Of all the tomatoes we grow here at 1840 Farm, the Green Zebra is perhaps the most striking. When fully ripe, each tomato is a fabulous bright green color with beautiful bright stripes. In a garden full of red, pink, purple, orange, and yellow, the Green Zebra stands out. The brilliant color alone would be reason enough for me to plant these beautiful tomatoes every year.
This tomato isn’t just a pretty face, it’s also delicious. The Green Zebra’s flavor is bright, slightly acidic, and tangy enough to be the star of in any dish. These tomatoes make a wonderful addition to fresh salsas, tomato salads, and pastas. The bright color and flavor of the Green Zebra are sure to brighten up any tomato dish served at your family table.
Some experts don’t classify the Green Zebra as an heirloom given its introduction to seed catalogs in the 1980s. However, this tomato seems more ideally suited for classifying as an heirloom than in any other category. Tom Wagner began developing this tomato by using four individual varieties back in the 1950s. One of the tomatoes he used was the Evergreen, a medium sized and colored green tomato.
Unlike the terms “organic” or “non-GMO”, there is not a clear definition about what an heirloom variety can or cannot be, although there are certain characteristics that they share. Heirlooms are open pollinated varieties that have been grown for a long period of time and passed down through the generations. It is common for them to not have been used in large scale agricultural production. Some people also require a variety to have been in existence for at least 50 years in order to be considered a true heirloom.
So, as you can see, if we work forward from the 1950s when the Green Zebra was created, it is clearly deserving of being considered an heirloom. However, if we only calculate the age of this variety from the date it was first offered for sale, then we would still have a decade to wait until we could label it as an heirloom.
So, is the Green Zebra an heirloom? I choose to think of this beautiful variety as an heirloom given the date of its creation. I know that other gardeners prefer to calculate the age of this variety from the date is first appeared in a seed catalog. To each their own, but either way, this variety is legendary and will soon have reached an age to be considered an heirloom by each and every gardener who enjoys its beauty and flavor in their gardens each summer.
The Green Zebra Heirloom Tomato is one of the six varieties included in our Tomato Lover’s Garden Heirloom Seed Collection available in The 1840 Farm Mercantile Shop on Etsy. The 2014 Heirloom Seed Collection is a collaboration between 1840 Farm and Fresh Eggs Daily. Together, we have curated our favorite heirloom varieties into collections that are ideally suited for growing together. The heirloom, non-GMO seeds in our collection are from family owned seed purveyor Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company.
We invite you to join The 1840 Farm Community on Facebook and Fresh Eggs Daily on Facebook to share updates from your garden and keep up to date on what we’re harvesting from our heirloom gardens. We’ll also be sharing regular garden updates along with fresh, seasonal recipes in our 1840 Farm Community Newsletter and The Fresh Eggs Daily Newsletter. In the meantime, you can view photos from the gardens at 1840 Farm by visiting our Garden Photo Tour. More photos will be added as we progress through the 2014 growing season.