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The Emerald Evergreen Tomato

Are you intrigued by green tomatoes but aren’t sure which ones to grow?  Then you’ll want to know about the Emerald Evergreen tomato.  No-fuss care, dependability, and high yields make it one of the best green tomato varieties.  The tasty fruit is why it’s popular with upscale grocery markets.

If you’ve only grown red tomatoes before, then keep reading to learn about the Emerald Evergreen tomato.  This might be the year you decide to grow some tomatoes that aren’t traditional red colors!

Closeup of green tomatoes growing on plant similar to the Emerald Evergreen tomato.

History of the Emerald Evergreen Tomato

The Emerald Evergreen tomato was introduced in 1956 by the Glecklers Seed Company.  In their 1958 catalog, this is what they wrote about it:  “A strange tomato that refuses to change color from its green stage other than a pale yellowish green when dead ripe.“

This “strange tomato†must have caught on with growers – in 1980 Ohio tomato grower Ben Quisenberry introduced the seeds to the Seed Savers Exchange yearbook.  He called it “Evergreen, Tasty†in honor of its flavor. 

Characteristics of the Emerald Evergreen Tomato

The Emerald Evergreen tomato is an indeterminate heirloom with thick-stemmed vines growing 6-8 feet long.  It requires staking, cages, or trellises to keep heavy yields of yellowish green beefsteak tomatoes off the ground.

Row of tomato plants with green tomatoes on them.

Ripening Season

The Emerald Evergreen is a mid-season tomato, with fruit maturing after 80 days.

Tomato Qualities

An Emerald Evergreen tomato has a flattened, globe shape with lime green skin.  Inside, the flesh is bright green, juicy, and very aromatic.

Tomato Size

An Emerald Evergreen is a medium to large tomato, weighing an average of 10 ounces – sometimes growing to 1-2 pounds.

Closeup of cluster of green heirloom tomatoes on the vine.

Planting Zones

Most tomato varieties can be grown anywhere in the country where daytime temperatures are between 70-85 degrees and nighttime temps are between 59-68 degrees.  If daytime temps go higher, the plant won’t produce fruit as well.  If nighttime temps fall lower, it also affects fruit production.

Size and Spacing

Tomato seedlings should be planted deeply with only the top 1-2 sets of leaves showing (after planting, pinch off the others). Moisten the soil prior to planting.

Plant young Emerald Evergreen tomatoes 2-3 feet apart and remember to put support structures in place for future growth.

Pollination

Most tomatoes don’t need help with pollination.  If you have bees and wind, those will get the job done.

Closeup of tomato blossoms.

Plant Care

 Emerald Evergreen tomatoes are easy to grow, requiring average tomato care.

The following sections will provide highlights about tomato care. For a complete guide on optimal tomato plant care, from planting to harvesting and storage, please check out our article on How To Grow Tomatoes: The Complete Guide For the Best Tomatoes. You may also be interested in our blog post on how to grow big tomatoes!

Sunlight

Tomatoes need 6-8 hours of sunshine a day.

Soil

The ideal soil conditions for tomatoes are well-draining, loamy, slightly acidic (pH 6.2 – 6.8), and amended with compost.  Adding crushed or ground eggshells to the soil prevents blossom end rot.

Water

Tomatoes need soil that’s consistently moist, never soggy.  If soil dries out between watering, the fruit cracks.  To retain soil moisture, spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around your tomato plants, but keep the ground clear of mulch three inches around the base of the plant. Water on a regular basis at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry. Most tomatoes need an inch of water each week.

Garden hose sprayer watering base of young tomato plant.

Fertilizer

Tomatoes require specific nutrients (such as calcium) to produce their best crops of fruit. To learn how to determine what your tomatoes need and when they need it, consult our ultimate tomato fertilizer guide.

Pruning/Pinching

Pruning and pinching are a tomato care technique that can help your tomato put forth its best yield. But you need to know when to do this and what tomatoes need it. To help you with this, visit our pruning tomatoes guide.

Disease

All tomatoes are susceptible to diseases like blight, fusarium wilt, Septoria leaf spot, Verticillium wilt, and Southern bacterial wilt. Keeping the foliage dry by watering the base of the plant and removing any foliage in contact with the soil are your best defenses against tomato plant disease.

To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide.

Pests 

The ugly truth: growing tomatoes means dealing with pests. Aphids, whiteflies, tomato hornworms, slugs, pill bugs, stink bugs, and rodents are just a few to be on the lookout for. Companion plants like marigolds, catnip, fennel, dill, basil, and cilantro repel common tomato pests. Netting keeps out birds and larger pests, but can interfere with beneficial insects and pollinators.

For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests.

Closeup of tomato hornworm on tomato plant.

When to Harvest Emerald Evergreen Tomatoes

There are a couple signals when Emerald Evergreens are ripe.  

Color – they’ll be green with amber blush when fully ripe, but ripe fruit can also be lime green or gold color.

Feel – a ripe Evergreen Emerald feels soft when you gently squeeze it.

Closeup of picked green tomatoes on tree stump.

Common Uses For Emerald Evergreen Tomatoes

This tomato has a great flavor for fresh and cooked uses – green tomato sauces and fried green tomatoes are favorite recipes mentioned by growers.

What Does This Tomato Taste Like?

An Emerald Evergreen tomato is packed with fruity flavor that is rich and sweet, with a low-acid taste.

Ingredients for green tomato salsa.

Cooking

Use them in sauces, chili, soups, stews, casseroles – their green color changes things up!

Eating Raw

Slice them for sandwiches, burgers, and tomato platters.  Dice them for salads, salsas, relishes, bruschettas, tacos, wraps, or pita pockets.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

Emerald Evergreens are very productive and their fruit is large.  You can use canning, drying, and freezing methods to preserve them for later use.

Jars of pickled green tomatoes.

Recipe Ideas 

Evergreen Tomato Velouté

Spicy Green Tomato Salsa

Fried Green Tomatoes (use these on a classic BLT!)

For something REALLY different, here’s a sweet recipe for Green Tomato Pie.

Plate of fried green tomatoes.

Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Green tomatoes don’t just look pretty — they’re healthy foods!  All tomatoes are high in fiber, vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate. They’re also one of the best dietary sources of lycopene, an antioxidant credited with reducing the risks of heart disease and cancer.

Where to Buy Emerald Evergreen Tomato Plants or Seeds

Emerald Evergreen starter plants aren’t widely available online, but you may be lucky and find them at local nurseries or garden centers.  Seeds are easier to come by and can be purchased from several online retailers (or Amazon).  Be aware it sometimes goes by the name “Evergreen Tomato.â€

Where to Buy Emerald Evergreen Tomatoes

As mentioned at the start of this post, these tomatoes are popular with upscale grocers.  Check with those or specialty produce stores in your areas to ask if they carry Emerald Evergreens.

Wrapping Up the Emerald Evergreen Tomato

Closeup of cluster of green tomatoes on the vine.

Are you ready to grow Emerald Evergreen tomatoes in your garden?  They’re a perfect place to start your adventure with non-red-colored tomatoes!

Do you grow Emerald Evergreen tomatoes in your garden?  If so, let us know all about it in the comments section below!  To read about other tomato varieties to plant in your garden, click here for our tomato blog posts.