Background of Marianna's Peace Heirloom Tomato
"Marianna's Peace" "The World's Best Tasting Tomato"
"Marianna's Peace." Named for Marianne Worschech Tibbetts (1927-2013)
Seeds for this tomato were sent to Gary Ibsen, owner of TomatoFest, by Marianne's sister who lived in Munich, Germany. Marianne's family were farmers from Bohemia, now the Czech Republic. Her life on the farm ended during World War II, in May of 1940, when the Russians came with a truck to her school and loaded all the children to transport them to a labor camp.
Marianna, and five other girls, escaped by jumping from the moving truck with only two of them surviving. As she crossed the Czech border she was shot in the leg, and yet she traveled by foot with her girlfriend through the Austrian Alps to Vienna. With the help of her friends she was able to continue on to the town of Weiden in Bavaria. Marianne lost all contact with her parents, brother and sister, but through years of diligent searching and the aid of The Red Cross she found them in 1955. She married an American soldier in 1957 and moved to Spokane, Washington 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. The tomatoes borne from these seeds were treasured for their outstanding taste and beauty.
Marianna's Peace, named by Gary Ibsen in tribute to Marianne's resilient and wonderful life, is a late-season, indeterminate, potato-leaf variety (80-85 days) that produces medium yields of 1-2 lb., pink, beefsteak-styled fruit. Its 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 taste trials at the 1999 and 2000 Carmel TomatoFest with attending friends and chefs,
"Marianna's Peace" was judged the "best tasting" tomato. When "Marianna's Peace" was first introduced commercially to North America in 2000 by Gary Ibsen, it was billed as "America's Most Expensive Tomato Seeds," because TomatoFest had so few seeds available for distribution. Seeds were released at the cost of $24 for four seeds ($6 per seed). Within three years, after harvesting a sufficient quantity of seeds, the price had dropped to $2.95 for 30 seeds ($.09 per seed). Originally distributed exclusively by TomatoFest, Marianna's Peace is now distributed by many seed companies in the U.S.