What tomatoes will you grow in 2018?


Mortgage Lifter!!! Are you sure it’s tomato? :wink:
I need to grow that one just for the name alone.


I grew it last summer it was delicious, but I couldn’t’ find plants this year. It has a great taste.


yeah,I need that too,but can’t find the real mortgage lifter except myself, will lift my own mortgage in N years. so I settled it with tomato to be a imaginary comforter


I grow all my tomatoes from seeds, starting in Feb. I usually bought these seeds for a quarter a pack, except the sungold which I ordered online . McCormick has regular products show for major big box stores, ace hardware, true value etc. After the show, they will donate some products to habitat for humanity, veggies seeds are part of the donation. I regularly do some volunteer work for them, building houses, and help at Restore . The seeds been so cheap, sometime, a dime a pack, I tend over bought many varieties that I never have room for.


We started too late this year (again). I don’t think they will grow fast enough to fruit. A friend donated 3-4 varieties which I promptly forgot what they were after potting them up.

I bought Cherokee Purple and Sungold plants from Ace. That’s the only way I can be sure something will produce in time :smile: .


I have Red Mortgage Lifter, Estler’s Mortgage Lifter, Radiator Charlie Mortgage Lifter, and Rieger’s Mortgage Lifter. IMO, Estler’s is the better of the bunch. Note that each of these has a different origin and/or a naming mixup in the case of Riegers.

I’m growing out a bee made cross between Neves Azorean Red and Red Mortgage Lifter this year. With a few years to stabilize, I hope to have a better flavored version of Mortgage Lifter than any of the above.


Good to know there are more than one version of mortgage lifter. I only know this cultivar by the store told the guy in WV breed it and the seeds sold helped him paid off his mortgage. Hope you breed good tomatoes and sold enough seeds to pay off your mortgage too


I have grown Estler’s
An Estler family heirloom that seems to have originated in Barboursville,
West Virginia, in about 1922. Seed for this variety was commercially
introduced by Chuck Wyatt of Maryland. This variety is said to be older
than Mortgage Lifter, Radiator Charlie’s, and goes back to 1922.
Chuck Wyatt’s seed came from Bob Estler, son of the William S. Estler
(1884-1968) who originated the variety, seed of this variety was sent to
Australia in the 1930s by the Estler’s, likely the ancestor of the
Australian variety Mortgage Lifter. Transplants have been sold for many
years by many West Virginia greenhouses since the 1930s.

I also have grown Halladay’s
Kentucky family heirloom grown since the 1930s by three generations of
James Halladay’s family.


have big difference in terms of flavor, productive, and disease resistance?


You know, not really, I would need to grow them a few times to say for sure. I thought both were low producers here. I went into another direction. Pinks are not my favorite.


I am very confused, which is the real Mortgage Lifter, the one with the story?


I go by the seed package says mortgage lifter:wink:


More pics from the patch, after I put stakes on all the plants yesterday.

Pruden’s Purple, a potato leaf variety. Not really a purple tom, but a dark red one. A new variety for us this year.

Abe Lincoln, grown from seed from Lowe’s. A medium sized red tomato.

Chocolate Cherry, a prolific cherry variety, it’s been in our garden every year for the last 4 years. It’s very vigorous, has good disease resistance, and the flavor is sweet, tart and a bit smokey. Maybe my favorite variety. Yes, you are seeing two main stalks. They grew that way in the pod and cup, didn’t want to separate them. I also did this with a couple Dr Wyche Yellow plants.

Watermelon beefsteak, another with potato leaves. Fruit is red, large and squatty, good flavor.

Overall view of patch


Charlie Byles owned a radiator repair shop in WV back in the early 1930’s. He developed the pink version of Mortgage LIfter tomato by purchasing seed of 4 large fruited tomatoes, planting them in a square, then pollinating flowers from one plant/variety to the next plant/variety. Each year he saved seed from the plants that made the largest fruit. After a few years, he started selling plants for a very high amount at that time. He sold enough plants supposedly to pay off his mortgage hence the “Mortgage LIfter” moniker.

