85 days, indeterminate
— Although most merchants simply call it 'Mortgage Lifter', 'Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter' is probably the most well known of the "mortgage lifter" varieties. It has been a popular variety in the Logan, West Virginia area since it was introduced in the 1940s
and got international attention when its seed was introduced to gardeners in the mid-1980s. The regular leaf vines produce fruits that are large, some reaching over a pound each, pink in color, and one of the best flavored beefsteaks available.
The legend surrounding this tomato is that it was bred by Marshall Cletis Byles,
who preferred to be called "MC" or simply Charlie.
For several years he crossed 'German Johnson
', with undisclosed English and Italian varieties, selecting the largest specimens. It is said that he then sold plants for one dollar each and paid off his mortgage in six years. Seeds were supplied to Dr. Jeff McCormack, founder of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and released by him commercially in 1985.
We received our seed from him in 2001. Each packet contains approximately 20 seeds.