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Croatian Tomatoes

June 12, 2011

My family in Croatia grows their own tomatoes and when my sister went for a visit she brought me back some seeds. And well I finally got around to germinating then and all I can say is WOW! They have really taken off. They germinated after just one day and now I have then in little cups. They have been in for just a week and already have their first true leaves. I can't wait to see what kind of tomatoes they are. It's kind of a mystery. But I just thought I would share some pictures of them. I have some seeds left over if anyone wants to trade................ I'd love some heirlooms.

Comments (20)

  • rnewste


    I am growing Brandywine From Croatia this Season, from seed sourced at the Santa Clara Master Gardener's Sale on April 3. I bought 7 plants. They are outperforming all my other varieties in growth and vigor.

    About 74 inches tall as of today. Fruitset is just commencing. Really looking forward to this one.

    Do you know the variety from Croatia that you are growing? Would like to exchange seed with you in the Fall.


  • KMKacan

    I have no idea what variety they are but it's wonderful that someone else is growing tomatoes from Croatia. I would live to trade seeds this fall!! just drop a line.

  • rnewste

    Here is a little background from a Master Gardener who is providing the Brandywine from Croatia:

    """I and my Master Gardeners have been conducting tomato varietal screenings since 1983. At one about 12 or so years ago, a woman from Croatia brought us two huge delicious Brandywine tomatoes grown from seed she brought back from Croatia. We tasted and were blown away with the flavor, texture and size. We saved the seed and continue to do so every year since and continue to get huge plants 7' - 8' tall and 4' wide heavy laden with the most delicious huge tomatoes that are sweet, but with good acid balance, no watery seed cavities. Bountiful Gardens nearby has been saving the seed from a fruit he got from me originally.

    We've trialed Brandywines including: Sudduth, OTV, Yellow Platfoot, Pink, Black, Red, and Ed's Millenium. Of all these varieties, we've particularly loved and still sell at our annual Spring Garden Market in San Jose Brandywine from Croatia, OTV, Sudduth, and Ed's Millenium."""


  • Bets

    Hi KMKacan,

    Your tomato babies are looking nice! Is there anyway you can find out what their varietal name is? If not then you get to name them, but I'm guessing you might want to wait until you have ripe fruit. After all, it'd be kind of odd to call it "Croatian Giant" and have it turn out to be a cherry or vice versa wouldn't it?

    You could always go with a name version that includes the original grower or source. That's how Prue, Heidi, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Aunt Gertie's Gold, Bianca, Uncle Steve's Italian Plum, Neves Azorean Red, and many other's were named.

    If you want to trade seeds now (since you have a long growing season) send me an email from my page. I have a long list of heirloom and open pollinated tomatoes, but since you don't have your email listed on your page, I can't send it to you.


  • carolyn137

    Croatia only became independent on June 25th, 1991 and many of us have grown varieties from Yugoslavia of which Croatia was a part of until 1991.

    And I've grown many many Yugoslavian varieties that would now be called Croatian, depending on the specific geographic locale.

    And now for Ray.

    Ray, we both know that there have been many threads about the Croatian Brandywine, but it seems to most of us, me included, that since Brandywine originated in the US , NOT Croatia, that it does seem to confuse some who think that the Croatian one originated in Croatia.

    As to how it stacks up against other brandywines, that's hard to tell unless someone grows them all in the same season so direct comparisons can be made.( smile)

    KM, I agree with Bets that you should find out everything you can about the seeds your sister sent you so that eventually you can name it, as Bets said.

    It isn't always easy to find a name that represents a variety but it can always be done. This past season I introduced two varieties from Macedonia and they were named by the person who sent me the seeds according to the village where he got the seeds.

    Just to share with others about how to name varieties several years ago I gave all the background information I had for a variety and started a thread here at GW to name it. There were 22 folks who particpated and I sent each of them seeds for what was named Neves Azorean Red.

    If you have enough seeds I'd be glad to trade with you although I normally don't trade seeds.

    Since you have no contact information you can send me an e-mail at cmale@aol.com if you wish, and my wish is that others don't use that addy for contacting me other than you.( Smile)


  • homegardenpa

    Hi Raybo,
    That plant does look good, but it has RL foliage... I'm assuming it's in no way related to PL Brandywine Sudduths, is it? Any description on what the fruit looks like?

  • carolyn137

    That plant does look good, but it has RL foliage... I'm assuming it's in no way related to PL Brandywine Sudduths, is it? Any description on what the fruit looks like?


