Hopefully you’ve noticed that our range of tomato seeds has got even bigger for 2015 with the addition of many new and exciting varieties. In all we’ve both tested and tasted over 200 tomatoes to bring you the very best of this year’s introductions.
Many of these new varieties come with a story. Some have been bred by experts whilst some have been discovered by experimental clever amateurs. All have taken a great deal of time to develop to the stage and quality where they can be made available commercially. The unique Artisan Bumble Bee Mix was bred in large by 8-year old Alex Hempel. Read on for his story as told by proud father and tomato breeder, Fred Hempel.
“About 5 years ago I had a series of striped cherry tomatoes in hand — essentially all of the Artisan Bumble Bees and Artisan Tigers. The flavour was good. But none were near as good as they are now except for the Blush Tiger
The most interesting part of the story, is that my 8-year-old son, Alex (now 15), bred Blush Tiger in the first place. In winter 2005/2006 he wanted to participate in my yearly winter tomato crosses. He had been working with me as a “taster” during my tomato taste evaluations for a few years at that point, but he had a very simple idea. He crossed all his favourite tomatoes to each other. His only criteria was flavour.
I made 16 crosses that winter, and he made 3. Blush, and a number of other valuable tomatoes, were eventually selected from the progeny of that cross. In short, over time Alex’s 3 crosses proved to be much more valuable than mine, and they have almost completely permeated most of the high-flavour breeding lines we continue to work with today — again, this includes all of the Bumble Bees. Without Alex’s simple criteria of taste regardless of colour shape and size, we wouldn’t have been able to create the flavours that we have now bred into the Bumble Bees.
Since none of the original group of striped tomatoes matched up to Alex’s selections, I crossed them all to Blush (His favourite), and then re-selected for all of the colour variations again (by growing 3 generations a year, it took me only about 2.5 years to do this). The flavour of all of the lines was much improved, and the Bumble Bee’s flavour is now very similar to Blush’s flavour. So, Alex and his Blush tomato was critical for adding flavour to the whole series of tomatoes.”
If you fancy growing Alex’s Artisan Bumble Bee Mix then a packet of 10 seeds costs just £1.99. Click here for details. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed.