Velvet Red vs. Angora Super Sweet: Same Tomato or Different?


“Is Velvet Red the same variety as Angora Super Sweet? I have seen/read some sources that suggest they are one and the same, developed by Joe Bratka.

Kenneth”

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Velvet_RedPhoto courtesy of Rutgers University

Hi Kenneth,

Thank you for the email in regards to Velvet Red and Angora Super Sweet Tomato varieties.  As you may have noticed while researching online, there are some issues with Joe Bratka and some of his ‘varieties’ that he brought out.  Angora Super Sweet is one of these.  Back in the day, Joe was doing plant grow outs for Seed Savers Exchange and some commercial heirloom companies.  Apparently, Joe was renaming items to make more sales.  Velvet Red/Angora Super Sweet is one of these renaming.  Velvet Red came out on the market two years prior to Angora Super Sweet, but they are the exact same tomato.  Velvet Red is the name that it is supposed to be legally sold by, although some still list it (illegally) as Angora Super Sweet as the variety in their catalogs.

I hope this information helps you out.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.

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© Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk!, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Mertie Mae Botanics LLC and Horticulture Talk! with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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2 thoughts on “Velvet Red vs. Angora Super Sweet: Same Tomato or Different?

  1. I was wondering if you could help me again. I recently purchased some tomatoes from Totally Tomatoes and their customer service has sucked so far. Here are the emails that were bounced back and forth:

    ~~~~~~

    1. Original one by me sent April 2, 2013:

    I bought 6 packs of Velvet Red in Dec 11. It is AKA as Angora Super Sweet. The description is “An Angora-type, with fuzzy, silvery-gray, dusty miller-type foliage”. I’ve grown several of
    these thus far and they are not all true-to-type – only 62% (16 of 26) grown thus far are what is expected. This is extremely frustrating as we sell heirloom tomato plants in 4″ pots to many customers and this is not good for our heirloom tomato business.

    So what gives here!!!

    I’ve ordered many tomatoes from you not only this year but for several previous years as well. I am not a very happy camper right now.

    I have also grown Velvet Red from Seed Savers Exchange and Angora Super Sweet from Tomato Fest and the plants have always been true-to-type.

    ~~~~~~

    2. Response from Totally Tomatoes sent May 6, 2013 (over a month later):

    Thank You for your email.

    We have used the same lot for several years. Our supplier explains in their
    description that there is a possibility there could be off types included in
    the packaging.

    Customer Service

    ~~~~~~

    3. My Response to Totally Tomatoes sent May 6 2013:

    This is absolutely the wrong answer.

    Totally unacceptable !!!!

    You must sell a product “as advertized” on your website that will grow out true-to-type.

    As I mentioned in my e-mail below we have a small business selling heirloom tomato plants to customers and it is unacceptable to be growing your product (for customer sale) and the grow-outs are not true-to-type.

    First, your response should have offered some rectification solution – either monetary or seed replacement (that’s pure).

    Second, an acknowledgement that seed is not pure/true-to-type. A label on the package. A note on the bill or included with the order. Some kind of acknowledgement.

    Third, it shouldn’t have taken OVER A MONTH to get a response – this is not good customer relations.

    In light of your flippant non-response, I will never buy any other products from you again nor will I recommend Totally Tomatoes to all the network of growers I know and are associated with.

    ~~~~~~

    And so, now I ask you:

    You provided me a well-informed helpful response to a question I’d asked about Velvet Red and Angora Super Sweet several months ago back in Dec 11.

    I bought 6 packs of the Velvet Red this winter and grew some out for customer tomato plant sales (along with 23 other varieties we sell) as part of our small business called “[name removed by H.T. editor] Heirloom Tomatoes”.

    I was extremely disappointed that only about 60% of the plants were true-to-type (“An Angora-type, with fuzzy, silvery-gray, dusty miller-type foliage”). The initial two batches was 16 of 26 true-to-type and the last seeding was 7 of 12 – only 23 of 38 (61%) of the grow-outs were true-to-type.

    I’m extremely disappointed in the manner how this situation was handled – this is not good customer relations, especially a customer who has ordered dozens of products from Totally Tomatoes in the past.

    There are many sources and companies out there that I deal with and in the future they will get all my business. We have 2,500+ tomatoes in our collection and I will only deal with companies/individuals that take action to rectify a problem that has been pointed out to them.

    I apologize for venting, and I know that this is not your fault, but I am not a happy camper
    right now and would like to know how I can prevent this from happening in the future. I realize there are mindless drones that maybe work at every seed company so that is a given. But do you have any advice on where I could find a good, pure, true seed source for Velvet Red in the future?

    Thanks for listening!

    Ken

  2. Hi Ken,

    Sounds like you have had some running around. However, I am not surprised that to hear that you received that type of a response and I am sure you will not be the last. As a small business owner myself, it often amazes me how some of these companies can act like this and still be rolling in the dough… and not be getting shut down by the feds. But that is a vent of my own for another day…

    My guess is the problem here comes in with the seed source. If I were a betting woman, I would say there is about a 50% chance the seed came in this way to TT and a 50% chance it was mixed up in house.

    –If the seed came in this way, it was likely produced by Seeds by Design, Wild West Seeds, or Western Seeds. These three companies have been known to have some run-ins with Federal Seed Act regulations for selling seed that does not meet federal true-to-type regulations. It is public knowledge and I am in no way libeling or slandering these companies by saying this:

    http://www.docstoc.com/docs/68800065/Breach-of-Contract-Buyer-Seller-Complaint

    http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20120829/COMMUNITIES/308290014/Legal-battle-over-canola-Mid-Valley

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=21&cad=rja&ved=0CC0QFjAAOBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fionia.migenweb.net%2Fmeat%2Fsebewanews%2Fsebewaitems12.html&ei=0jmmUbjoF4nU9ASLrYHwBA&usg=AFQjCNGMzJuMzJViQrqAQUX_A9CEA2VDQg&sig2=9k2tE_pqRAMZIFIfs_K0ZA&bvm=bv.47008514,d.eWU

    –If the seed is indeed a lot that has been used for a long time and was originally pure, then the seed was mixed in house. If TT is following the rules, it should not have happened. However, if they are reusing unsold seed at the end of the year or not using a barcoding system to track seeds from entry to leaving the building, there are any number of ways human error could result in mixed seed. Assuming that there is no problem because there has never been one in the past is a very poor way to ensure the quality of the products they sell.

    The suppliers I recommend are Seed Savers Exchange and Baker Creek Seed. These are two companies that I really believe in. I have been on the inside at Seed Savers and hope to one day see the inside at Baker Creek, but can tell you that both are committed to quality. I would be astounded if they would respond to a situation like this as TT did.

    Also, as a seed purchaser, you have the right to report this as a violation of Federal Seed Act Rules. You can contact your state’s Department of Agriculture, AASCO (http://www.seedcontrol.org), the Wisconsin DATCP (http://datcp.wi.gov/Plants/Seed/index.aspx), or the USDA in Gastonia, North Carolina.

    DISCLAIMER: All information in this post is based of records of federal or state documents that have been released for public knowledge or were documented in the media. It is not my intention to libel or slander these companies by saying this things. I am merely repeating facts.

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