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About Box Car Willie
‘Box Car Willie’ tomato was bred by Joe Bratka’s father and named probably after Lecil Travis Martin vel Boxcar Willie, an American country music singer. According to Tatiana’s Tomato Base, Joe found the seeds for this tomato (among several others varieties like Red Barn, Mule Team and Great Divide) but could not get the seeds to germinate, and sent them to Carolyn Male, who succeeded in germinating the seed and shared this variety with other gardeners and SSE members in the mid-1990s. Carolyn Male of Latham, New Jersey, USA offered this variety in the Seed Savers 1994 Yearbook.
‘Box Car Willie’ is a great choice if you’re looking for good old-fashioned flavor. This prolific heirloom is better than most of today’s hybrids, and its round red fruits are 12-18 oz. The indeterminate vines produce excellent, crack-free, disease tolerant tomatoes with a sweet, yet tart flavor. Midseason, about 75-80 days to maturity.
- Culinary Use
- Salad / Slicer
- Flavor Profile
- Sweet / Tart
- Flesh Color
- Fruit Color
- Fruit Shape
- Fruit Size
- Leaf Type
- Plant Type
- Solanum lycopersicum
- Open Pollinated
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I would like to know if anyone has tried this tomato and can comment.
I’ve got this variety, along with Mule Team, on the docket for 2021. Excited.
I live in zone 7b in Temple, Georgia. Of the seven varieties that we planted at Fairview Market at Holloman Farm in 2021, this one is winning hands down in terms of its disease resistance package and vigor. The taste is great and reminds me of tomatoes from my childhood. We had 258 tomato plants on the farm this year.
Transplanted this to a raised garden bed in May in Walla Walla, Washington. Now in August and it only has 3 tomatoes. Had few blossoms. I am wondering if the plant was mismarked because the green tomatoes look nothing like the photos – mine are huge, flatter and already cracking.
Hi Nicole, yes, it was mismarked for sure if the shape and size of the fruits are different.
I grew box car willie when I first began growing heirloom tomatoes in 2013. It was a great choice. The plants were strong and produce an abundant crop of medium size red tomatoes. I had so many I finally had to use some in making pasta sauce.
Yes, I have. Amongst 15 different varieties last summer, it was in the top 5 in Chicago.