Return to the Growing Tomatoes Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Cherokee Purple substitute?

Posted by highalttransplant z 5 Western CO (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 26, 08 at 12:42

First let me say that this was the best tasting tomato out of the nine different varieties I grew this year. It was also one of the fastest growers, and first full sized tomato to ripen.

The only issue I had with it, is that every single tomato cracked.

This was my first year to grow tomatoes from seed, so I'm just wondering if there is another variety that has a similar flavor, and production level, and is fairly early maturing. I tried Cherokee Purple because so many people on this forum raved about it, and I would definitely grow it again, but if there is something else out there with all of its positive qualities without the splitting, I would give that one a try next year.

Bonnie


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

Why don't you try Indian Stripe which is a strain or version of Cherokee Purple located in Arkansas.

I know several here have grown it and really like it.

Fruits are a bit lighter in color, there's more fruits to the cluster and fruits are a bit smaller than CP but taste is about the same as CP.

Carolyn


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

Thanks, Carolyn! I did a search for that one, and found that both Sandhill and Victory Seeds carry it, but neither of their websites mention whether or not that strain is less prone to splitting.

Does anyone here have firsthand experience with Indian Stripe?

Bonnie


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

See if you can get ahold of JD's Special C-Tex. I grew it this year along with Spudakee Purple (Cherokee Purple Potato Leaf)and it was right up there with CP in the taste department and had very little cracking but my Spudakee didn't have that much more either.
Now if you want a real good looking tomato but the flavor doesn't quite match CP try Noire Charbonneuse. Ami


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

hello everyone,
i too tried cherokee purple for the
first time, some did crack, but my problem
was low production , out of 4 plants
i might have gotten 10 the most.
the taste was great maybe the best.
i planted right next to lemon boy which produced
like it was on steroids, so i doubt it was the soil.
any advice?

marcantonio


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

I grew CP 3 or 4 times using commercially bought seed, each time production was low but the taste was just fantastic. This year I got very good production using seed saved by someone whose conditions and climate are very similar to mine. I dont know if a variety can adapt to an area, but found it interesting that it worked that way for me. Of course the same seeds may give me low producers next year.
Keeping with topic, while I am certainly no expert, I found JD's Special C-Tex to be similar to CP and decent productivity as well. I plan to try Indian Stripe next spring


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

I did a search for that one, and found that both Sandhill and Victory Seeds carry it, but neither of their websites mention whether or not that strain is less prone to splitting.
Does anyone here have firsthand experience with Indian Stripe?

*****

I think it depends on what kind of splitting you're talking about. I've grown CP ever since Craig LeHoullier got the seeds from John Green of TN and the only splitting I've ever seen was what's called horizontal splitting which is not variety related and appears when the fruit is at its maximum size and too much water enters the fruit.

And horizontal splitting, as opposed to concentric and radial splitting, can happen with any variety.

In my experienfe Indian Stripe is no different than any other variety as regards horizontal splitting.

And I have a lot of experience with it since I introduced it a few years back from seeds given to me by Donna Nelson of TX who found it in a garden near where her inlaws lived in Arkansas.

If Indian Stripe doesn't appeal to you my second choice would be Black from Tula since it, like CP, is a pink/black as opposed to the red/blacks, in terms of coloration and the taste is great as well.

Carolyn


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

Being a tomato newbie, I'm afraid I don't know what kind of splitting it's called, but you can see it on the Cherokee Purple in the middle of this bowl o' veggies : )

Photobucket

Bonnie


 o
Oooops, posted too soon!

I'm sorry, I posted before I completed my thought. If the splits were due to overwatering (which I'm not sure is even possible in my high desert climate), wouldn't the other tomatoes I'm growing have them too? The only other one I've seen any splits on is Sungold, and that is only if I leave them on the vine too long after they are ripe. The other seven varieties have had no splitting at all.