    Your question has been asked before, so let me link to Tania's excellent data base for the page on this variety and it might help.

    Note that the fruits are pink and the foliage RL and it's been that way since the get go.

    So why it was named Brandywine I'm not sure.

    Ray, any ideas about that?


    Here is a link that might be useful: Croatian Brandywine

  • nordfyr315

    I am growing a couple "Serbian" varieties this year from a Serbian relative. All she could find out about them was that they had been in her husband's family for a while and they did not have a specific name for them either. Similar to yours, my plants show great vigor and despite being started a couple weeks later, they have caught up. As Dr. Carolyn alluded to, a few decades ago, these were most likely all Yugoslavian tomatoes so we may have the same varieties. If not, I am happy to trade when mine fruit. Just send me a PM around August.

  • KMKacan

    Silly me... my email address isn't listed. Well I'll just have to fix that but in the mean time here it is: KKacan@yahoo.com

    @ Bets - funny thing is my sister that brought the seeds back from Croatia is named Bianca. LOL I would love to trade some seeds. I'll send an email out.

    I want to say thank you to all that have posted on this thread. I didn't know Croatian Tomatoes were such a hot topic. I checked on my little guys today and WOW they are moving quick. I can't wait to get them planted out and see what kind of fruit I have. Here are some pictures of today.

    @ Carolyn - I would love to trade. And Thank You. I'll email you now. We may have just got our independence in '91 but Croatia has always been Croatia to me... even thought it was "called" something else before. But I see what you mean.

  • dickiefickle

    Never tottaly understood the requirements for naming a tomato .You would think it already has a name . If I say I dont know the name of my tomato plant do I get to name it to? Is this why we have so many varieties that are just like one another.I got seed from a neighbor he didnt know what its called but I know its called something,somewhere,by some one already.

  • Bets

    @ dickiefickle, and that is why we encourage KM to see if he can find a name for it, as in what it is called by the people who are growing it in Croatia now.

    Aunt Ruby's German Green, Aunt Gertie's Gold, Grandma Mary's Paste, and Uncle Steve's Italian Plum may have all had a name at one time that was different, but came to be called by those names because that is how they were referred to by family or community members, who were given seeds by Aunt Ruby, Aunt Gertie, Grandma Mary or Uncle Steve. But sometimes people have grown a tomato for years, and just called it a tomato.

    Sometimes a tomato is a new cross or a sport that has been stabilized (Mortgage Lifter, Brandywine OTV, Ferris Wheel, Little Lucky, KBX, etc.) so it didn't have a name.

    On a side note, I have at least three batches of seeds that don't have names (one I know is a mixture of varieties, the other two might be) that were given to me because people know I grow heirloom and open pollinated tomatoes, and I have yet plant them because I have so many named varieties I want to try first. When the seeds are 12 - 15 years old, I may try them. They've been well stored.

    'Nuff said.


  • rnewste


    Don't shoot the freakin "Messenger"! I am NOT claiming it originated in Croatia. If you want to dispute this variety's origins - - take it up with the folks at the Santa Clara Master Gardeners Association. I posted the information (above) from one of those Members for information purposes only.

    Here is the label on the plants that I purchased at their Sale:

    Here were the plants on April 4:

    All I know today is that their claim of a very robust plant is absolutely true. Booming foliage and growth - - far more so than the Brandywine Sudduths growing in the adjacent container today. In fact, the only plant that rivals my Brandywine From Croatia is my Kosovo (now how is THAT for the ultimate Irony!!)


  • miesenbacher

    Ray, that seedling on the far left that appears to be PL, is that also a BFC? Ami

  • carolyn137

    Ray, I'm not shooting anyone, especially you, despite the fact that post bilateral cataract surgery I can now spear a Mastadon at 500 ft. LOL

    And no, I don't want to dispute anything with the Master Gardeners there b'c I'm sure they know that Brandywine is PL and not RL.

    I just find the situation confusing and wish it had never been named Brandywine from Croatia for the reasons I posted above.

    If the variety is good, it's good. Period.

    Ami, it does look like that the one on the left is PL, so what do we make of that?

    Ray, what was the source of your seeds that gave the PL one? And have you had that happen before and if so what did a PL one turn out to be as compared with an RL one?

