Monday, March 23, 2009

Wrapping up the tomato season: No 3 Mortgage Lifter

If you read the second tomato wrap up season post you may already have an inkling about my feelings for the large red beefsteak tomato, Mortgage Lifter. It is a tomato that I bought by accident when I only knew the word seedling and not seed. I went out trying to buy a Black Russian seedling, and Totally Lovely Melbourne Friend tipped me off to an awesome nursery on the other side of town (she even drove me there!!!) However, on arrival we could only find it in an heirloom mix pack, hence the overcrowded large pot was born. I don't actually know which one it was in this picture below, I forgot to label them!!! It was only upon fruiting (or lack of it in Tigerella's case) that I knew which was which!


It contained a Black Russian, a Green Zebra, a Tigerella that never fruited and a Mortgage Lifter. I was not too excited, I mean it was just a red tomato. Yay for the others but Mortgage Lifter, no real expectations there. Sure people raved about it, and it had the back story filled with cultural nostalgia and success. Sure it looked pretty, even when green. But it was still just a red tomato to me.


Once one started ripening, I got a little excited. It seemed kind of glittery in the sun, pink with some sparkles of silver. Bling tomato, I thought, ok fits in a little better here on the balcony garden. Then it turned a deeper pink, then red. All too soon it was time to consume. And that was the second the obssession was born. I didn't notice it at first, but I seemed to get a little tingle everytime one ripened. Then it was quickly into a sandwich, or on a salad and consumed with glee. It was only after I realised I had to pull the vine out that the hunger and salivating at the thought of a mortgage lifter had taken full hold.


This was magnificent tasting. Given its overcrowded postition I am not surprised it didn't produce a really large amount of fruit - it only produced 12 large beefsteak fruit, 5 of which were pulled off green during the cull.


I was so saddened the second I knew that the dead and dying vines around it meant his days were numbered. I wanted to hold on, to get the vine ripening pinkness underway. But eventually it became too late and the Mortgage Lifter tomato was pulled. Of the five that were pulled green all subsequently ripened and were heartily consumed.


I think I might have mucked the tally up, forgetting to add one or two in my post-eating Mortgage Lifter delirium. Still it wasn't up there with the others in production number, but quality was what was key. A few brown spots, bugs and what have you marred them a little but no blossom end rot which was a winner in my books. Usually only one ripened at a time so it was a steady stream of 12 rather than a glut. Sorry for the photo below, I wanted a single image of him, but alas the only one I have is rather blurry


He was also the vine upon which this sport (pictured below) grew. It was so mild in taste, nothing really like a mortgage lifter. It was oxheart in shape, again nothing like a mortgage lifter but it grew off a shoot of the vine and it was marbled with the same red hue.


I would definitely grow this again. I bought Mum some seeds for christmas as she had raved about this tomato previously when eating it at a friend's house but somehow got it and the Money Maker variety confused. Similar(ish) name but poles apart in fruit. I hope hers grow well next year in the dry Adelaide heat. Although next tomato season marks the beginning of my foray into almost all seed-grown tomatoes I may again 'accidentally' purchase this heirloom pack, just for Mr Mortgage Lifter. He proves that not all red tomatoes are the equal, some red tomatoes are more equal than others.

6 comments:

SuburbanGardener said...

Wow!!! I planted a baby Mortgage Lifter. I can not wait now to try it. Have never had one before, but the picture of the fruit was very handsome. Thanks for your great descriptions. I will post a photo of my plant in the near future. Thanks again!!

Mike (tfb) said...

Wow, that's QUITE the build-up for Mortgage Lifter!!! We better get a decent tomato summer this year. I grew ML for the first time last year, with high hopes. All of the tomatoes (40+ varieties I think it was, mostly heirlooms, some usually reliably fantastic), just kinda limped in at OK. Last season was terrible weather for toms around here, so I don't even count the year in my tomato taste testing. And I'm psyched for ML this time around...

Chandramouli S said...

I finally did resolve my mind to sow tomatoes! All the credit goes to you! Thank you so much, Prue. I love your tomato photos! They look sooo yummy! I think you can be crowned the TOMATO QUEEN! [Drum rolls please!]

Grace Peterson said...

Beautiful tomatoes! My mouth is watering.

prue said...

Suburban Gardener - cool, so is that a cherry sized mortgage lifter? that'd be ace! Can't wait to see the pics of your plant. All the best with the growing

Mike - Hehehe hope I didn't overhype it. As long as it's not like that 5 star movie the critics rave about and when you finally spend your hard earned dollars to see it the result is good but not mindblowing. That's a lot of varieties you will have growing there, hope this season is better. Fingers and toes all crossed

Chandramouli - that is so so so awesome! Any particular tomato you have in mind? heheh not quite the tomato queen yet but I am very flattered at the compliment. Will try and keep the tomato photos coming, but alas with the season ending so too are my photo subjects. Though we are trying to grow one inside this winter ...

Grace - I'd send you one but they're all gone (and i doubt customs would be too impressed!!!)

Bangchik and Kakdah said...

It is interesting to read your notes on tamato, because you are so passionate about it......, In my case, I have to endure waiting for a few weeks more, to pluck tomatoes from our five plants. Just lost one due to wilting problem... cheers.