Bonnie


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

Bonnie, the splits you show on your CP are the result of radial cracking/splitting and as you can see they've scarred over nicely. With heavy rains or irrigation they can split open again, but radial splitting is not the same as horizontal splitting which can affect any variety.

Radial and concentric splitting are often associated with specific varieties and even at that aren't always seen/

So no, if the fruits of a specific variety have radial or concentric cracking that has nothing to do with your other varieties. ( smile)

Carolyn


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

Bonnie,

The radial cracks you show on that one Cherokee Purple aren't so bad really. I think you'll find those typical with some fruit being worse and some without any cracks at all ... depending on weather and watering procedures.

I grow my Cherokee Purple without irrigation in a raised bed with very deep (18 - 24 inches) of built up tilth ... rotted tree bark, horse stall bedding, leaf mulch, grass clippings, etc ... mixed with and atop native clay loam. I get many fruit without any cracks, but do get some radial cracking as shown on your tomato due to weather conditions. I also get some skin bursts if I don't pick the breaker stage or ripe tomatoes before a rain storm.

It's my experience that Cherokee Purple (normal leaf) is a bit less productive than Indian Stripe but far more productive than JD's Special C-Tex. In fact, Indian Stripe ... a variety grown for years, up to last year when he stopped gardening ... by Clyde Burson, Sr., a native of Strong, Arkansas, whose son told me he always called it Indian Zebra. It was Clyde Sr.'s favorite tomato for good reason. It's far superior in every way to Cherokee Purple (normal leaf).

Bonnie, you don't say whether you grow your tomatoes in containers, raised beds, or ground level native soil. If you grow in containers or native soil, I would recommend Indian Stripe way over Cherokee Purple because I've found Indian Stripe will tolerate ... even thrive in ... adverse conditions, occasional inattentive care, poor soil, and harsh weather far better than Cherokee Purple (normal leaf). Ditto another Arkansas tomato called Bradley. Must be something about those Razorback varieties!

As said by another poster above, Spudakee (aka Cherokee Purple Potato Leaf) is a great substitute for Cherokee Purple (normal leaf). Spudakee will produce more tomatoes over a longer period of time (starting earlier and finishing later) and withstand leaf disorders better than Cherokee Purple (normal leaf). Spudakee also will produce fruit with nearly no radial cracking ... a few with a concentric crack ... but many fruit with no cracking at all. Same flavor but a bit less deep brick red on the blossom end in my observations.

Indian Stripe will produce a meatier tomato with less seeds than either Cherokee Purple or Spudakee. Again ... better tomato overall ... especially in containers and poor soil. When I say poor soil, I mean in my case, shallow and slightly hardpan clay types. I'm not familiar with western soils or alkaline soils. Ours are mostly clay loam neutral to slighly acid. Built up soils or 10-gallon containers with high organic matter media at 6.5 - 6.8 pH are your best bet if you have poor soils.

If you're interested in Indian Stripe or Spudakee seeds, email me at tomatohead48@hotmail.com ... you're a JaliRancher referral and get preferencial treatment!

Bill


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

It's my experience that Cherokee Purple (normal leaf) is a bit less productive than Indian Stripe but far more productive than JD's Special C-Tex. In fact, Indian Stripe ... a variety grown for years, up to last year when he stopped gardening ... by Clyde Burson, Sr., a native of Strong, Arkansas, whose son told me he always called it Indian Zebra. It was Clyde Sr.'s favorite tomato for good reason. It's far superior in every way to Cherokee Purple (normal leaf).

*****

Just one comment here as to the variety name and Bill knows what I'm going to say.

Donna Nelson, a friend of mine from TX, found this variety growing in the garden of Clyde Burson Sr. in Arkansas when she was visiting relatives in the area and it's she who sent the seeds to me and I listed the variety in the SSE Yearbook several years ago and distributed seeds otherwise.

Mr Burson Sr. told Donna that it was known as both Indian Zebra and Indian Stripe in the area. And she told me that as well. Since no preference in name was indicated by Mr Burson at that time Donna said to pick either one and I did and that was Indian Stripe.

