Our Very Own Heirloom: The Roxbury Sunsplash
Little did we know that the 250 tomato plants we grew last year would have about ten errant tomatoes on them, looking different from the other crimson red tomatoes in that they had bright yellow splotches (star-shaped yellow on them. These we discovered were a natural variant from the varietal called the Cosmonaut Volkov.
The Cosmonaut Volkov Tomato plant was developed in the Ukraine. Named after a Russian Astronaut on board the Mir space station in the early 1990’s. The fruit has won worldwide awards for exceptional taste and is best eaten sliced with a bit of salt, peeper and a drizzle of olive oil. Each red fruit usually weighs between 12 and 16 ounces and has a short, flattened appearance. Horticulturists refer to the plant as Lycopersicon esculentum and it is considered to be a superior heirloom variety.
Heirloom tomatoes are enjoying a resurgence as many gardeners and food enthusiasts discover that tomatoes developed in different regions of the world have a wide range of flavors and possess superior taste to the more typical hybrid varieties.
We know that there are restaurants that now seek out small scale farmers that grow this type of specialty produce. Our new varietal, we call the Roxbury Sunsplash, is the newest heirloom “off crop” developed in Roxbury since the Roxbury Russet Apple in1640, believed to be the oldest variety of apple bred in the United States.
The Sunsplash has all the same flavor as the Siberian Cosmonaut, but this one evidently got very close to the sun and back!