True Black Brandywine
90 days, indeterminate
— The potato leaf plants produce fruits with shoulders that are a dusky, dark mahogany color that bleeds deeply into its flesh. Some years if leaf coverage is not particularly dense and the sun is intense, the shoulders can take on deep-green tinge.
'True Black Brandywine' is very similar in all other characteristics with 'Pink Brandywine
' - the fruits are relatively large, globe to oblate shaped, and offer an excellent, complex, full flavor.
Any tomato with the "Brandywine" moniker has immediate "recognition" and generates interest among gardeners. For purists like us, this is a concern. There is a lot of lore surrounding the Brandywine category of tomatoes. And by lore, I mean confusion, myth, argument, and cliques who follow various garden writers. At the Victory Seed Company, we simply try to stick to facts that are verifiable using primary source historical documentation and compare that to the firsthand observations gathered from grow outs.
For this variety, what we do know is that there are two distinct introductions of a tomato named "Black Brandywine." Both of them modern and neither of them entering into the commercial seed trade until sometime after 1996.
The earliest account that we can actually document or corroborate was an introduction in about 1996 by a seed producer in Northern California who identified a sport in their fields which they believed was a cross between 'Pink Brandywine
' and 'Black Krim
'. They named the variety 'Black Brandywine' and introduced it into the commercial seed trade. Several seed companies subsequently began offering the variety. However, it was unstable, producing both regular and potato leaf plants and fruits of varying size and flavor quality. Variations of that variety are still being offered by other seed companies.
Our seed is from the most recent introduction. It comes to us from a small grower here in Oregon who told us it originated from William Woys Weaver of Pennsylvania. A decade after the original 'Black Brandywine' was introduced, he wrote a magazine article describing how he had discovered the tomato among a collection of seeds that had belonged to his grandfather, the late Homer Ralph Weaver (1896-1956).
He went on to describe how the tomato had been developed in the late 1920s as a result of the intentional breeding work of an amateur breeder named Harold E. Martin, DDS (1888-1959) of Westtown, Pennsylvania. Dr. Martin was a gardening friend of the senior Mr. Weaver. W. W. Weaver released the variety naming it, "True Black Brandywine," in about 2008. Each packet contains approximately 20 seeds.