Tomato, Paul Robeson (Organic)
Solanum lycopersicum. Maroon/Brown. 75-80 days. Indet.
Gorgeous color of deep red blended with chocolate-black that is rightly associated with delicious flavor. This category of tomato (which includes Sarah Black, Mavritanskite, Lila Sari, Sokolades and many others) is typically so rich, sweet and almost smoky that one would be justified in giving up all other tomatoes. We won’t go that far, but it is very nice to have tomatoes that get this tasty in our cool Pacific Northwest climate. Paul Robeson is our maroon/brown tomato of choice for market farm production because it rarely cracks, is blemish free, and is high yielding of 6-12 oz fruit even in less than optimal conditions. Originating in Russia and named in honor of the great social activist, opera singer, star athlete, and actor, Paul Robeson. Among his many accomplishments, he was the first black actor known to play Othello in the US. Arguably one of the most important and forgotten figures of the mid-1900s and early civil rights movement. He was a political activist inspired by the egalitarian anti-racism ethics of Marxism and had strong communist sympathies. This resulted in his being blacklisted from American establishment culture and in 1950, his passport was revoked due to his work with the anti-imperialism movement. We hope to do our part to help re-popularize his story.
Sow indoors in flats with good potting soil as early as February, but no later than April. Keep warm and well-watered. Up pot seedlings into 4” pots once they have two true leaves. Transplant into the garden once danger of frost has passed.
Collect seeds from ripe fruit by squeezing into a jar and add 25% more water. Wait a few days for mold to form. When seeds sink and gel-sac is gone, stir, add water, then decant and rinse to clean. Dry thoroughly. Tomatoes are mostly self-pollinating; isolation is not usually needed for seeds to be true to type.