    Just curious b'c as I recall others have reported RL, not PL for this variety per reports I've seen online and Tania's page on it. I just looked at the 2011 SSE YEarbook and no one lists it.


  • structure

    When I travel the region (Ok, not every summer, but several times), I stop at as many outdoor markets and roadside stands as I can. Over 90% of the tomatoes I've found have been various hybrids. The exception are large pink beefsteaks and large pink hearts. When asked, the usual responses is that they're "ox-heart" or "paradajz" or "rajÃÂica." I suppose the large pink beefsteaks might look and taste a little like a Brandywine so I can see (sort of) why they might get named that. They also look and taste A LOT like Crnkovic Yugoslavian.

    BTW, I also have a tomato from part of the former Yugoslavia now Croatia, that's called Knin after the town near it's origin. It's also a large pink beefsteak...It seems less vigorous than Crnkovic so I stopped growing it.

  • rnewste

    I grabbed 7 plants out of the bin labeled "Brandywine from Croatia" at the Event. All had the same individual labels. When I got home, I noticed that 6 were RL, but one was RL. I am growing the PL side-by-side with a pair of RL plants, so we will see what we get come harvest time.


  • carolyn137

    They also look and taste A LOT like Crnkovic Yugoslavian.


    Structure, maybe you or someone else here can help me with the following.

    Yasha Crnkovic is the person who gave me the seeds for what we called Crnkovic Yugoslavian and he said they came from the Vojvod area of Yugoslavia.

    I did some Googling this AM and I think, but can't be sure, that that area is now in Croatia?


    He also gave me seeds for what we called Yasha Heart from the same area, actually his relatives there, but not that many folks know about the heart one, which is pink.


  • structure

    The Vojvodina is the region to the north of Beograd and centered on Novi Sad. My in-laws describe it as the "modern" part of Serbia known for its agricultural richness and productivity. Thus, saying a tomato was from the Vojvodina would be something of a compliment. As a westerner visiting, one notices that as they drive towards Novi Sad the countryside and houses look more and more Central European and loose some of the "character" of areas further south (I'm a fan of the far south, but that's a different story).

    The area is still part of modern Serbia.

    My father-in-law described Crnkovic as "exactly like the tomatoes his father grew" and died of delight when he had one. Growing up they were just "tomatoes" to him and didn't have another name. He still lives in Serbia parttime and can't find a decent tomato in the markets. Oddly, he has to visit CA to get a good "Yugoslavian" tomato...Go figure.

    Obviously in the 90s people and seeds moved all over the country. Many Serbs from Coatia and Bosnia moved, or where moved, to Beograd and regions of Northern Serbia. Likewise, with Croats though to different places.

    I bought "Yasha Yugoslavian" seeds from Tomatofest last year, but because of disease and mix ups, never got one up. This year I tried again and had great germination. The result were a huge potato leaf plant with what appear to be beefsteak fruits (still small and green). I realized earlier this year I'd been sold the wrong seeds. I almost started a post about that, but figured it didn't really matter. I'll order seeds again this winter from someone else. Kosovo does the trick for me as a large pink heart anyway, so trying Yasha is mostly a novelty.

  • cjcole64_hotmail_com

    I was reading your posting on another site and that led me to your postings here. I have an interest in this tomato because it comes from the area that my grandmother immigrated from. I would be interested in trading seeds.

    My grandmother lived in a little town called Kernei (different name now) about 79 miles northwest of Novi Sad. As you said people moved about in the 90's, but there were other periods during the 20th century when there was quite a bit of movement too. Specifically the early 1900's (when my grandmother's family made their was to the US) there was a large group that moved to the US, then again in the 1940's when there was alot of unrest and even genocide many moved to the US, Germany and other places.

    So, I guess what I am saying is that I would imagine this tomato has already been here in the US. My grandmother brought her seeds to the US and grew them here, but unfortunately she died before I became interested in gardening. And I have been looking for seeds from the area where she was born. Again, I would love to trade seeds when any become available. Thanks!

  • KMKacan

    CJ - I'd love to trade some seeds with you. These seeds are from Zadar on the coast of Croatia. My grandmother came here from Croatia in the 1940 due to the war but I still have lots of family there. They grow their own Olive tree's to make their own olive oil. They grow many other veggies as well. My sister is going back this summer and I am asking her to bring me back a potluck of seeds. I am very excited. Next year I should have lots and lots of different seeds to trade.

    Happy Gardening All,
    -Kristina K.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Urban Farm Wife

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