Zapotec Ribbed Tomato Seeds - (Lycopersicon lycopersicum)
- Seed Count:
- Approx 25 seeds per pack
- Days to Maturity:
- 80 - 90 days
- Days to Germination:
- 5-7 days @ 75-95F
- Light Preference:
- Full sun
- Plant Spacing:
- Heirloom, Non-Hybrid, Non-GMO seeds
Zapotec Ribbed Tomato - Legendary Heirloom Flavor, Rooted in Tradition
The Zapotec Ribbed or Pleated tomato is a stunning heirloom variety with an eye-catching appeal that wins hearts with its flavor. Whether on the vine, on the kitchen counter, or in a basket, the deeply pleated fruit always stops those who have never met it. The first bite makes eyes go wide with exclamations of wonder; then the lips start smacking as that unforgettable taste rolls around the tongue, lingering awhile. Bursting with sweet, well-balanced flavor, this tomato is a tastebuds dream. Its unparalleled flavor is equally at home sliced in salads, stuffed with zesty fillings, or roasted to caramelized perfection, making an unforgettable pasta sauce.
The Zapotec is a precious family heirloom that has been passed down for generations by the Zapotec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico. It is grown in the dry mountainous area north of Oaxaca at elevations ranging between 4,000 and 8,000 feet. The plant thrives in hot summer weather and is resistant to drought. The fruits are large, weighing between 8 to 16 ounces, and come in dark pink to red color. You can expect a bountiful harvest of these tomatoes from mid to late summer until the first frost.
The Zapotec tomatoes we grew in our trial garden were dark red, meaty, and delicious. Despite our harsh climate of low humidity, daily temperature swings of 40°F, and a constant breeze that pulls moisture off the plants, the Zapotec thrived and produced the only beefsteak-sized tomato that did well. We enjoyed it sliced fresh on sandwiches and salads or roasted in salsas. When combined with San Marzano tomatoes, the Zapotec created a captivating pasta sauce with complex and unforgettable flavors.
Plants grow 4-6’ tall, and require substantial trellising as they are heavy and will eat standard tomato cages as snacks!
The history of how wild tomato species became our modern domesticated varieties has been debated and revised several times. New scientific findings have contributed to this ongoing debate. Previously, it was believed that the cultivation of wild tomato ancestors began in South America around 7,000 years ago. These plants were bred to produce slightly larger fruits like cherry tomatoes. Later, they were further domesticated in Mesoamerica, producing our modern-sized tomatoes.
However, recent genetic research suggests that cherry-sized tomatoes first grew naturally in Ecuador around 80,000 years ago, without human intervention. Humans in South America later cultivated these early tomatoes but did not develop the larger fruit size we see today. Over time, these cherry-sized fruits spread northward towards Mesoamerica through human movement, birds, or a combination of natural routes.
After many years of persistence as weedy, semi-domesticated plants, their fruits changed significantly to resemble South America's more petite wild tomatoes from 80,000 years ago. Eventually, these smaller fruited plants were domesticated in Mesoamerica (around 7,000 years ago) into our modern tomato.
The tomato's journey to the rest of the world began with the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World. He discovered the tomato and brought it back to Spain in the late 15th century. Despite initial resistance and skepticism in Europe, the tomato began gaining acceptance as a food in the 18th century. Italy quickly embraced it, becoming a staple ingredient in many dishes, including pizza and pasta sauces.
The tomato made its way to North America in the early 18th century, but it was in the mid-19th century that it became widely cultivated. Today, the tomato is one of the most beloved vegetables in the world, cherished for its delectable taste, nutritious benefits, and versatility in cooking.
Raw or cooked the tomato is one of the most widely used and versatile foods from your garden. Use fresh in salads, sandwiches, and salsas. Cooked in sauces and stews. Can be stuffed, dried, puree, paste or powdered. The uses are endless!
Tomatoes take about 3 - 4 months from direct seeding in the garden to start producing fruit; about 70 days from transplanting 6 - 8 week-old plants to start fruiting; and about 40-50 days from the flower opening to producing ripe fruit.
Tomatoes suffer more transplant shock than other vegetables, but you can minimize this by hardening them off for a week or two first. This means setting them outdoors in their pots in a protected place so that they get some warm sun, a little gentle wind, and even some cool (not freezing) nights. This will help them adjust to some of the stresses of real life before having their roots transplanted into the ground.
Tomatoes begin the ripening process by producing ethylene, a natural growth regulator, and releasing it. The fruit ripens from the inside out, meaning the center matures and turns red before the color reaches the outer skin. Faint white lines crossing each other at the bottom or blossom end of the fruit show that ripening has begun. Soon afterward, the blossom end starts turning pink – indicating ethylene is being produced. When the pink blush reaches the stem, the fruit is about 75% ripe. The pink color deepens to red, starting from the blossom end and working its way upward.
A tomato’s flavor increases as it ripens, due to the increased nutrients and sugars pumped into the fruit by the plant. For a home gardener, harvesting when there is just a touch of pink at the stem end or when the fruit is completely red gives the best flavor. The fruit will be fragile, won’t tolerate shipping and must be used or cooked within a few days to enjoy peak flavor.
Once the tomato is ripe, test by giving it a gentle pull or twist. If it slips easily from the vine – with little to no effort – it is ripe, juicy, and delicious!
Ripe tomatoes can be injured by cool temperatures and must be stored at room temperatures, never refrigerated to avoid chilling injury, which leaves pockmarks or pits on the skin leading to early rotting.
If you need to harvest early due to weather or the end of the season, those fruits with a pink blush at the blossom end will ripen with almost full flavor. Those with the faint white lines can still ripen but won’t have the full flavor.
- Growing Tomatoes 101
- Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes - What's the Difference?
- Heirloom Tomato Growing Tips
- Heirloom Tomato Leaves - Potato Leaf vs Regular Leaf
- Blossom End Rot - What To Do
- Fermented Tomato Conserve
- Sicilian Eggplant and Tomato Sauce
From the soil to the seed to the food you eat - we'll help you grow your best garden!
I try a new tomato every year. Normally a big tomato is a poor producer. But this plant had huge, ribbed fruit and was very prolific. Used in sandwiches and canning. Started producing right on time and continued through frost. Very tasty, and most fleshy. Huge plants so need lots of structure and room. Mine grew over the 7 ft frame and down again.
The Master Gardeners at the historic Francis Land House Heirloom Vegetable Garden in Virginia Beach, Virginia are providing feedback on the donated seeds. Our garden consists of 35 raised beds, each four feet by twenty feet. The garden receives full sun all day and is fertilized with a combination of compost and commercial organic fertilizer. The plants produced 70 fruit with a total weight of 40 pounds. As noted in your catalog we found the tomatoes to be very fleshy, deep red in color and deeply creased. The volunteers really enjoyed the taste of these tomatoes. The harvest period was short with production stopping at the end of August.