Cherokee Purple Tomato
“An old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety; beautiful, deep, dusky purple-pink color, superb sweet flavor, and very-large-sized fruit. Try this one for real old-time tomato flavor. Our favorite dark tomato and one of our best selling varieties.” –Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Lahoullier planted the seeds and enjoyed the tomatoes so much that he passed them along to friends at seed companies, marking the beginning of their commercial availability in the United States. tomatoes first emerged in western South America, where they can still be found growing wild in Peru, Ecuador, and Northern Chile. However, there is not much historical record of their being cultivated there. The first record of their cultivation is in Central America, by Mesoamerican peoples. It was the Aztecs who picked the name that stuck, calling the fruit ‘xitomatl’, and spreading its usage north to Mexico. The western world first encountered the tomato in 1519, when Hernán Cortés began his conquest of Mexico in the name of Spain. Seeds of this plant were disseminated throughout the Spanish empire and traded with the rest of Europe. The first credible observation of tomato cultivation in the US was made in the late 17th century, but it may have travelled there from Spain, France, Britain, or the Caribbean.