Posted: 14/08/2015 at 08:15
While a hybrid's gene pool is (usually) very stable, heirlooms' pure gene pools can be volatile.
This is Cherokee Purple:
Years ago in the US, a grower by the name of Craig LeHoullier, a legend amongst heirloom growers, discovered a fruit on his CP plant that was more a mahogany brown colour. Apparently a spontaneous mutation of a colour gene.
He saved seeds, planted them out, and selected only those resulting toms that exhibited the brown colour. Ditto the following seasons until, eventually, he stabilised what became known as Cherokee Chocolate:
Some people find that, for taste and texture, it's essentially the same tom with a different coloured skin. I don't think so. I like CC a lot, but find CP has more taste complexity. And is a better producer. I highly recommend CP to anyone and everyone. Doesn't need a long growing season, doesn't take up a lot of space, is a good producer and delicious.
While stabilised, Cherokee Chocolate can still throw up some genetic quirks. Lo and behold, a green-when-ripe fruit turned up on a CC plant. Seeds saved, grown out over successive seasons, stabilised, and Cherokee Green came into existence:
One of the best green-when-ripe toms I've tasted.
Who knows what else CC has in store? Tomatoes and their genes!