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Heirloom vs. Hybrid Tomatoes - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Heirloom vs. Hybrid Tomatoes

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By: Kim Liles- Louisiana Nursery

There's nothing like picking a mouthwatering, ripened tomato to slice on a sandwich, dice in a salad or just devour whole!    No doubt about it, tomatoes are certainly a southern staple, but which to choose…Heirloom or Hybrid.  They both have pluses and minuses, so here are a few facts to consider.

An Heirloom Tomato

Heirloom tomatoes exist because someone loved the particular size, shape and taste of it and passed down the seed for at least 3 generations, keeping them true to their original.  Some heirlooms have production histories spanning hundreds of years. 

An heirloom's flavor is considered superior to hybrids, but not necessarily superior to some tomato diseases.  Heirlooms also come in such a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors including yellow, purple, striped, orange, pink, black, and green, but often take longer to mature and tend to produce less fruit than the hybrids.

A Hybrid Tomato
 

Hybrid tomatoes are a cross between two genetically different tomato varieties, meant to give you the best qualities of both parents.  For example, the ability to grow and produce heavily even under adverse weather conditions, and high resistance to many tomato diseases.  Their shelf life is longer which makes them more favorable to ship commercially.

 

So, what will be the choice?  Stick with the tried and true hybrid or venture into the world of your great-great grandparents' garden?  You'll have to at least try one and see for yourself.  My two favorites are Cherokee Purple, passed down by the Cherokee Indians, and Brandywine, but don't just stop there.  There's a whole world of heirloom vegetables out there.  Their popularity has grown so much and so fast, you'll have to make a bigger garden just to try them all!  HAPPY VEGETABLE GARDENING!

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