Have you ever heard of the ‘Belle de Lorraine’ tomato, also known by its German name “Schöne von Lothringen”? Like the melon ‘De Lunéville’, or the bean ‘Coco de Meuse’, the tomato ‘Belle de Lorraine’ is an old regional variety from the east of France that has almost been forgotten!
Indeed, this old French variety of the early 20th century, despite its advantages, has almost disappeared: it is an early variety that produces fruits about 50-55 days after planting, very productive, with red fruits, of medium size (70 up to 150 grams) with fleshy and juicy fruits with a good taste, slightly sour.
The “best tomato variety” in France!
The oldest trace can be found in the catalogs of seed dealers from 1913-1914. Mentioned in the 1937 seed catalog of Alwin Hoebbel from Strasbourg, it was even considered “The best tomato of the moment”! During the first half of the 20th century, the ‘Belle de Lorraine’ tomato seems to have rapidly conquered several European countries, especially Germany under the name “Schöne von Lothringen” (it is present there in several catalogs between 1925 and 1939), in Italy in the Naples “Herbs” catalog from 1923 and a little later in 1940, it is also mentioned in a seed catalog in Latvia!
We will then lose any trace of this variety, no doubt the Second World War had something to do with it and the post-war trend to develop hybrid varieties prevailed in cultivation! If this old farmer variety has been able to make its return and proudly end up in our range, it is just as often thanks to amateur gardeners who have made it possible to keep this variety “alive” by faithfully planting the seeds of this variety every year. to harvest and grow. .
Be careful not to confuse this authentic regional variety with “La Belle Lorraine”, a trademark registered by a seed merchant to designate a hybrid variety! There is also a variety of heirloom tomato called ‘Beauty Lorraine’ (or ‘Beauty Lottringa’), according to some sources it is another name for ‘Belle de Lorraine’, but that is a mistake. It is actually a different breed not comparable in any way whose origin is uncertain, perhaps English or Russian according to our research.
As a landscape architect and geographer by training, I am passionate about the plant world and its countless curiosities. Founder of the Rexania blog and activist for gardening in harmony with nature, I am also an Alsatian gardener, ardent defender of ancient, free and reproducible varieties.