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The Early Girl tomato is a medium globe type F1 hybrid popular with home gardeners because of its early fruit ripening. Early Girl is an indeterminate variety. It is tall growing and needs support as the plant grows. Fruit maturity claims range from 50 to 62 days from transplanting, which appeals to growers in climates with shorter frost-free seasons. (However, the plants of this variety are not particularly cold-tolerant.) Plants are reliable and prolific.

The ripe fruit is about the size and shape of a tennis ball -- very much a standard tomato -- and weighs 4 to 8 ounces (~130g). It has a bright color and good flavor, but is usually replaced at the table by later-producing varieties which are considered better tasting. Open-pollinated alternatives that take roughly the same amount of time as Early Girl include Matinamarker, Sasha's Altai, Silvery Fir Tree, and Stupice.

The Early Girl VF hybrid is verticillium and fusarium wilt (strain I) resistant. The VFF hybrid is resistant to fusarium wilt strains I & II. The patent holder of the Early Girl variety is Monsanto Corporation following its 2005 acquisition of vegetable and fruit seed company Seminis, Inc. An open-pollinated version has also been bred, although it is not widely available.

Cult Following

Early Girl hybrid tomato (second largest red), alongside a selection of heirloom tomatoes.


Early Girl is well suited to a technique known as 'dry-farming.'.

Researchers at the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at the University of California, Santa Cruzmarker, are among those who have described the technique: not watering tomatoes after transplanting, forcing the roots to grow deeper to seek out moisture, producing more "concentrated flavor," and saving water..

Dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes have a cult following, and aficionados claim the taste of dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes rival those of the best-regarded heirloom tomatoes .

Dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes are popular in farmers markets in the San Francisco Bay Area. The variety is also popular with home gardeners in that region, where it thrives despite the area's cool and often overcast summers.

Foodies regularly debate the merits of boutique dry-farmed Early Girl tomato specialists such as Ella Bella and Dirty Girl

Chez Panissemarker founder Alice Waters is a fan of the Early Girl tomato, telling an interviewer "[O]ne of the best tomatoes I’ve ever had was an Early Girl that was dry-farmed up in Napa at a friend’s house."

History

Based on a short-season hybrid tomato developed in Francemarker, the Early Girl was originally distributed in the United States by PetoSeed Co., a major agricultural seed supplier .

The variety was named "Early Girl" by PetoSeed boardmember Joe Howland to complement the company's popular "Better Boy" tomato. Seed catalog Burpee Seeds struck an exclusive three-year deal for the new variety, and featured it on the cover of its 1975 Spring catalog.

See also

List of tomato cultivars

References



External links




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