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Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

Posted by carolync1 z8/9 CA inland (My Page) on
Mon, Jan 25, 10 at 6:38

I know that "Traveler" is sometimes known as "Arkansas Traveler". Is there also an older heirloom Arkansas Traveler, or is this a marketing myth?

"Traveler 76" is supposed to be an improvement on "Traveler". How do they compare for flavor?

Is "Traveler 76" also sometimes called "Arkansas Traveler", or maybe something like "Arkansas Traveler Improved"?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

I've linked below to a page at Mike Dunton's Victory Seeds b'c he lists both Traveler and Traveler 76. And while he says that some seed companies call Traveler, released by the U of Arkansas in 1970, Arkansas Traveler, I don't think it was just the seed companies that did that. THe word Arkansas got associated with Traveler quite early on as I understand it.

Traveler 76 was released by the University in, guess when, LOL, 1976 and I've never seen anyone refer to it as Arkansas Traveler 76. But then I've seen few who have even grown it. As Mike writes, Traveler 76 was an improvement, but the taste was not altered.

So many places refer to Traveler/Arkansas Traveler as an old heirloom, but it's not having been bred by the U if Arkansas. And yes, I have seen a couple of folks say that there was an older variety also called Arkansas Traveler that is an heirloom, but I've never seen anyone be able to document that.

I've not grown either Traveler/Arkansas Traveler, or Traveler 76 and won't be, so I can't speak to any differences in the two. ( smile)

Hope that helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Traveler/Traveler 76

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

Link to some history on it.

South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato (heirloom) -> Bradley Pink -> Traveler (1971) aka "Arkansas" Traveler -> Traveler 76

I tried for several years to track down some seed from the original SAVRPT or even the Bradley Pink from some of the old growers down in Bradley county. Wanted to compare with Traveler but never found a trusted source.

Here, Traveler is commonly called Arkansas Traveler and I think most seed vendors list it as such.


Here is a link that might be useful: South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

So, when I ordered from Sand Hill, did I get Arkansas Traveler or Traveler?

"Traveler (a.k.a. Arkansas Traveler): mid, Ind, RL, pink globe, 6 to 8 oz., semi-tart flesh. Was released under the name of Traveler by the University of Arkansas. OG Pkt. $2.00"

If I didn't get "Arkansas Traveler" I'll be very disappointed!

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

As I said above, and as their listing indicates, they are the same thing. ;) Traveler is its official name and "Arkansas Traveler" is its nickname if that helps to think of it that way.



RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

[So, when I ordered from Sand Hill, did I get Arkansas Traveler or Traveler? ... If I didn't get "Arkansas Traveler" I'll be very disappointed!]

Re-read Sandhill's description: "Traveler (a.k.a. Arkansas Traveler): mid, Ind, RL, pink globe, 6 to 8 oz., semi-tart flesh. Was released under the name of Traveler by the University of Arkansas. OG Pkt. $2.00"

You got Traveler, bred at and released by University of Arkansas. This is not an heirloom tomato grown for generations by mountaineers in the Ozarks. It's a very nice, pink, tasty commercial tomato bred to tolerate hot, humid conditions. One of it's parents is a line developed from Bradley, another heat tolerant, pink market tomato from University of Arkansas. One of it's children is Traveler 76, another pink, heat tolerant market tomato from the same breeder and reportedly more crack resistant than the other two varieties named in this paragraph.

Now, if you're dead set on growing "Arkansas Traveler" purportedly to be an heirloom handed down by several generations of mountain folk, you should join Seed Savers Exchange and order seeds from a fellow named Charles C. in Georgia who lists it in the Yearbook and swears it's an old Southern favorite distinctly different than Traveler from Univ. of Arkansas. He grows them both, so I'm not gonna argue with him or anyone else about the sameness or difference between the two tomatoes carrying the same name.

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

Hoosier, I read the two listings in the 2009 Yearbook before I answered above, just to see what others were saying.

Charles C from GA lists Traveler, doesn't mention it's sometimes called Arkansas Traveler, cites Traveler as being bred by the U of Arkansas, his seeds from an SSE listing and SSE accession # 1270.

Then his separate listing for Arkansas Traveler, where he then says that some say it's the same as Traveler but he considers it to be different than Traveler b'c it's sweeter and better tasting, to use his words. And then citres his seed source as Tomato Growers Supply and then says an old Southern classic heirloom.

To my mind sweeter and better tasting can be a function of the season in which a variety is grown and he didn't say he grew both in the sakme season.

He doesn't say when he got the seeds from TGS and in all recent TGS catalogs I have it's correctly described as being bred at the U of Arkansas.

