Help! Oxheart Tomatoes

Five years ago, I purchased some oxheart tomatoes from an old farmer at a local flea market. They were, unquestionably, the best tasting tomatoes I have ever "experienced". They were VERY dark red, almost burgundy, in color...very meaty with little juice and only a few seeds. I went back the next week for more, but it was the end of the season and there were none left.
The next spring, I decided to grow my own. However, it took contacting over 20 nurseries before I could find one that had oxhearts for sale. I purchased and planted 3 dozen plants, nurtured and cared for them on my hands and knees every morning, pinched suckers and watered and fertilized properly.
By mid July, about 75 days later, I had magnificent plants about 6-7 feet tall with 5 or 6 tomatoes on each plant. I figured the low yeild might be the price I had to pay for these jewels. They ripened from the bottom up, but by the time the tops were almost ripe, the bottoms began to get soft and mushy, so I began to harvest a little sooner, however, the tops of these weren't edible. Of the 36 plants, I probably had a dozen or more tomatoes that weighed in at 2 pounds or more, the rest being a half pound or larger! But the taste was nothing near what I had experienced the previous year and the color never got any darker than medium pink.
All summer long I tried to locate the old guy who had sold me the originals. I wanted to know what I was doing wrong. He was no where to be found, but some other old timers told me that there were both Pink and Red oxhearts. I had planted the wrong thing.
For the last 3 years, I have planted only what has been lableled Red oxhearts, but each year I get the same results, large, pink, half ripened, not so tasty tomatoes.
Can anyone with some "oxheart" experience point me in another direction? Is there a Burgundy oxheart? I've found white and purple.
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I always grow an heirloom oxheart called "Russian". It's similar to what you describe & my favorite for eating & canning. Steve

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Deep red? I've seen Russian advertized on a couple sites.
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Grave Yard Guy wrote:

It has happened to me with Brandywines. When I found again true Brandywine seeds, I made sure I would save seeds from the best tomatoes every season. If one googles oxheart tomatoes there are pages of seeds for sale, some redder than others. Have you tried them all? Most important, have you tried Seed Savers or other seed saving organizations?
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I've googled the net the last two years, looking primarily at color. However, I didn't see anything that resembled deep, rich red of my first ones.
I'm not familiar with Seed Savers or other seed savng organizations, but I'll try that right now.
Thanks.

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Call a company called Totally Tomatoes, 800 345 5977, or go www.totallytomato.com. Have them send you one of their catalogs, order something and get on their mailing list. I think you have a very good chance of finding what your are looking for there.
Dwayne

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Grave Yard Guy wrote:

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For some reason I am having trouble postiing messages. So here goes again. The old oxhearts sold from 1900 -up til the heirloom era are as you describe. Hard green shoulders that never ripen, a peculiar balnd taste. They did come in yellow red and pink. The pink was the most popular and sold as the Giant Oxheart. The first tomato could be quite large and the folks that grew them would take them to the stock markets on Saturdays and brag about the size. Only the first couple of tomatoes got size however. Today there have been a a large number of Oxhearts introduced. The one that gets a lot of positive press is the German Red Strawberry. I suspect that you got one of the new "heirlooms" at the farmers market. A short list of some that are available: http://www.tomatogrowers.com/Oxhearts.htm snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net wrote:

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Thanks for the history and the site. http://www.tomatogrowers.com/Oxhearts.htm and http://www.totallytomato.com/ that Dwayne recommended appear to have a number of good possibilities. If I don't plant my usual beans, brussel sprouts, peppers and eggplant, I may have almost enough space to get the oxheart varieties that I want...Did I mention that I was just a little obsessed with this?
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On Thu, 04 Jan 2007 03:08:42 GMT, "Grave Yard Guy"

Welcome to gardening!
Penelope <---Particularly Pepper Preoccupied
--
You have proven yourself to be the most malicious,
classless person that I've encountered in years.
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On Tue, 02 Jan 2007 11:41:52 GMT, "Grave Yard Guy"

It sounds like blossom end rot. Check out this site for answer to tomato problems. http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/tomatoproblemsolver/index.html
Also have a soil test done. And talk to your county extension agent. They have information about what grows well in your part of the country and can help solve problems. If you cannot locate the extension service for your area, try a good nursery. BTW, where do you live?

Tomatoes that have not completely ripened will not have full flavor.

I think you need to see why your plants are not producing good tomatoes before you go looking for another variety.

--
Susan N.

"Moral indignation is in most cases two percent moral,
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Thanks for the input and advice. I live near Pittsburgh PA, and for some reason, can never remember my zone #. I compost from the end of the growing season until about January so that everything is completely rotted before planting in May. My soil is tested in April of each year and is in great shape according to the lab at Penn State University. Each year I experiment with 4 or 5 other varieties in addition to the oxhearts. They all produce prolifically from July to September or October.
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