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Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red
The "Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red" tomato was named by Gary Ibsen after one of the world's most celebrated actors/directors. The tomato seeds of this variety came to Gary Ibsen from tomato breeder, Archie Millett, who crossed his favorite tomato varieties over many years to finally produce a wonderful, disease resistant tomato with intense, delicious tomato flavors.

The Background of Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red

Gary Ibsen and Clint Eastwood
Gary Ibsen and Clint Eastwood
"Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red" is an open-pollinated tomato (78 days to maturity). The tall, indeterminate, plant produces lots of 2 to 2 ?"inch (6-10 oz.), deep-red, round fruits with a subtle point on its end. The fruit has robust, "not for sissies", bold, tomatoey flavors, with a firm, juicy flesh, that invites snacking in the garden, cooking, canning and seed-saving. Its fruity sweetness is perfectly balanced with plenty of acidity, earthy nuances and complexity. "Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red" has proven resistance to several of the most common tomato diseases (verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, nematodes and tobacco mosaic virus).

For years I've wanted pay tribute to our neighbor Clint Eastwood, for the generosity he's bestowed upon our Carmel-Monterey community, for his actions to preserve the natural beauty of our coastline, for his hospital Youth Program designed to treat drug, alcohol and health problems, and for the years of support he's given to the Carmel TomatoFest.

Clint Eastwood, Chef Bert Cutino and Dina Eastwood Announcing Awards to Chefs
Clint Eastwood, Chef Bert Cutino, and Dina
Eastwood Announcing Awards to Chefs
Within the hundreds of varieties of heirloom tomatoes I grow each year is a very small selection of previously undistributed, un-named varieties, the seeds of which had been handed down within different families from around the country, then tucked into a letters to me from gardener friends wanting to share their legacy with me and others.

One of these varieties I found to be particularly outstanding and worthy to share with other gardeners. And wanting to give this special tomato a boost into recognition and acknowledge Clint, I asked Clint's permission, to name it, "Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red," after Rowdy Yates, the character played by Clint in his old television series Rawhide." Clint replied, "Sure, Gary, name it whatever you want."

Clint Eastwood and Tracy Griffith, Miss Hot Tomato
Clint Eastwood and Tracy Griffith, Miss Hot Tomato
The seeds of "Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red" came from Archie Millett, a tomato breeder with the University of California at Davis since the early 50's. Following years of crossing thousands of tomato varieties at the university to produce a disease resistant tomato with intense flavor, Archie retired in '87 and continued cross breeding his favorite tomatoes to further enhance the flavor qualities of his favorite tomato from his small home garden.

One day while visiting Archie in his garden he gave me these seeds by pressing them into my palm and said, "Here, Gary, these are for you. I've only shared these with friends and family. This is the best tasting tomato of my 50 years of growing tomatoes. Name it what you want.share it with others."

I introduced "Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red" to the public for tasting at Gary Ibsen's 14th annual Carmel TomatoFest on September 11, 2005 and released the seeds for distribution in 2006.

To date the "Clint Eastwood's Rowdy Red" tomato seeds have been distributed to home gardeners around the world. - Gary Ibsen