Seeds are inherited and harvested from a Premium Strain of Huge Tomatoes.
Mortgage Lifter tomatoes are an open pollinated variety producing a huge fruit size of average 2 to 4 lb. The fruit is typically pinkish-red beefsteak-shaped best known for its taste.
This beefy tomatoes mature in approximately 75 to 90 days. The plant is indeterminate and can grow to an average height of 8 feet. The fruits are continuously produced throughout the growing season.
This variety was developed in the 1930’s by a radiator mechanic working from his home-based repair shop in Logan, West Virginia. Like many depression era home owners, M.C. Byles (aka Radiator Charlie) was concerned about paying off his home loan. Mr. Byles developed his renowned tomato by crossbreeding four large-fruited varieties of tomatoes: German Johnson, Beefsteak, an Italian variety, and an English variety. Mr. Byles planted the latter three varieties in a circle around the German Johnson, which he hand-pollinated using a baby’s ear syringe. From the resulting tomatoes, he saved the seeds and for the next six years he continued the painstaking process of cross pollinating the best seedlings. In the 1940’s, Radiator Charlie sold his Mortgage Lifter tomato plants for $1 each. The variety gained in popularity and gardeners came from as far away as 200 miles to buy his seedlings. Charlie was able to pay off his $6,000 home loan in 6 years, hence the name Mortgage Lifter.