Granny Cantrell

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Granny Cantrell
Maturity midseason
Growth habit indet.
Leaf type regular
Fruit color pink
Fruit shape beefsteak
Fruit size large
Fruit type slicer
Variety type open-pollinated, family heirloom
Country USA
Tatiana Kouchnareva (B.C KO T). Granny Cantrell - sliced fruit. 2013-09-25.


Indet., regular leaf plants. Pink slightly ruffled beefsteaks, 8-16 oz with delicious flavor. On contrary to the description from the originator, Lettie Cantrell, fruits are actually pink and not red. As tomato fruit color is determined by the skin color, it is quite a common mistake that many people make when judging the color of red or pink tomato, as not everybody is peeling the skin off and checking it.

Seed source:

Reimer Seeds / Gary Millwood of Louisville, Kentucky 07

Year grown: 2013

Location: Zone 7b, PNW, Anmore, BC, Canada (760 ft above sea level)


a.k.a. Granny Cantrell’s German. Large vines need caging or staking, good production of large (12-18 oz) oblate fruit that turn from green to light yellowish green to red, very good flavor.

Seed source:

Reimer Seeds / Craig LeHoullier of Raleigh, North Carolina (NC LE C)

Year grown: 2006

Location: Augusta, Michigan


90 days, indet., regular leaf plant with a good yield of 12-18 oz pink beefsteak fruit with very good flavor, family heirloom of Lettie Cantrell of West Liberty, KY, Lettie passed away 12-21-05 at age 96.

Seed source:

Reimer Seeds / Michael Gunn of Pasadena, Texas (TX GU R) 06

Year grown:

Location: Oblong, Illinois


These pink-red beauties weigh in at over a pound, with a strongly acid, yet well-balanced flavor. 80 days to maturity.

Seed source:

Reimer Seeds / Gary Millwood, Louisville, Kentucky

Year grown: 2008

Location: Sonora, Kentucky


indet., regular leaf, excellent yield of superb tasting, 10-16 oz red fruit, a favorite.

Seed source:

Reimer Seeds

Year grown:

Location: Pasadena, Texas


  • A family heirloom. Gary Millwood of Louisville, Kentucky received the seed in 2000 from Lettie Cantrell of West Liberty, Kentucky, who obtained the seeds from a soldier returning from Germany during World War II. Lettie grew this tomato since the '40s; it was the only tomato she ever grew. Lettie always called it "her German Red Tomato". Lettie died in November 2005 at the age of 96.
  • Gary Millwood shared the seeds with a number of gardeners through Garden Web and Tomatoville tomato forums, and he also sent seeds to Craig LeHouiller (NC LE C) and Merlyn Niedens, a master grower for several seed companies.
  • Merlyn Niedens grew it in 2006 for Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (Baker Creek), who listed it in their 2007 seed catalog.
  • Seeds are available at SESE, who offers it as a pink tomato. Baker Creek offered it in 2007 and listed in red section. There have been a few discussions on the web about the fruit color of this tomato. All 4 listings in the 2007 SSE Yearbook list it as red. Craig LeHoullier believes that it is indeed a pink variety, and the confusion is mostly about tomato color naming terminology. Granny Cantrell has clear skin over a red interior, which should be designated as Pink. There are numerous mis-classifications of pink and red tomatoes in seed catalogs and the SSE yearbook.

This is what Gary Millwood says about this tomato:

"...The winter of 2000 I decided I would limit my gardening to growing mostly heirloom tomatoes due to my health. Not too long after this I attended the funeral of a dear friend who had grown up in Eastern Kentucky. There I met Jerry Cantrell, the new Director at Bellewood Home. He had heard that I was interested in growing tomatoes and mentioned that his Mama, Lettie, of West Liberty, Kentucky, had a tomato that I might enjoy growing. She sent me seed and I loved it so much I have been growing it ever since; I have shared seed with folks around the world. Lettie died in 2005 at the age of 96; "Granny Cantrell's German tomato is the only tomato she ever grew. Baker Creek and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange list it in their 2007 catalog.
Granny Cantrell's German Tomato: 69-80 days. Indeterminate, Kentucky Family Heirloom. The only tomato grown by Lettie Cantrell of West Liberty since the '40s. Large, one pound plus, tasty fruit on large, regular-leaf plants. Vines can be a bit wispy. Delicious for fresh eating, slicing, or canning. Lettie died in November 2005, at the age of 96. A top "10" in taste with the Cincinnati Heirloom Open Pollinated Tomato Associate Growers. Won "Best In Taste" Baker Creek Fall Festival 2006. Merlyn Niedens grew it last year to share with Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Baker Creek for their 2007 seed catalog."

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