Moskovich Heirloom Tomato of the Week

Moskovich Heirloom Tomato of the Week

April 15, 2023 0 By dzordani

Moskovich is a 60+ year old Russian variety originating in the city of Moscow. The name literally translates: a native of Moscow. The variety has exceptional cold-hardiness and produces well at lower temps. For the Denver area gardener that means more fruit into mid/late October when your other heirlooms have dialed it in for the season.

The extremely modest, Moskovich, was first offered at our heirloom tomato plant sale in 2015. Normally it takes multiple seasons for an unknown variety to gain popularity at our sale, but not Moskovich. This variety took off immediately and has been one of our most popular varieties since. What made this Russian tomato so popular, so suddenly?

I clearly remember the moment in 2015 … I was talking with a group of customers and a sedan pulls up. One of the friendliest ladies jumps from the driver’s seat, rushes up the driveway and without even perusing the available plants, asks; “do you have any Moskovich?”

“Uh, yeah, I’ve got a bunch of them right there” as I point to an untouched section of plants.

The excitement in this woman’s voice changed the complexion of the entire day’s sale; “Bless your heart! I’ve been driving everywhere looking for this tomato and you’re the only one with it!” She now has the undivided attention of everyone at my sale. She goes on to excitedly explain; “Everyone on our block grew different heirloom tomatoes last year. At the end of August we got together for a taste testing. My neighbor grew Moskovich and it blew everyone away. It doesn’t look like much, but this is the best tasting little tomato I’ve ever had. And now I’m going to grow it. I’m so excited! I already bought plants somewhere else so I’ll just take this one. I’ll remember your sale next year though. Thank you so much, dear.” She grabs a Moskovich plant, pays and splits, just like that.

At first, my customers thought she was a paid actor. Seriously. No one’s ever that excited about any tomato plant. But she was, and her burst of excitement was all it took. Everyone at the sale, at that moment, grabbed a Moskovich plant. Her 20 second testimonial raised more interest in the Moskovich than anything I could ever say. So what is it about this variety that excited her so much?

1. Taste

Juicy with classic, rich tomatoey flavor. Simple, to the point. It’s just that good.

1. Days to ripen

If you plant Moskovich you’ll be enjoying tomatoes earlier than almost every one of your friends and neighbors. Slicing tomatoes typically ripen in 80+ days, most cherries in 60+ days. The medium-sized Moskovich tomato ripens in only about 55-60 days. That’s really early!

2. Growth habit

Most early fruiting tomato plants, 55 days or less to ripen, are determinate. This means that the plant grows to a “determined” height, usually 4 feet or less, grows a quantity of fruit that ripens roughly at the same time, and the plant is done. The end. Moskovich, on the other hand, is an early season indeterminate variety. This means it grows throughout the season, only up to 5.5 feet, but offers fruit until first frost wipes it out. That means weeks and weeks and weeks of delicious tomatoes. Early and often, who doesn’t love that? Moskovich is also well mannered. You won’t have to worry about it crowding or taking over your garden like some other varieties.

4. Fruit

On the smaller side for a mid-sized tomato (4-6 oz.). Round and beautiful, bright red with smooth, unblemished skin. Like Moskovich Lady said, it doesn’t really look like much. It’s the inside that matters.

5. Production

Average to above average yields that appear in clusters of five. Moskovich’s production value is in its cold tolerance. This allows it to smile and keep producing late into the season when temperatures drop to just above freezing. What a guy!

You may not be Moskovich Lady, driving all over town looking for this plant, but I’m fairly confident that the ever-impressive variety will find a permanent place in your backyard garden. Check out my article on Lava Flow if you’re late to the dance and Moskovich is already sold out.