But, I wonder if in an earlier catalog Linda might have described Arkansas Traveler as an old heirloom from the Ozarks as many seed companies still do b'c she didn't realize at the time that it was bred by the U of Arkansas.

Her 2009 catlaog celebrated the 25th anniversary of TGS so the first catalog was apparently issued in 1984.

If someone wanted to follow through they could call Linda and ask her if in an early catalog she referred to Arkansas Traveler as an old southern heirloom. I suppose I could do that myself since I have to talk to her about something else anyway, and I'll report back on what I find out.


RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas //Traveler

I just talked with Linda and she said that it is possible that in some of the earliest catalogs she could have referred to Arkansas Traveler as an old heirloom, but she's too darn busy right now to double check on that but again, did say it was possible.

And then she got me laughing b'c she said she thought it was me who corrected her on her description of it and of that I have no memory at all, but I know I have tried to correct others on the same issue.

She said her tomatoes made it throught the freeze, she trials some at her home and said the lowest it got at her home outside of Fort Myers was 31 F but inland it was much colder where the commercial growers grow.

I had promised to send her some new varieties for trial but then realized of the 10 I sent her last year the only one she trialed, and loved, was Orange Minsk, so we agreed I'd hold off sending more now and she asked me to e-mail her and prioritize the other 9 which I will do.

Hope the above helps, and I almost forgot, she asked if this person from GA was listing TGS as a source and didn't specify the date she wondered why only now he was listing it with the comments he did. Well, he could be a new SSE listed member and I didn't check that by looking in back issues.

So a possibility? Yes. I still say that just b'c something, and Linda feels that it WAS the U if Arkansas one she listed initially, was different just based on the comment that one was sweeter and tasted better than the other doesn't convince me of anything, especially since I get the feeling that what the GA person grew was the U of Arkansas bred one..

Carolyn, who notes that one person at another message site has also said that he thinks there was an older one also named Arkansas Traveler but as I said above, no documentation about that at all. Whatever. ( smile)

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler


I re-checked my info. Charles sent me two packs of Arkansas Traveler seeds in 2009, both of which I ordered from the 2008 Yearbook. He says they are different and since I haven't grown out the seeds from either package yet, I cannot say.

Yes, I re-checked his descriptions in the 2008 Yearbook as well, and in his description for the "heirloom" Arkansas Traveler, Charles cites his source as CV To1. Is To1 = Tomato Growers Supply? If so, then you are correct to suspect that so-called Southern heirloom "Arkansas Traveler" indeed may be same as 1960s, commercial variety Traveler from Univ. Arkansas.

So, I'll withdraw comment until I grow them side by side.


RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

Charles C can call his "different" tomato Arkansas Traveler if he wants to I guess but no one else will officially recognize it as such and his doing so only adds to the confusion.

There is no old heirloom variety named Arkansas Traveler as none of the breed parents of Traveler (aka the 1971 Arkansas Traveler) were named that or called that by any of the early Ozark growers - they called it South Arkansas Vine Ripe Pink Tomato or just "Pinks". It is the university that coined the label "Traveler" in 1971 and prior to that the label didn't exist.

So the only Arkansas Traveler for which seeds are available today is the 1971 Traveler from the university and which has become commonly known by both growers and seed vendors as Arkansas Traveler.

It is not a heirloom, simply a well stabilized OP derived from mixed Ozark heritage tomatoes. Grown it for over 20 years and it has excellent heat and disease tolerance, good indeterminate late-season production, is pink mid-sized, and has a very popular flavor.


Correction and Addition

Correction: When I said "1960s commercial variety Traveler" I was thinking of Bradley, the 1060s forerunner to Traveler.

Addition: Click HERE to read an article about Joe McFerran's 1971 release of Traveler at the University of Arkansas ... or is that the same article Carolyn linked in Post #2? If so, heck, read it again. LOL.

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

I've grown Bradley, Ozark Pink, Traveller, Traveller 76, and Burgundy Traveller.

Of the group, I slightly prefer the flavor of Bradley.
Ozark Pink is a nice decent sized pink tomato but it is not uniform and production is a bit erratic in summer heat.
Traveller is a more uniform tomato with better production than Bradley but as noted, flavor is slighty less.
Traveller 76 improved disease tolerance and production while maintaining the fruit quality of Traveller.
Burgundy Traveller incorporated a bit more disease tolerance and improved fruit color. Flavor is moderately better than all except Bradley.

Of the group, I would grow Burgundy Traveller because the overall package is significantly better than any of the others. Don't expect it to be a trend setter, Stump of the World or Brandywine Sudduth would easily beat it for flavor.