William Estler developed the Estlers version with similar methods of crossing a few large fruited varieties until he had a large red fruited tomato to his liking. Estler’s Mortgage Lifter predates Radiator Charlie by about 10 years. As I noted above, Estlers has a tad better flavor of the two. I got seed of Estler’s from Chuck Wyatt back in 2002 or 2003 and have maintained it since. To my knowledge, I am the only source of plants on the web. I am in contact with Bob Estler’s niece who lives in Ohio. She has obtained both plants and seed from me a few times over the years since the family no longer had a source.


Nice piece of history of this tomato, thanks


I was curious as to what are your favorite yellow/gold 'maters. Of those this year we are growing Dr Wyche’s Yellow, Orange Kentucky beefsteak, Jaune Flammé and Warren’s Yellow Cherry. In past years we’ve grown Yellow Brandywine and Yellow Pear. I stopped growing YB because they are shy bearers, and YP seem to be a disease magnet.

Along those lines have Brandywine’s been stingy producers for you? They taste good, and the potato leaf plants are huge, but the most I could get off one plant is maybe 10 at the most.


Yellow Submarine is a potato leaf similar to Yellow Pear with better flavor and disease resistance. Dr. Wyche is a true yellow with good to very good flavor. Yoder’s German Yellow and Nebraska Wedding are alternatives with similar color and good flavor. There are a few other yellow varieties worth growing such as Manyel, Lillian’s Yellow Heirloom, and Hughs. There are several pale orange varieties that have good to very good flavor. Kelloggs Breakfast and KBX are arguably the best of this group. Then there is the beta carotene group such as Sungold and Jaune Flammé. Beta carotene is an orange phytochemical made from lycopene, in other words, it turns the red pigment deep orange. There is an enhancement gene that can ramp beta carotene up to 40 time more than is present in normal tomatoes. 97L97 is an example of an orange tomato with the enhancement gene and up to 40X beta carotene. Eating just one fruit a day will provide all the vitamin A your body needs. Several years ago, I provided seed of 97L97 to a guy who was trying to get subsistence gardeners to grow it to alleviate problems with children going blind. Before you get excited, 97L97 has a very intense slightly bitter flavor that is only palatable if used to make salsa. It does make outstanding salsa if mixed with Opalka in a 1:5 ratio.

There is a biopath that produces carotenoids. If that biopath is interrupted very early, you get a green when ripe tomato. A bit later in the cycle, the fruit is white. A bit further along with a different chemical produced and the fruit is yellow. A slight variation past yellow gives tangerine which is the gene in Kelloggs Breakfast. Once past tangerine, the next step is to produce lycopene for either a pink or a red tomato. Then if the B^og gene is present, the lycopene is converted into beta carotene and you get a rich orange tomato like Jaune Flammé. I greatly simplified this description to make it shorter and easier to understand.


Thanks for the detailed reply. If I understand you correctly, red and pink tomatoes are high in lycopene, whereas an orange tom like Jaune Flammé has more beta carotene, but not lycopene? So a white or green variety like Great White or Green Zebra wouldn’t have either carotenoid? Regarding purple/black varieties, would they be higher in anthocyanins, but not lycopene?

We know the benefits of beta-carotene, but have the benefits of lycopene been over-hyped?


I notice the color of sungold runsinto water when they are washed


Claims have been advanced that lycopene is a super chemical that protects from cancer and has other benefits. There is another school of thought that it is not nearly as beneficial though it is a healthy antioxidant. The debate is over which is a good description for lycopene’s health benefits. I ignore the debate and enjoy the tomatoes!

You have the gist of how this works, but are missing that chlorophyll is a precursor to the carotenoid biopath. Green Zebra has a load of chlorophyll.

Yes, Jaune Flammee has beta carotene at the expense of converting lycopene into beta carotene which reduces lycopene in the tomato. Remember that the tangerine gene does not do this because it interrupts the biopath prior to production of lycopene.

Cherokee Purple has dark color from a gene that partially prevents breakdown of chlorophyll to initiate the carotenoid biopath. It is converted into the pigment that produces the dark purplish pink color instead. This is not technically a carotenoid. True black tomatoes such as the high anthocyanin lines from OSU do indeed produce anthocyanins that give the fruit the black/blue color.