Bill found out from Mr Burson's son that his father called it Indian Zebra, but that's not what he told Donna.

Conclusion? A rose by any other name smells just as sweet. (smile)

As the person who introduced it I wanted to share why I called it Indian Stripe and not Indian Zebra.

And I was hoping you'd post Bill b'c I knew that you really liked the variety as do many now who have grown it.

Carolyn


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

Bonnie,

I second (or third) the nomination for Indian Stripe!! I grow in EarthTainers which are not the ideal environment, but the Indian Stripe outperformed the Cherokee Purple and Cherokee Chocolate plants that I grew this year. For 2009, I would like to get a few seeds of Spudakee to benchmark against the Indian Stripe in a controlled growing situation like the EarthTainer, to see more of an exact yield, life of both plants, disease tolerance, taste, etc.

Thanks again to Carolyn for bringing Indian Stripe to the broad tomato Community!

Raybo


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

Has there been a genetic test done linking Indian Stripe to Cherokee Purle yet, or is it still only theory that it is a strain of CP? My Indian Stripe plants and fruits really don't resemble Cherokee Purple all that much. Maybe I got 'off' seeds? Anyway, there are a lot of so called 'black' tomatoes that out-perform Cherokee Purple. My favorite substitute is Black Krim, which in my garden is superior in every way, except I'd say they tie for flavor - only subtle differences there. However, BK does tend to have the same concentric cracks at the top...


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

Has there been a genetic test done linking Indian Stripe to Cherokee Purle yet, or is it still only theory that it is a strain of CP? My Indian Stripe plants and fruits really don't resemble Cherokee Purple all that much. Maybe I got 'off' seeds? Anyway, there are a lot of so called 'black' tomatoes that out-perform Cherokee Purple. My favorite substitute is Black Krim, which in my garden is superior in every way, except I'd say they tie for flavor - only subtle differences there. However, BK does tend to have the same concentric cracks at the top...

***

No, no genetic test and there never will be b'c there's no one who would pay for the DNA sequencing of any heirloom OP variety, at least at this point in time.

So the evidence is circumstantial but when I sent seeds to Craig LeHoullier who was the person who got the CP seeds from John Green of TN, he agreed that it was related to CP as have many others. and Donna, the person who noted Indian Stripe growing in Mr. Burson's garden also knew CP well and agreed and when I first grew it it was pretty apparent to me that based on where it was found and the presence of Cherokee in the area that it was a reasonable assumption that Indian Stripe and CP were related. And slightly different b'c they were grown in geographic isolation from each other.

If your Indian Stripe fruits don't resemble CP then I'd say they weren't Indian Stripe.

What did they look like?

When talking of black tomatoes I divide them into two groups, the black/pinks that have a clear epidermis such as CP and Black from Tula and Indian Stripe and the red/blacks that have a yellow epidermis such as Black Krim and Carbon and many more.

When I first joined SSE back in the late 80's there were less than 5 so called black varieties and now there are well over 100.

And they aren't all disctinct varieties b'c where there's demand the varieties will follow and several folks I know have grown out lots of blacks at one time and find quite a few are the same despite the fact that they have different variety names.

The fad for black varieties has lasted a long time and just in the past few years a new fad for green when ripes has arrived and I couldn't be happier about that fad. LOL

Carolyn


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

I quit growing Cherokee Purple and started growing Carbon this year instead. I am very satisfied.


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

  • Posted by earl SW Ohio 5-6 (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 29, 08 at 20:33

Best tasting new to me that I've come across lately. Very impressed with the taste.

"Gary OSena," is an open pollinated cross between a Brandywine and a Cherokee Purple. Not only does it produce early, but its fruits are dark and rich with a sweet-acidic flavor. A pink-purple line derived from the 'Brandywine' X 'Cherokee Purple' cross. These wonderfully flavored, large, capable of more than 1 lb., fruits have the characteristics and qualities of Cherokee Purple on vigorous, indeterminate, potato leafed plants. Plants set well and produce rather early for such large sized fruits (70-75 days).