I am working on a cross between Eva Purple Ball and Big Beef that will eventually be crossed back to one of the large pink potato leaf varieties to improve flavor. Long story short, it is the most productive and reliable pink tomato in my garden today. It could benefit from the high crimson gene and from improved flavor and from improved sweetness. All this to say that at some point I hope to release a tomato that significantly improves on the performance of any of the traveller series.


RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

In 2008, I grew Burgundy Traveler from Darjones seeds. Two great, healthy, tall plants. I also grew Bradley from seeds I saved and from new transplants I bought. I think four plants in all. Two of each. Great plants, not as tall.

Burgundy Traveler made larger tomatoes that were about the same shape and color as Bradley if left to ripen fully on the vine. Deep pink. I think the Bradley were a bit sweeter and had a softer texture when fully ripe.

While both varieties contracted Septoria, some of the Bradley plants succumbed while the Burgundy Traveler outgrew it when the weather dried up. One Bradley grown in a container up against the south wall of the house also was well able to outgrow the Septoria I guess due to a warmer, sunnier, sheltered position.

Off topic ... In my opinion, the best Arkansas tomato available to home growers is Indian Stripe which has never succumbed to any disease or adverse weather or soil condition in my garden any year since I first grew it in 2006.

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

CV To1. Is To1 = Tomato Growers Supply?



In the front of the 2009 Yearbook the codes for all the seed companies is given, which is a big help/


RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

Wow. A lot of information here. Thanks to everyone who contributed.

I got Indian Stripe seeds this year, and I've been thinking about Burgundy Traveler. Darjones' breeding project sounds great.

Sandhill lists Bradley as a 2 oz. red determinate tomato, their earliest in 2005.

Bonnie Plants sells "Arkansas Traveler" here in the Central Valley. I suppose it's probably "Traveler".

This year, I got some "Porter" seeds so I could see if "Porter" and the Bonnie Plants variety "Porter's Dark Cherry" are different. The dogs dug up my "Porter's Dark Cherry" plant last year.

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

Carolync1, The Bradley sold by Sandhill is NOT the same as the Bradley from Arkansas. It is a case of two very different tomatoes with the same name.


RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

Tomato Growers have Bradley this year.

"Large crops of pink, 8-10 oz that have a full, old-fashioned tomato flavor. Smooth, blemish free fruit are borne in large numbers over a concentrated time period, making this variety a favorite in Southern states for canning and eating. Strong determinate. 80 days, #4515 (30 seeds) $2.55"

They don't have a larger quantity available. Hope this helps.

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

"Large crops of pink, 8-10 oz that have a full, old-fashioned tomato flavor. Smooth, blemish free fruit are borne in large numbers over a concentrated time period, making this variety a favorite in Southern states for canning and eating. Strong determinate. 80 days, #4515 (30 seeds) $2.55" [Tomato Growers Supply seed blurb]

My opinion is that description comes from somewhere other than a grower of Bradley, if you get my drift. I mean it seems to ape other seed blurbs for Bradley rather than the results I've experienced over the past 4 years growing Bradley.

First of all, I agree with the 80 days to maturity from transplant. But I don't think I ever got a 10-ounce tomato off a Bradley plant. Maybe 8 ounces with plenty of them running 6 - 7 ounces.

"Full, old fashioned flavor" maybe in a hot, dry summer but I'd describe it more on the sweet side of old fashioned and down right bland and watery if the season goes overly wet. Tends also to get soft inside with skin splits in overly wet conditions. I had some excellent results in containers, though, where I did get truly blemish free, 8 ounce, tasty fresh slicers.

Concentrated set? Not so much. And surely not like many determinate canners that set one huge crop with maybe a second wind smaller crop then peter out completely. The Bradleys I've grown started yielding at 80 days from transplant and continued with reasonably generous yields until cool, low light conditions in autumn tended to shut them down or render the fruit tasteless.

Bradley definitely is a producer though, and does have genes that are useful for increasing yield and standardizing fruit size when crossed with an heirloom like Cherokee Purple. I did that in 2007 and in 2008 grew the F1 that yielded more tomatoes of a uniform size (about 6 - 8 ounces) than any other regular size tomato in the garden ... like 8 - 12 fully ripe tomatoes per picking with two or three pickings a week at the peak season. Awesome.

And in no way was the F1 Bradley x CP semi-anything. It was robust indeterminate and grew as long or longer than JD's Special C-Tex and Cherokee Purple as next door neighbors. Out produced them both, too. See below: Bradley x CP, one vine, one day.

CP x Bradley F1

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

Your F1 results are impressive, HoosierCherokee. I've got Traveler 76, Burgundy Traveler and Bradley started this year. Also Indian Stripe and Eva Purple Ball. And some larger pinks. Drought permitting, maybe I can try a cross or two.

RE: Traveler/Traveler 76/Arkansas Traveler

Great thread thanks to all.

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