'Piennolo d'Ischia' Tomato
Origin: Ischia, Italy
Improvement status: Cultivar
Seeds per packet: ~30
Germination tested 1/2022: 88%
Life cycle: Annual
Hailing from the Italian island of Ischia near Naples, this rare pantry-type tomato is known locally both for its ability to be dry-farmed and also to be harvested on the vine and hung for later use in the kitchen over the following months. "Piennolo” actually means “hanging” in Neopolitan dialect. In English, we sometimes call such tomatoes "winter tomatoes."
Growing tomatoes without supplemental irrigation is growing in popularity because it can increase the flavor of the fruits, reduce disease impacts on the plants, and tax the planet less. Under such dry-farming conditions, this tomato has been a top performer in Chris Homanics’ trials. Coupled with overall good disease resistance, including moderate late blight resistance, this is a great replacement for the famed paste tomato 'Principe Borghese' — which it easily outperforms.
An excellent tomato for the kitchen, its mildly sweet fruit possesses a wonderfully smooth meaty texture, coupled with a rich classic tomato flavor which make some of the best savory tomato sauces, chili, stews, pizza sauce, and more. In climates with a dry fall and low incidence of late blight, plants can be pulled and hung indoors to extend the harvest as the season turns cooler and wetter. In shorter season climates, pick tomatoes when ripe or near ripe and store indoors on trays one layer thick. Either way, keep free of insects and fruit flies. (One way to do this is to use a fan to blow air across the fruit to keep fruit flies from bothering them.)
These seeds are the result of several cycles of selection by Chris Homanics in Washington state of Head, Hands, Heart Nursery and Seed. Significant selection has been made for disease resistances including late blight and for storability. The original seed was from Chris's friend Emanuele Mangani whose family had grown this tomato in Italy for some time. These seeds were produced with no supplemental irrigation.