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

"... when I first grew it it was pretty apparent to me that based on where it was found and the presence of Cherokee in the area that it was a reasonable assumption that Indian Stripe and (Cherokee Purple) were related."

I still have trouble with that assumption.

I'd be a lot more comfortable with it if:

1. The "Indian Stripe" tomato were found in Arkansas, but way up northwest of Little Rock where there is a significant "Cherokee presence" historically, and

2. Not found on the southern boundary of Arkansas 12 miles north of Louisianna, where there may be some Native American presence, but it has not been shown that there is a "Cherokee presence" historically (since we're not calling this tomato Choctaw Purple, Chickasaw Purple or Creek Purple), and

3. There were more than third hand hearsay that Cherokee Purple was grown by Cherokees in the first place, and

4. Someone would find a tomato resembling Cherokee Purple or Indian Stripe actually growing in a Cherokee garden (or even the garden of a Native American person ) and grown by a person who can verify or at least attest the tomato has been in the family for a few generations.

But none of this appears to be the case. No biggie since this is not the subject of the thread ... just a long-standing issue that has not been and will not be resolved satisfactorily, IMO.

Bill


 o
Correction

I should've said "found in the garden of an Eastern Woodland Native American descendent" who can attest to it's having been grown by the family for a few generations. That would be more reassuring as to the Native American lineage of either Cherokee Purple or Indian Stripe.


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

As an evolution-ecology scientist I cringe every time I see Indian Stripe refered to as a variety of CP. They are two "black" tomatoes from roughly the same region of the country (not the same indian reservation, county, or even state). That is all we know about them. Anything else is wishful romantic story telling equivalent to saying a red headed person from Sweden is the sibling of a red headed person from Norway, or that any remotely similar bicolor or green tomato from West Wirginia is a variety of one from Kentucky. The Native Americans in that area interacted with nearby European Americans more so than with populations of the tribe located hundreds of miles away. After the Civil War the Cherokee in that area were not living in teepees, hunting deer with bows and arrows and avoiding the white man, they were living in cabins, farming with mules, and going to the local store for supplies like every one else.

There are many known crosses of CP such as GaryO Sena, Liz Birt, Brandokee, Vorlon, etc, but these are never refered to as varieties of CP, and if IS and CP do share a common ancestor, the mathematical probability that IS and CP differ from each other due to cross pollination and subsequent human selection is much higher than the probability that they are from a single lineage with differences due to spontaneous mutation the way Cherokee Chocolate and Cherokee Green are "varietes" of CP.


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

As an evolution-ecology scientist I cringe every time I see Indian Stripe refered to as a variety of CP

****

I've never reffered to IS as a variety of CP although I have referred to it as a strain or version of CP.

(There are many known crosses of CP such as GaryO Sena, Liz Birt, Brandokee, Vorlon, etc, but these are never refered to as varieties of CP, and if IS and CP do share a common ancestor, the mathematical probability that IS and CP differ from each other due to cross pollination and subsequent human selection is much higher than the probability that they are from a single lineage with differences due to spontaneous mutation the way Cherokee Chocolate and Cherokee Green are "varietes" of CP.

Liz Birt, Gary O Sena, etc. would n't be referred to as varieties of CP, and I have problems with your use of varieties (smile) b'c they were direct crosses done by Keith Mueller.

Single lineage or cross pollination? The only evidence I'd believe is RFLP DNA analysis of both,

Here aree some links that might be useful for those interested re the Cherokee in Arkansas, especially the one from an old GW thread that I saved:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&ie=ISO-8859-1&q=cherokee+arkansas&btnG=Search

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/heirloom/msg0523174614990.html

http://www.tngenweb.org/cherokee_by_blood/

Carolyn

Here is a link that might be useful: Map of Cherokee migration ( click to enlarge)


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

The Map of the Trail of Tears provided by Carolyn is very interesting and pertinent to what I've been trying to say here for months now ... that the "Cherokee presence" so often cited as "evidence" of a connection between Cherokee Purple of eastern Tennessee with Indian Stripe of southern Arkansas is not evident.

