideal variety for home gardens and for summer and fall marketing.ÃÂ Medium sized fruits of excellent quality and flavor are very firm and have the best keeping qualities of any tomato.ÃÂ Scarlet-red fruits of uniform size and shape are smooth and meaty and very flavorful."

I believe this probably is an actual excerpt from the 1959 Porter & Son Seed Company catalog, and is an accurate description of Porters Pride tomatoes. It does not seem to be in any way related to the tomatoes this seller pictures or to the tomatoes they describe.

I have purchased examples of each from different sources and am growing them out, but it occurs to me that this relatively small sample may not tell me much. If you are familiar with these tomatoes or their history, or if you have access to an old Porter & Son catalog I would like to hear what you have to say about them.

I hope to learn brevity as I gain experience.

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Some of the seed sellers out there have mixed the pictures up, creating confusion. Porter is an oblong pinkish red large cherry. Bonnie sells Porter Dark Cherry which I and others find to be identical to Porter. Porter Improved, AKA Porters Pride is a small round saladette size, red orange in color.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 12:36PM
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ABlindHog(8a Tx Hill Country)

Thank you for your response. I was hoping to try the 4 oz dark pink slicer that is mentioned so often. I am disappointed but not surprised to hear that it may not exist. The possibility had not occurred to me until now that seeds were being marketed by people with no first hand knowledge of what they were selling.
I am still interested in growing and learning what I can about the Porter tomatoes, or any other tomatoes developed in or for Texas, and would like to hear from anyone similarly inclined.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 7:01PM
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No, Porters don't get to 4 oz. I've seen the description in the Porter catalog before they went out of business, and have grown their seed, and it is a small tomato.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 7:42PM
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ABlindHog(8a Tx Hill Country)

Thank you. It's good to have the benefit of your experience.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:43AM
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caryltoo Z7/SE PA

You might want to post again asking about Texas varieties in your heading. There are some Texans on the forum who might know what you're looking for, but didn't click on the Porters post.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 12:00PM
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I am trialing a tomato this year called Plainsmen which is somewhat larger from what I understand. Developed in TX for TX. Not much info on it, Sandhill carries it.

I am also trialing a family variety of what likely started from Porter. It has been grown in isolation and the best fruit saved over 40 years. The claim is that is it much more vigourous than the standard Porter. So far, it does indeed seem to be very vigourous.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 1:44PM
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How are those Porter - CH Strain plants looking?


    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:27PM
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ABlindHog(8a Tx Hill Country)

Thank you, Plainsman is one I hadn't run across yet. I have ordered some seed from Sustainable Seed Co. If yours are from Sand Hill would you be interested in exchanging a few seeds to compare the potentially different strains?
I am excited to hear about your Porter family variety trial and hope you update often. If you are amenable to selling, trading or sharing some seed from that trial when they become available Please let me know.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:50PM
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ABlindHog(8a Tx Hill Country)

Thanks for the suggestion. I will post a new thread with the heading "Texans"

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 5:57PM
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It's my family's strain she's trialing. If you desire, I could certainly send you some seeds. I'll post the link to their page over on Tatiana's tomatobase.

Here is a link that might be useful: Porter - Charles Herring Strain

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 7:58PM
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Reed - your here, your there, your everywhere! LOL.

So far my Porter - Charles Herring are young but robust growers.

My best guess is Plainsman is such a little known tomato that Sandhill may be the source for Sustainable, or vice versa.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:52PM
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ABlindHog(8a Tx Hill Country)

Thank you for the kind offer, I would very much like to take you up on it but I am unsure how to proceed. Is there a way to private message you through this forum?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 12:59PM
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Email me at reedbaize@gmail.com

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 3:52PM
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