8 Favorite Heirloom Tomatoes & Their Characteristics

I’m craving fresh vegetables from the garden, especially my favorite heirloom tomatoes. I have my tomato plants under the grow lights, and hopefully I will be tilling the garden this week. I believe the last frost date in Zone 6B is May 15. Heirloom tomatoes take up much of the space in my garden.

Why, because they have a totally different taste from store brought tomatoes and hybrids. It’s hard to describe the flavor of a tomato, it must be experienced. I’m a visual person, so I thought you would like to see the end result of what is being planted in my gardening and learn a few characteristics of my favorite tomatoes.  I hope this information will help you make a decision on what tomatoes you want to purchase before you buy from local garden center. 

Before you select your tomato plant, decide how you want to use your tomatoes. Do you want to use them for sandwiches and slices, make sauce, paste or salsa, use them in salads, to freeze or can?  I love slicing tomatoes in the summer and just eating them with a little mayo and pepper. Yum! I also make salsa, sauce, freeze them and can my harvest, so I need a variety in my garden.  

Here’s a few of my favorite tomatoes.  Lets start with the tomatoes in the picture below:

1. Brandywine Pink (back)  – I like this tomato for its color and taste. How often do you see a pink tomato? The Brandywine Pink has a sweet taste, so I use it on sandwiches and as my go to when I want my sliced tomatoes with mayo. I also cut these in cubes for salads and tacos. I grow the Brandywine Red and Brandywine Yellow as well. 

2. Hillybilly (center) –  I love this tomato, which originated in my home state West Virginia. The color is a mix of yellow and red. It is delicious and has a sweet taste. It slices beautifully. I also add it to fresh salsa or salads.  

3. Yellow Beefsteak (center left) –  I like the size of this tomato. It’s great for slicing. I add it to salads and salsa. I have a mixture of beefsteak seeds, so I don’t know if I’m going to get red, yellow, orange or green. It’s always nice to see what the end result is in the garden. 

4. Brandywine Yellow (center right) –  This tomato has a better taste that the 
Brandywine Pink, but it doesn’t produce as many tomatoes and it’s the last tomato plant in the garden to produce fruit. If you find that you like this tomato, you may want to double the amount of plants in your garden and stalk them well. They produce fruit up to 2 pounds each. Very pretty in salads or slices. 
5. Cherokee Purple (front center)  – This tomato has beautiful deep burgundy color. The flavor is bold. This tomato is what home gardening is about, and no home kitchen garden is complete without at least one plant. 

5.  Amish Paste (Heirloom)This is the tomato that I use for sauce. It’s a plum tomato that is meaty. I also use for salsa. This plant grows hardy amounts of fruit that will topple your cage if not heavily stalked.  

6. Better Boy (Hybrid) – One of the most popular if not the most popular tomato in the garden. This is the slicer of all slicers and great on burgers. Nice medium size tomato that you can’t go wrong planting. 

7.  Early Girl (Hybrid) – Another kitchen garden favorite. I plant an Early Girl because it produces early and it’s a great slicer too. I use this on burgers as well as my go to for tomatoes and mayo. 

8. Paul Robeson (Heirloom) – This tomato is called the luxury tomato. It is named for Paul Robeson who was considered elegant, renowned, and charismatic. I think this is my favorite tomato.  I remember the first time I tasted this tomato, I fell in love. The taste is indescribably delicious, and it will have a place in my garden if no other makes it way in
Last 4 photos courtesy of the Internet.



  1. I am really hoping my tomatoes will do well! I have 3 different kinds of determinate tomatoes in big pots. They are coming along slowly but since Jenna has 3 different plants in her raised beds and they are going crazy it should all work out well. She will have the early ones and I will share my later ones! I see lots of BLTA sandwiches in my future!

    • I'm excited that you're going to have fresh tomatoes for your BLT sandwiches. I look forward to making then in the summer, which is the only time that I make them now that I think about it, lol. Keep me posted.