That’s a completely different plant that originated in Logan, West Virginia, sometime in the 1930s. There is another “mortgage lifter” tomato. He’d turned over the farm to his son Bob, Mary Lou’s husband. Salt rising bread has a…, A W.Va. Family Cultivates Tradition With A Nearly-forgotten Tomato, Democrats May Have Won the White House, But Republicans Hold Statehouses and the Power to Influence Future Elections, Commentary: An Aspiring Appalachian Filmmaker on What to Consider Before Watching ‘Hillbilly Elegy’, Region’s Economic Outlook Grim As COVID Aid Programs End, Folklife Program of the West Virginia Humanities Council, Appalachian Program Feeds Families as the Pandemic Economy Places More In Need, ‘Passing the Paddle’: Southeast Ohio’s Bean-Dinner Tradition Marches On, Rethinking ‘Poor People’s Food’: An Interview with Mike Costello, How to Bake Bread like Appalachia’s Ancestors. competition from weeds. He also gave away a lot of tomatoes. Hopefully, it’ll help make your holiday season as special as possible. Mortgage Lifter tomato plants require 1 to 2 inches into prepared garden soil once the danger of frost has passed. It’s a sweltering hot Monday in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and…, A decade after the Civil War, the Grand Army of the Republic started enticing veterans to gather for…, As Appalachian food becomes a hip new trend in the culinary world, 100 Days in Appalachia’s food and…, See a recipe for salt rising bread at the bottom of this page. vine tomatoes. Charlie was able to pay off his $6,000 He gave lots of interviews to newspapers, magazines and TV stations. Their stories are never over, so long as people keep growing them. tomato variety produces 2 ½ pound (1.13 kg.) Confused, he wrote Bob a letter to see if he could clear things up. But the family knows for sure that a niece in Alabama is still growing the genuine article. Water when weekly rainfall is not sufficient. And knowing the story only makes the food taste better. The tomatoes were a hit with family and friends alike. location that receives 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Sign up for our newsletter. For shorter growing seasons, it’s best to start seeds indoors 6 A definite no-no,” he said. Mortgage Lifter tomatoes are an open pollinated variety The letter didn’t work. “That was a no-no. “We grew three plants this year. home loan in 6 years, hence the name Mortgage Lifter. 122 cm.) Although growing Mortgage Lifter tomatoes may not pay off In 1987, Bob received a letter from a guy in Texas who got Mortgage Lifter seeds from his sister. But they’re on the smaller side than what they’re used to.”. They’re different plants, bred from different parent tomatoes. Sign up to get all the latest gardening tips! plants grow 7- to 9-foot (2.1 to 2.7 meters) vines and are indeterminate, Grow your own mortgage lifter tomatoes from seeds. (2.5 to 5 cm.) includes a delicious story to share with fellow gardeners. With our brand new eBook, featuring our favorite DIY projects for the whole family, we really wanted to create a way to not only show our appreciation for the growing Gardening Know How community, but also unite our community to help every one of our neighbors in need during these unprecedented times. Estler had two tomatoes that he was raising,” Mary Lou said. They came in fairly well. So that was always a favorite.”. She is going to send seed back to West Virginia so Dean can get them going here again. Mr. Byles planted the latter three varieties in a circle around the German Johnson, which he hand-pollinated using a baby’s ear syringe. “They had beautiful dinners,” Mary Lou said. There is a story about a special type of heirloom tomato, called the Mortgage Lifter. Eslter had them for breakfast with a little sugar on them,” Mary Lou said. Space Mortgage Lifter tomato plants 30 to 48 inches (77 to That generosity is part of the reason the Estler Mortgage Lifter is still around today. Like many depression era home owners, M.C. “He would not allow any other tomato on the property to grow because he did not want to find any cross-pollination of any sort. But most important of all, they were delicious — pleasantly sweet, not acidic and sour. And Bob converted much of the property to a nine-hole golf course to keep from having to sell it. your home loan like they did for Mr. Byles, they are a delightful addition to Dean Williams once made the mistake of bringing Mary Lou a cherry tomato plant. Happy holidays from all of us at Gardening Know How. Mortgage Lifter tomato care is similar to other types of It first showed up back in the mid-1920s—years before Radiator Charlie brought his tomato to market. Her son-in-law Dean Williams grows tomatoes that he’s pretty certain are Estler Mortgage Lifters. She lived in Huntington and got Mortgage Lifter seeds from Bob. This heirloom far away as 200 miles to buy his seedlings. He registered the name in 1932, several years before "Radiator Charlie" and his "Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter". Subscribe to the podcast to hear more stories of Appalachian folklife, arts and culture. So William Estler built a greenhouse and started raising seedlings. Heirloom | Heritage: USA, 1940's | ‘Mortgage Lifter’ is an all time favourite producing large pinkish-red beefsteak fruit. These meaty tomatoes have of rain per week. which produces a pinkish-red beefsteak-shaped fruit. Bob just felt that, with the Radiator Charlie tomato using the “Mortgage Lifter” name, his father’s tomato — the original mortgage lifter in his mind — was being overshadowed. So Bob did the only thing he could. meaning they set fruit continuously throughout the growing season. Mulching will help retain soil moisture and reduce For the richest flavor, pick tomatoes when they are fully ripe. They’re different plants, bred from different parent tomatoes. If you’re looking for a flavorful, large, main-season tomato, There’s tales the seeds made it to Australia and Panama and Africa.
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