Is it REALie a Box Car Willie?

OK, first off I apologize for the picture heavy post. I know often less is better in that regard, but this really has me puzzled (and it’s not the only one this year, I’ll start a second thread on the other one…)

Well I thought I better see what all the fuss was about with Box Car Willie, so I picked up some seeds from Ferry-Morse:

On the back of the seed pack it says they are supposed to be 12-18 ounce fruit.

Also most sites say this plant will be 6’ or more, yet take a look at this row of tomato plants and guess which one it is…

(never mind the weeds, I’m in the middle of remodeling a rental that has an 8/1 move in date…)

Here is a closer up of the “Box Car Willie” next to what was supposed to be a Bulgarian Triumph (that’s the other thread I’ll start later…)

So this plant is around 4’, while the others are more like 6+ feet.

Here is a couple shots of the fruit on the vine:

I picked one that’s near ready and it’s more of less representative of what most of them still on the plant are like, small… 2.3oz small.

I think it’s not all to uncommon for earliest fruit to be smaller, but I can’t imagine these on this plant ever getting to the 12-18oz size the seed-pack says.

This is looking a lot more like a determinant maybe? Anyone have any experience with BCW?

Is this really a BCW?


I grew BCW one year and started some seedlings for a neighbor a second year. None of the fruit were beefsteak size, but they were bigger than that little feller on the scale. I would say they averaged 4-8 oz., which what I had expected based on pictures and what I’d read. That 12-18 oz. on the package seems very optimistic and is probably just something a copy writer came up with or recycled from somewhere.

In terms of plant size, the plant I grew was fine, but I wouldn’t say it was as vigorous as some of the heirlooms I grow. If you only have one plant, it is hard to know if that is just a bit off, since I occasionally have a plant that should be bigger, but for some reason just doesn’t get as big as I expected. … so a definite maybe, lol. Unfortunately as open pollinated seeds get passed around you often wind up with different strains/versions emerging that start to vary from the original, besides the wanton mislabelling of course.

I think @Fusion_power is a fan of BCW, so he may have some more insight.


I grew box car one year and the fruit were very unevenly sized,


I’ve been growing BCW the last couple years, they did ok last year, but are doing better this season, because of better soil, and better weather- warm and dry. The growth habit is medium vigor, not a huge plant, but not small either. Kinda bushier than others.

It produces clusters of round fruit, kind of like yours, in groups of four or six. Fruit size looks to be a bit larger than golf ball size, like yours. I’ve never had one over a pound.

I’ll try to get some pics of the plant and fruit on it. None are ripe yet, but we planted them out late, in early June. Just this week have we started to harvest some ripe tomatoes, like Jaune Flamme, Omar’s Lebanese, Gordost Sibiri and Chocolate Cherry.

Your patch still looks good, mine is starting to get taken over by weeds, I need to get in there and clear it out. I space my plants at 4ft apart, and it’s getting a bit tough to walk thru the patch nowadays, more like wading thru a jungle.


Ok, I had to get some stuff off the clothesline, so I got these pix of BCW. The plants are about 4-5ft tall. The fruit is bigger than I thought, almost tennis ball sized. Maybe they could reach close to a pound when ripe.


I am growing BCW this year and mine looks nothing like all the pics here. The ones that I have has ruffled shoulders and I picked one that weighed 1lb 12 ounces. A friend of mine told me that there was 7 or 8 different strains claiming to be bcw? Also they dont grow in clusters of 4 or 5,all single.


8 oz to 10 oz is what I usually get. has seed for the correct variety.


I am glad to hear that. I have just received a packet of bcw seed from them for next year.

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Thanks for all the replies.

It does sound like there has been some issues with folks getting the right one.

I was reading some stuff Dr. Carolyn Male had said about it over on Tomatoville (I only lurk there - tried to sign up one time, to no avail) and one sentence she wrote says:

"It’s indet, RL with a high yield of almost globe red fruits that are oblate, which means slightly flattened"

I’m not seeing that, so I’m guessing I got a “Faux Car Willie” as someone called the imposters on the other forum.

It may be a decent tomato (whatever it is) but I think I’ll take Fusions advice and get some different seeds for next year.

The fruit in your pictures Dood, does kinda look like mine, only mostly bigger some.

Good point about not drawing any firm conclusions off single copy, Zendog. I also think you’re probably right on about the description on my seed-pack.

Oh well, there are a lot on there so I hope they’re good :slightly_smiling_face:

Thanks again everyone!


Still don’t know what it is, but I took a couple more off tonight a bit early to ripen on the counter.

I’ve still not eaten one yet, however I sent a bunch of toms home with a friend and and he texted back later on that this tomato was excellent as a tomato sandwich.

Seems like whenever I reach for a slicer I’ve been going Black Krim or Brandywine, but this no-name is next up!

I’ve taken 7 and they’re all big and healthy toms.

Here’s a couple shots just because :slightly_smiling_face:


I am having a Boxcar Willie dilemma.
I started them from seed. Same seed pack - from ‘Tomato Growers’. One plant has small squatty tomatoes. Another plant is gung ho! And the tomatoes are huge beefsteak types.
Pictures here.
When I google the tomato variety - different pics are shown. One company has a perfectly round, average size tomato. Another describes my big ones.
What gives?. Can someone explain? This is an old post, from 2019 - but same questions.

Small ones - squatty shaped.

Big beefy ones.