Tomato Varieties of the 1950s
Tomatoes introduced to the marketplace in the 1950s are not technically heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom varieties are defined as those developed or discovered before 1945. The 1950s varieties generally produce a high-quality fruit, but may be susceptible to disease. As with all tomatoes, plants developed in the 1950s will thrive and produce fruit when temperatures range between 50 degrees Fahrenheit overnight and 85 degrees F during the day.
According to VegetableSeed.net, the Ace 55 tomato was developed by the Campbell's Soup Company and was introduced in 1955 after it was determined that the fruit was too low in acid to be used for canning. The plant is resistant to two major diseases: fusarium wilt and verticilum. Ace 55 plants produce red tomatoes of up to 12 ounces that have firm, meaty, sweet flesh. These plants can tolerate most climates and have particularly sturdy stems. Ace 55 tomatoes should be ready to harvest in 80 days.
A hot-weather variety, the Homestead 24 tomato was introduced to the marketplace in 1953 and was grown commercially throughout Florida in the 1950s and 1960s. According to the University of Florida Extension, Florida's tomato crops suffered from a major bout of fusarium wilt in the late 1960s and Homestead 24 and other susceptible varieties were replaced by Walter, which is resistant. Homestead 24 fruit weighs up to 8 ounces and has smooth red skin. These tomatoes are ready to harvest in 80 days.
Introduced in 1958, Indian River tomatoes resemble Romas in that they are elongated and have smooth red-orange skin. The plant, which has a high level of heat tolerance, produces fruit that weighs up to 6 ounces. Indian River tomato plants are resistant to many common diseases. These tomatoes are ready to harvest in 75 days.
Developed by breeder J.W. Walter, the Manalucie tomato was introduced to the marketplace in 1953. According to the University of Florida Extension, it was a key achievement in tomato breeding, as Manalucie is resistant to most common diseases but still produces high-quality fruit. Fruit is round and red and is heat tolerant, making it a good choice for Southern gardens. Manalucie tomatoes should be ready to harvest in 82 days.
- "Sunset National Garden Book"; the editors of Sunset Books and Sunset Magazine; 1997