The Heritage Farm Collection: 'Igleheart Yellow Cherry' Tomato

The ‘Heritage Farm Collection’ debuted in the 2012 Seed Savers Exchange catalog and illustrates our latest efforts to move varieties from our seed vault to America’s dinner table.

The histories shared in the print catalog are a condensed summary of the full story. We have often collected a more complete history. We hope you enjoy this blog series, in which we publish full portraits of the varieties we are introducing (or re-introducing) in 2016.

Tomato- 'Igleheart Yellow Cherry'

  • Winner of the 2015 SSE Tomato Tasting

  • Yellow cherry tomatoes with a sweet, rich flavor and moderate acidity

  • Indeterminate plants have fruit that ripens all season

The ballots are in… Igleheart Yellow Cherry Tomato was selected as the best tasting tomato at Seed Savers Exchange in 2015!

Igleheart also earned strong reviews from growers across the country in 2013. Donor Diane Igleheart says that it “has a different flavor than others on the market.” M-GEN participant Sophie Chen of Irvine, California describes it well: “In terms of flavor, the tomato was both rich and bold, highly earthy, fragrant and sweet.”

This tomato is from the family of Diane’s husband, James Igleheart. James’ parents received the seeds of this tomato variety from their Italian gardener when they lived in Connecticut. Today, Diane grows the tomatoes and serves them to guests. In Diane’s words: “I tell people to take a tomato from the cocktail tray, push it in the ground and next year they will have a plant.” Diane wrote that it is extremely prolific, does best if left to sprawl on the ground, and will reseed itself.

Put it on the dinner table!

This cocktail tomato is best eaten fresh. Serve with a dip or stuff with fresh cheese.

Grow it!

You should start plants indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date for transplanting them into the garden. Plant seedlings outdoors 2-4 weeks after your last expected frost.

Plant your seeds 1/4-1/2 in. deep in soil trays or pots. Transfer them to 3-4 in. pots when their true leaves appear. When transplanting, bury seedlings up the stems up to their leaves.

Make sure that your soil is well fertilized as this crop is a heavy feeder and takes a lot of nutrients from the soil. Consider adding compost to the soil the year before you plant.

These plants prefer warm weather and soil so they should be grown when temperatures are over 68 degrees F. You should avoid watering them from above as damp leaves may be susceptible to disease.

The CORE Project

This project represents the efforts of our Preservation program to document our Collection through the Evaluation and the Collection Origins Research Effort (CORE).

The CORE project began in 2011. It is an effort to record the Collection’s cultural history by gathering, documenting, and sharing stewardship history. Our comprehensive Evaluation program began in 2010. Evaluation staff document Collection growouts, including morphological traits, photographs, taste evaluation, and purity assessment. These programs converge to give us a rich portrait of individual varieties in our Collection.

When we identify varieties with both a compelling story and outstanding performance traits, they are ‘short listed’ for consideration in the ‘Heritage Farm Collection.’ Most ‘Heritage Farm Collection’ introductions are either family heirlooms or historic commercial varieties that faded from commerce.

Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization located in Decorah, Iowa, with a mission to conserve and promote America's culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations by collecting, growing, and sharing heirloom seeds and plants.