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Our Heirloom Tomatoes, Peppers and one Cool-Looking Watermelon

Thanks to Marian Parsley for the inside dope on so many of the Heirloom and unusual varieties of vegetables.


  • Bhut Jolokia (Hot) is one of the world’s hottest peppers.  Its 3″ fruit grows skyward, not down.  Ornamental, with high yields, too.  To 40″ tall.
  • Comstock Purple (Hot) is a cross between Tasmanian and Jwata.  Upright, producing elongated purplish fruit with the same heat as cayenne peppers,.  Grows to 24-36″.
  • Serrano Del Sol (Warm to Hot) is a Southwestern-style chili.
  • Sunny Border Black (Hot)  produces black fruit that stays black till fall.  Same heat as Jalapeno.  Grows to 24-36″.
  • Trinidad 7 Pod (Hot) is “outrageously hot”, according to the grower.  Its fruits are red or yellow or both.  Great in stews, salsas, and sauces.
  • Orange Bell (Sweet)  is an orange, medium-sized Sweet Bell, extra sweet when ripened.  Compact plant, so excellent in containers.  Known for flavor and disease resistance.
  • Ubatuba cambuci (Sweet) is an Heirloom Brazilian pepper that looks like an umbrella.  Squat, wide fruit turns from yellow to orange to red. Likes staking.  Grows to 36″.


  • ‘Amish Paste’ (Heirloom) is a favorite with home gardeners – sweet, meaty and flavorful.  Indeterminate.
  • ‘Abe Lincoln’ (Heirloom) has a sweet taste and produces right up until frost.  Great for tomato juice.
  • ‘Arkansas Traveler’ (Heirloom) produces a large bounty of dark pink fruit, which is sweet, even in the worst heat.  Tolerates high humidity, too.
  • ‘Amanda Orange’ (Heirloom) produces a huge fluted orange fruit that’s so sweet, it’s almost tropical.  Indeterminate.
  • ‘Black Prince’ (Heirloom) produces medium-sized deep garnet fruits with a rich flavor.  Indeterminate.
  • ‘Boxcar Willie’ (Heirloom) is a slightly flattened Jersey-type fruit that resists cracking.  Indeterminate.
  • Comstock Sauce and Slice (Heirloom) is great for pastes – meaty with few seeds – and in salads and sandwiches, too.  Must be staked.  Grows to 36″.
  • ‘Evergreen’ (Heirloom) is very productive, with fruits that are green, then yellow.  Great for salads, or frying up as fried green tomatoes.  Indeterminate.
  • ‘Garden Peach’ (Heirloom) produces meaty fruits that are mild and sweet.  Peach-shaped and -colored, it’s a pretty novelty.  Indeterminate.
  • ‘Hillbilly Striped’ (Heirloom) is a huge bicolor with rich, sweet flavor.  Great slicing tomato.  Indeterminate.
  • Principe Borghese is a popular Italian Heirloom.  Compact, so great for containers.  Small, plum-shaped fruit. Heavy producer, widely used for sun-dried tomatoes.  Best given support.  Determinate.
  • Tomatillo Purple is the primary ingredient in salsas.  Tart, and the size of cherry tomatoes.
  • Tomatillo ‘Verde’ looks like a regular tomato, except it’s green.  Used in salsas, dried, or baked in pies and preserves.


  • ‘Moon and Stars’ (Heirloom) produces massive fruits – 25 to 30 pounds each and its thin rind is a pretty dark green.  The flesh is a sweet pink.  How cool-looking are they?

Photo credits:  Mixed heirlooms by Southern Pixel. Heirloom tomato salad by Lucy Crabapple.


Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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