Look at the Map closely again. All the routes of the forced march of the Cherokee Nation are thru Memphis thence across east central Arkansas, up the Arkansas River thru Little Rock and up into northwestern Arkansas where indeed there is a Cherokee presence in the northwestern corner of Arkansas adjacent to the Western Nations.

Look at the map again. The only migration route through the south-central area of Arkansas where Indian Stripe was grown by Clyde Burson, Sr. was the route taken by the Choctaw and Chickasaw (hence my comment in an earlier post above). Strong, Arkansas, home of Mr. Burson and his Indian Stripe tomato is due south of Camden, Arkansas, and right near (like 12 miles north of) the Louisiana border. See Camden on the map? It's where the red dotted line (Chocktaw route) and the purple dotted line (Chickasaw route) merge into solid red and purple lines.

Add to the missing link of evidence for a "Cherokee presence" in or near Strong, Arkansas the fact that such a large, smooth and dense fleshed tomato as Indian Stripe (same for Cherokee Purple) was not in existence at the time of the Cherokee migration, and did not come into existence until decades later and by the breeding efforts of European-Americans, the most likely source of original seeds for both Cherokee Purple and Indian Stripe was commercial seed vendors. Now it's entirely possible that Native Americans obtained the original seeds for both varieties from commercial seed vendors or from neighbors who did the same ... but again, there is nothing but third hand hearsay and supposition that either Cherokee Purple or Indian Stripe was grown by the Cherokee People, much less that the two varieties are genetically related any more closely than they individually are related to many other varieties, strains, mutations or whatever.

It may be pertinent to remember that Fejee Improved, a "maroon colored, dense fleshed beefsteak" tomato, was widely available commercially several generations ago (like in both eastern Tennessee and southern Arkansas). Again, just my opinion.

Bill


 o
RE: Cherokee Purple substitute?

Again, just my opinion.

Bill

****

And I'll accept it as that Bill. ( smile)

However, do you really think that the Cherokee Trail indicated thru Arkansas had to go to Strong or could you accept the possibility that migration both away from the major trails and within those areas, as discussed in another of the links, was a possibility?

Did you read the Garden Web thread where the Cherokee lady was talking about migration of her family from TN to Arkansas?

Your point about there not being large dense fleshed varieties available at the time of major migrations is true but not all Cherokee did migrate from what I've read.

You know this situation reminds me of the claims made by Jimmy Williams for the variety Goose Creek. I was in the unenviable position of being contacted by a magazine editor to confirm that such a tomato could have existed when Jimmy Williams said it did. I did my homework and also contacted Andy Smith and he agreed with me that there was no way that a fruit of that size and shape could have existed at the time period claimed.

As for Fegee, there's a long and mildly contentious thread at TV about that and different folks who posted in that thread are not all in agreement that it was a maroon colored tomato. The info on that variety is really quite variable depending on the sources cited.

Will we ever know the true origin of CP and IS? Probably not. If the stock market hadn't done a number on my retirement monies in the last couple of weeks I'd pony up the money to have RFLP DNA sequencing done, b'c it is available to commercial growers who dispute what they bought seed for versus what they got.

But even showing a relationship between the two by genetic means can never settle the question of the ultimate origin of CP or IS, whether a migrational spinoff from a Cherokee migration route or whether a spinoff from Cherokee who never did migrate and stayed back in the NC, SC ,TN area, and migrated later for instance. And what was their source of seeds? No way to know b/c no timeline is known.

In the end I like Indian Stripe for what it is, as well as Cherokee Purple, and will continue to grow both of them.

Carolyn, who notes that it was really too bad that John Green could never recontact the lady who gave him seeds for CP so that more might have been learned as Craig pointed out in that link I gave to the thread at GW.


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Growing Tomatoes Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here