Mortgage Lifter – Radiator Charlie’s
Heirloom, Organic Seed
82 Days. A great heirloom developed by M.C. Byles in the 1930s. The large, slightly flattened, pink-red fruits can range from 1 to more than 3 pounds. Fruit is meaty, very flavorful with few tomato seeds. The story is just as wonderful as the tomato…
Mr. Byles, affectionately known as “Radiator Charlie” earned his nickname from the radiator repair business he opened at the foot of a steep hill on which trucks would often overheat. Radiator Charlie, who had no formal education or plant breeding experience, created this legendary tomato by cross-breeding four of the largest tomatoes he was able to find and developed a stable variety after six years of pollination and selection. He then sold his heirloom tomato plants for one dollar each (in the 1940s) and paid off the six thousand dollar mortgage on his house in six years. It is said that each spring, gardeners drove as far as 200 miles to buy Charlie’s seedling tomatoes.
Photo & Story: Tomato Fest