Long Keeper (Longkeeper) Tomato
'Long Keeper' (Burpee's Longkeeper) tomatoes ripening on the counter in November.

Long Keeper (Longkeeper) Tomato

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A unique storage variety that ripens to a nice red color and is good tasting.
Long Keeper Certified Naturally Grown Seed

78 days, semi-determinate — 'Long Keeper,' originally named 'Long-Keeper' and sometimes marketed as 'Longkeeper,' is a serious candidate for filling your extra garden space to provide good tasting, vine fresh, out of season tomatoes for your table. It has very unique ripening properties.

The fruits are harvested late in the season, just prior to your first frost, when they reach a light, orange-red color. The skin matures to a medium-red color with red flesh, when stored properly. Select only perfect, unblemished and undamaged fruits and store in a cool, dark place. Do not wrap them in paper but store so they are not touching. They will stay fresh in storage for six to twelve weeks.

Another method was sent to us by a gardening friend in Wyoming. She uprooted her plants before the first frost in September and hung them in her basement. Using this method, she enjoyed fresh tomatoes as they ripened on the vines all through the fall and well into winter. The picture she sent above was taken on January 5th and she noted that, "They taste so REAL."

'Long Keeper' was introduced by W. Atlee Burpee in 1891. Their 1892 seed annual described that it was bred by famed plant breeder and editor of "The Rural New Yorker," E. S. Carman." In 1890, Mr. Carman described it as follows:
"About thirteen years ago I raised all the kinds of Tomatoes popular at that time. Six of each were selected the same day, of apparently the same stage of maturity, and of a bright red color, as well as of the largest size and shapeliest form. These were kept in a darkened room until all were more or less decayed.

From the last one to decay I selected seeds, which were planted the next year. Careful selections have been made every year since, always with a view to increasing their longkeeping qualities, uniformity in shape, earliness in ripening, as well as the productiveness of the vines.
Each packet contains approximately 20 seeds.
I planted them too late.
Plants grew well but we had a early frost that killed them off just before I got any tomatoes. I planted them too late.

VSC Notes: Don't be fooled by this variety. It was bred to be pulled up and the fruits "harvested" as it hangs in a cool dry location and the fruits ripen. It is not bred to be like standard production tomatoes used for processing. If you try and wait for fruit to ripen on the vine, you will be disappointed.

It is an odd variety but one worth raising if you are looking to have fresh tomatoes into the late fall / early winter.
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Reviewed by: (Verified Buyer)  from Pulaski, VA. on 2/4/2014
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