2016 Great Tomato Plant Sale
About the Great Tomato Plant Sale
Thousands of heirloom tomato and other vegetable plants were on sale at the Fifth Annual Great Tomato Plant Sale, Heirlooms of the World. If you missed it, watch for us next year!
What makes the Great Tomato Plant Sale so special?
We base our selections & recommendations on the local experience of UC Master Gardeners field-testing & growing these tomato varieties in their own Contra Costa gardens and in Our Garden, our Walnut Creek demo garden. Many of our varieties are only available locally through us, impossible to find in local nurseries. And, in keeping with our emphasis on sustainable gardening practices, many come from open-pollinated seeds we've harvested ourselves from our own gardens.
It’s true that growing heirlooms can sometimes be tricky, and growing conditions can vary dramatically across the county. That’s why we suggest you try several different varieties & types of tomatoes to see what works well in your garden.
What can I find at the Great Tomato Plant Sale?
On sale will be more than 70 varieties of heirloom tomato plants, including 24 new varieties for 2016, hailing from Russia, Japan, Italy, Mexico and, closer to home, West Virginia and Kentucky. In addition, we'll offer 30 varieties of peppers, many unusual and hard-to find—from sweet and juicy to hot and spicy, plus a wide variety of eggplants and tomatillos. See below for variety lists by sale location, organized by tomato type, and watch for a list of varieties by the growing conditions they each prefer, to help you select plants that will grow well where you live.
Plants will cost $3 each (cash or check only, please!), and the income will support the community education work of the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County.
UC Master Gardeners will be available at the sale to advise on plant selection, site location and preparation, planting, fertilizing, pruning, and harvesting. Strategies to minimize plant disease and maximize production will also be discussed.
Three Sales in Three Locations in 2016
→ The Central County Sale was held on at Our Garden in Walnut Creek on Saturday April 2, 10 am to 3 pm. The sale originally scheduled for April 9 in Walnut Creek was canceled due to unprecedented demand on April 2.
→ Returning this spring, the West County Sale was held at the Richmond Public Library, in the City of Richmond Civic Center, on Saturday, April 9, 10 am to 3 pm. Free compost went to Richmond residents, courtesy of Republic Services!
→ For the first time this spring, we also held an East County Sale in Antioch at the Mangini Agricultural Museum within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, on Saturday, April 16, 10 am to 3 pm.
→ Whichever sale you attend, come early for best selection, and remember to BYOB...bring your own box. Even better, BYOW...bring your own wagon!
→ Plants were $3.00 each, cash or check only, please.
→ See below for lists of the tomato varieties we had available at each sale.
Helpful Tomato Tips & Techniques
Love tomatoes? Want to grow your own? Worried about the drought conditions? Our own veggie guru, Janet Miller, will give talks on Growing Tomatoes and Other Summer Vegetables at the Our Garden sale on April 2. First talk at 11 am, repeated at 1 pm.
In addition to the talks at the sale, here are some great tips from the UC Master Gardener Program of Contra Costa County.
Plants Available for Sale
Not sure about your selections? Here's a shopping guide that you may find helpful.
Here's a descriptive list of the tomato varieties that were available at the Walnut Creek sale on April 2.
Here's a shopping list for Walnut Creek that you can print and bring with you.
Here's a descriptive list of the tomato varieties that will be available at the Richmond sale on April 9.
Here's a shopping list for Richmond that you can print and bring with you.
Here's a descriptive list of the tomato varieties that will be available at the Antioch sale on April 16.
Here's a shopping list for Antioch that you can print and bring with you.
Here's a list of pepper and eggplant varieties that will be available for sale.
And, check out featured varieties on our Hot Tomato of the Week page!
First discovered in the Andes more than two thousand years ago, the tomato was cultivated extensively by the Aztecs and then taken by Spanish explorers to Europe in the sixteenth century. Initially, it was thought to be poisonous because it was a member of the nightshade family. Italians were the first to discover its culinary prowess and introduce it into their cuisine. Once tomatoes caught on, they spread across Europe and adapted again and again to the climate and soil of each specific region.
Tomatoes come in a dazzling spectrum of colors, belying that aphorism that 'red' is synonymous with 'tomato'. Colors range from black, purple, pink, green, orange and even white to every shade of red imaginable. There are also spectacularly beautiful striped tomatoes like Big Rainbow and Chocolate Stripe. Each color has its own unique taste. Some are sweet and fruity; others have rich, complex flavors, acidic and tangy. Tomatoes are the undisputed queen of the garden, and nothing tastes better than a homegrown tomato!