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When to pick Cherokee Purple?

Posted by dirtygardener73 (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 9, 09 at 12:04

I finally have a Cherokee Purple ripening, and I'm thrilled, but I don't know when to pick it. It's coloring nicely on the bottom, but still green on top. Not a dark purple, just purplish right now, but the bottom feels soft and ripe.

Any help would be appreciated. A picture of a ripe one would be great.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: When to pick Cherokee Purple?

CPs often have green shoulders. It's probably ripe if the bottom feels soft.

RE: When to pick Cherokee Purple?

  • Posted by robeb Kansas City area (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 9, 09 at 13:23

Here are some ripe & nearly ripe CP's.

RE: When to pick Cherokee Purple?

  • Posted by kandm 8b coastal alabama (My Page) on
    Tue, Jun 9, 09 at 15:20

I just bought some of these seeds, I can't wait.

RE: When to pick Cherokee Purple?

Its not really a question of when to pick, but when to eat. Many of us pick when the fruits are turning color (half pink) in order to avoid insect damage, splitting, and trespassing neighbors who think vine ripened means all the way ripe. Once color begins to change, flavor development is no longer dependent on connection to the plant.

With the ripening fruit safe on the counter top you can judge by softness of the fruit (below the shoulders). Green When Ripe varieties that do not have a yellowish skin are more difficult because you have to touch test them on the plant until they start to soften.

RE: When to pick Cherokee Purple?

i too wondered when to pick, but like spiced ham said testing them by their softness seemed to work just fine. we ate a few with green shoulders, and let a few get pretty ripe on the counter. all of them were excellent, with slightly differing character.

heres a few pics of ours this year.

ripening on the vine
cherokee purple tomatoes

ready to eat
3 ripe cherokee purple tomatoes

compared to marglobe variety (underexposed a bit)
heirloom tomatoes

sliced and ready to eat
ripe cherokee purple tomato slices

RE: When to pick Cherokee Purple?

Well, mine don't look quite that nice, due to the heat and rain. They are all split up, but healed over quite nicely. I'll pick them tomorrow and let them get ripe indoors. Can't wait to taste them!

RE: When to pick Cherokee Purple?

Robeb, those look gorgeous. I didn't plant cherokee for the first time this year because every single one rotted last year. The year before I got a couple good ones. They're probably my favorite but I just can't seem to grow them. Plus they were out of control growth wise. They sure are yummy, though!

RE: When to pick Cherokee Purple?

I picked my Cherokee tomato yesterday for the first time when it started to show some color on the bottom. I read that is when to pick them because they could become overripe on the vine. This is the first time in Florida that I have been able to grow tomatoes that look this good. My son made these grow boxes from 18 gallon storage bins. You use a lot less water with this method. If anyone wants information on the home made grow boxes just email me at

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