Paul Robeson Tomato

Paul Robeson Tomato

Solanum lycopersicum

Grown by: Urban Tree Connection in Philadelphia, PA

  • $4.00


This dusky-red, juicy heirloom is sweet and earthy, dense and smoky, tangy and rich - full of flavor! 7-10 oz fruits grow on an indeterminate vine. This Russian variety was introduced by Marina Danilenko, a seed seller from Moscow, and was named in honor of Paul Robeson (1898-1976). Robeson was an African American actor, athlete, singer, linguist and an outspoken crusader for racial equality and social justice for African Americans and all colonized peoples. He spent his final years in our very own West Philadelphia! This variety was grown by the Urban Tree Connection staff and community just a couple miles from the historic Paul Robeson House as part a year-long seed keeping project in collaboration with the Philadelphia Seed Exchange and supported by the Fruit Guys Community Fund.

Days to maturity: 70-80

Seeds per pack: 40

Planting / harvesting notes

Start seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost and transplant into garden well after the danger of frost. We recommend you prune the suckers that form in the crotches of the branches by the main stem. Water tomatoes at the soil level, keeping the leaves dry. Stake tomatoes so that their leaves and branches are kept off the ground, for good airflow between plants, and for easier harvest.

Seed keeping notes

Tomatoes are generally self-pollinating, though we isolate different varieties by 35-50 feet, in hopes that flying insects will not cross pollinate them unexpectedly. Tomato seeds are ripe when the fruits are ready to eat! Cut the fruit at the equator and squeeze or scrape out seeds from each of the cavities. In a cup or bucket, add a little water (1/2" is probably plenty) to your seeds and pulp to keep them from drying out, and allow them to ferment away from direct sunlight. Ideally, you will stir the concoction every day for 3-5 days. In the end, add more water to fill the vessel, stir one final time, and allow to settle. Pour off the floating material and then strain the seeds through a strainer. Sometimes, you will need to add more water and pour off the floating material several times until the water is clear and you can see the seeds sunken at the bottom. Squeeze dry the strained seeds in a towel, and then lay out to dry on a labeled screen or paper product in a ventilated place away from direct sunlight for a week or two.

Photo by Lan Dinh.