The Mortgage Lifter tomatoes are ripe and they are huge

mortgage-lifter-tomato-big-pictureI’ve hit a milestone of the gardening season as my Mortgage Lifter tomatoes are coming in.  These tomatoes are big…really big.  You’ll struggle to fit more than one in your hand.  Some of them weigh as much as a pound.  Only one slice is all that’s needed for the perfect sandwich.

If you want to make the perfect BLT you’re going to need: One half-inch slice of a Mortgage Lifter, four slices of Wright Brand bacon, and two Romaine lettuce leaves.  Stack all of these goodies between two Hellman’s mayonnaise slathered pieces of toasted Ciabatta bread and get ready for a soulful experience.  To complete the scene you’re going to also need a bag of Zapp’s potato chips, a cold Claussen dill pickle, and a glass of sun-brewed iced tea.  I know I’m throwing a lot of brand names at you, but the details are important here.  When people see you eating this sandwich they will keep their distance out of respect for the moment.  A well placed Mortgage Lifter BLT has been known to mend strained friendships and spark true love.

While the Mortgage Lifter is big and delicious, it also has an interesting backstory.  Backmortgage-lifter-tomato-big-picture in the 1940’s a mechanic from West Virginia spent 7 years cross-breeding tomatoes in search of the ultimate specimen.  When M.C. “Radiator Charlie” Byles wasn’t repairing the radiators of 18-wheelers pushed over the red line by the elevation in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains he was perfecting his system for breeding tomatoes.

Radiator Charlie began with a German Johnson tomato which he surrounded with 10 of the biggest tomatoes available in the country.  He would use an eyedropper to gather pollen from his accumulated donors, pollenate the German Johnson, and save the seed for the next generation.  Eventually he arrived at what he considered the perfect tomato.

mortgage-lifter-tomato-big-pictureCharlie sold his wonder tomato seedlings for a buck a piece.  With the country emerging from the Great Depression and facing World War II a dollar was no measly sum.  People did pay for Charlie’s tomatoes though…paid and paid.  Enough so that he paid off his $6,000 mortgage on his home.  This is how the Mortgage Lifter got it’s name.

3 thoughts on “The Mortgage Lifter tomatoes are ripe and they are huge

  1. Great post! You’ve gotten me fired up about my seven Mortgage Lifter tomato plants that are, at last, coming into fruit. I’m not sure when they’re ready for picking as the plant information stick says it’s when they’re pink…but so many of the google images of them show them quite red! When do you suggest they be picked?

  2. Thanks for commenting! My Mortgage Lifters were more of a deep pink. I pick them when the bottom 2/3 of the tomato feels soft…still a little green on top. Everyone I picked was ripe and delicious. These huge tomatoes were the star of my garden this year. My plants have burned out due to the Mississippi heat but I have lots of seeds stored away for next season. I highly recommend you have BLTs for lunch every day until the Mortgage Lifters play out.

  3. Hi – I’m growing Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes in an Earthbox. The plant is covered in tomatoes and they are starting to ripen – orangey color – but they are very soft – I’m worried they are too soft but can’t find any info if this is normal – i’m also growing a brandy wine in the same Earthbox and those tomatoes feel fine (not too soft). I’m growing Celebrity tomatoes and Husky Cherries in a large pot and those also seem fine (not too soft). Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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