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All About The Versatile Boxcar Willie Tomato

On the hunt for a multipurpose tomato, you can grow right in your home garden for all your tomato needs? Look no further than the Boxcar Willie Tomato! This versatile, old-fashioned tomato is easy to grow and the perfect size for all types of eating and canning.

Read on to learn all you need to know about growing, eating, and enjoying these classic tomatoes.

boxcar willie tomato

Characteristics of Boxcar Willie Tomatoes

When you think of a sort of classical tomato, most likely, what you see in your mind is similar to a Boxcar Willie Tomato.

These fruits are a great medium to large size, crack resistant, and tend to be fairly round. When mature, they range from a deep orange to bright red in hue.

Their bodies are often very smooth and quite shiny, and while a faint shoulder, may be present near the stem, on average, Boxcar Willie Tomatoes are rounder.

These tomatoes are typically in a larger size, weighing in at around 10 to 16 ounces each. Their size, weight, and sturdiness make them high-pick tomatoes for canning and preserving, as well as for use in sauces, soups, and other recipes.

The flavor profile for the Boxcar Willie variety is what you might consider a classic tomato flavor. It’s rich, bold, and balanced in acid, another point in its favor for all kinds of meal preparation and different kinds of enjoyment.

What to Know About the Boxcar Willie Tomato

Caprese Salad most likely made with boxcar willie tomatoes

Eating Them

Boxcar Willie Tomatoes can be used in a wide variety of ways, which is one of the greatest charms and appeals to growing them! Couple that with their bumper crop, and they make for the perfect edible tomato all around.

To start with, Boxcar Willie Tomatoes can be enjoyed raw. They can be cut into round slices for sandwiches and burgers, cubed on salads, cut into salsa or thinly sliced for a Caprese board.

This is also an ideal tomato variety for making your own homemade tomato juice or adding to beverages like Bloody Mary.

Additionally, the Boxcar Willie Tomato cooks down fantastically. Its balanced, smooth flavor profile makes it ideal for homemade tomato sauces, including plain tomato sauce, marinara, pizza sauce, and more. And with the fruit’s size, you are looking at a high yield in whatever sauce you make!

If you find you have too large a bumper crop from this prolific tomato variety, you don’t have to worry about waste. These gorgeous tomatoes hold up exceptionally well to canning and preserving, so you can enjoy them at any time you need them most.

Health Benefits

Like all tomatoes, there is a bevy of health benefits to consuming the Boxcar Willie Tomato.

One of the biggest trademarks of healthy nutrients in all sorts of tomatoes is their high content ratio of lycopene. This antioxidant is what gives tomatoes their rich red color, so at a glance, you can see how much lycopene is available in the bright red Boxcar Willie Tomato!

Lycopene has all sorts of crazy, amazing health benefits. It helps protect your cells from UV damage, gives your immune system a boost, balances your cholesterol, and more.

Tomatoes are also full of other key nutrients and vitamins that help with overall body health—including skin, eyes, teeth, heart, and lungs.

Growing Boxcar Willie Tomatoes at Home

tomatoes supported in growth

The Boxcar Willie Tomato is a great variety for home growing. They are resistant to certain diseases and to cracking, as well as being a high-yield variety and easy to maintain. They also tend to do better in the summer heat than some other tomato varieties, making them ideal for warmer climates.

All of these factors and more make this simply the ideal large tomato variety to grow in your own garden.

Preparing and Planting

Like many of its contemporaries, the Boxcar Willie Tomato does best when planted in full sunlight and well-draining soil. Although they can be started outside from seed once the final threat of frost has passed, it’s better to start your tomatoes early and transplant them after the final frost.

The reason for this is their germination time. Tomatoes take a bit more time than other vegetable types to germinate, so in order to get the most of your harvest, you will want to begin the seeds indoors in seed-starting trays about 4 to 6 weeks before the final threat of frost in your area.

Once the ground has warmed appropriately in your area, you can transplant your germinated seedlings into the soil. They will need to be planted at a depth of about a quarter of an inch, with 2 feet between each plant and 3 to 4 feet between tomato rows.

Due to the heaviness of a fully matured Boxcar Willie Tomato, staking is highly recommended; you can use a wooden or bamboo stake or purchase a tomato cage to help support your plant as it grows.

Caring and Maintaining

You will want to keep your plants watered well but not overly saturated. You can measure with a finger in the soil up to your first knuckle; if it’s dry past your fingertip, it’s time to water. Be sure to the water near the base of the plant and not soak the leaves, as wet leaves can lead to mildewing.

You can also feed your Boxcar Willie plant every two weeks or so with an organic tomato plant feed formula—these can usually be found at your local nursery or lawn and garden center.

Mulching and fertilizing at regular intervals to keep the soil nourished will also help your tomato plant thrive at its very best.

Within about 80 days, you should begin to see a harvest. This is a prolific, high-yield plant that lasts all season, so you should expect to see a bumper crop of tomatoes all the way from maturity to the first frost of the year.

Where To Buy Boxcar Willie Tomato Seeds


Occasionally, you can buy packets of Boxcar Willie seeds from the grocery store. You can also source seeds from local lawn and garden centers, nurseries, and even farm stands.

If you are looking to source your seeds online, we recommend Hoss Tools’ Boxcar Willie Tomato seeds. These are reliable, affordable, and high-quality seeds that will produce some truly delicious tomatoes.

Wrapping Up the Boxcar Willie Tomato

Excited to grow a Boxcar Willie Tomato plant—or several!—in your garden this year? Before you get started, be sure to check out our Tomatoes Plants page.

There are lots of valuable resources there for tomato plant care, diseases and pests to watch out for, how to preserve tomatoes from the harvest, and so much more.