Gary Ibsen's TomatoFest - The Tomato Lover's Paradise

A Celebration of Heirloom Tomato Varieties from Around the World


Background of Marianna's Peace Heirloom Tomato

"Marianna's Peace" "The World's Best Tasting Tomato"

Marianna's Peace
Marianna's Peace Heirloom Tomato
The seeds were sent to me by one of Marianna's children. They came to me with the following story. Marianna's family were farmers from Bohemia, Czechoslovakia. During World War II, on a day in May of 1940, the Germans came to her school and loaded Marianna and all of her schoolmates into a truck to be taken to a labor camp. Marianna was 17 years old. During the journey, Marianna and a few others escaped by jumping from the moving truck. As she crossed the Czech border she was shot in the leg but with the help of her friends was able to continue on to the town of Weiden in Bavaria. She lost all contact with her parents and brothers for the next ten years but through years of diligent searching and the aid of The Red Cross she found them in 1955. The name, Marianna's Peace, and some tomato seeds, were gifts from her father before he died. She married, and in 1957 moved to Washington with her husband where they raised four children.

The family wasn't able to provide any history of the tomato's breeding or origin, only that the seeds from this heirloom reached back to the early 1900's and, year after year, the tomatoes borne from these seeds were treasured for their outstanding taste and beauty.

Marianna's Peace is a late season, indeterminate, potato-leaf variety (80-85 days) that produces relatively lower yields of 1-2 lb., pink/red, beefsteak-styled fruit. It's plant and fruit structure and the taste of it's fruit remind me of an old favorite, Brandywine. The sugary nectar of it's creamy, dense, flesh also reminds me of Sandul Moldovan, another great tasting variety originally from Moldova. Overall, it's flavors are exceptionally rich, with good sweet/acid balance and luscious complex flavors reminiscent of the finest of those "old-fashioned" tomato flavors, the memories of which is the stuff-of-dreams for all tomato lovers. In my taste trials with friends and chefs in 1999, "Marianna's Peace" was judged the "best tasting" tomato.