Traveler 76, open-pollinated
globe-shaped, meaty, dark pink, crack-free tomatoes weigh at least 6
ounces, have a great flavor, and are heat and drought resistant.
Indeterminate. I think it may be the
best tasting pink. While not as large as Brandywine, the slices are large
enough to cover a bun, Traveler 76's are also much earlier and more
dependably productive than the fickle Brandywine. Brandywine does
have something Traveler 76 lacks, though: a large fan club and media hype.
It's hard to find sources for Traveler 76 while Brandywine is in
every seed catalogue.
Bradley County Arkansas, located in the piney woods of the West Gulf Coastal Plain south of Little Rock, became known nationally for its Bradley Pink tomatoes which earned the reputation as "Arkansas's gift to the nation." The acclaimed Pinks of Bradley County grown the first half of the 20th Century were descendents from a plant first discovered in 1917 by Walter Richards of Crystal Springs MS growing among his Early Detroit tomato plants. D. M. Ferry & Company named the discovery Gulf State Market and sold the seeds to backyard and market gardeners. .
Dr. Julian C. Miller Of the Baton Rouge Ag. Experimental Station developed a highly refined selection of Gulf State Market tomato he named Louisiana Gulf State that was offered for sell to consumers by Reuter Seed Co. in 1936. Further progress was made in 1961 by U. of Arkansas' Joe McFerran who crossed Gulf State with a wilt resistant cultivar, Pinkshipper, to produce a quality table tomato he named Bradley. After even more selecting and hybridizing with the Gulf State Market line, McFerran released Traveler in 1971, and a few years laterTraveler 76.
Unfortunately in the 1980's many Bradley farmers switched to recent University releases of more productive and reliable red cultivars. Also, to meet the new demands set by the large chain-store supermarkets that were quickly replacing 'mom & pops', most tomato farms in Bradley county had to enlarged to over 20 acres, mechanize cultivation, and employ migrant labor to harvest the crop.
While rarely grown now for commercial shipping, Bradley Co. Pink tomatoes can still be found in backyard gardens, at local farmer's markets and nearby roadside-stands, and they continue to be celebrated each June at the Bradley County Tomato Festival in Warren.