The Mortgage Lifter tomato was developed in the early 1930’s in Logan, West Virginia by a radiator repairman, M.C. “Radiator Charlie” Byles. Without any experience in breeding, he made a successful cross of four of the largest tomatoes he could find – German Johnson, Beefsteak, an Italian variety, and an English variety. Radiator Charlie sold the first seedlings of his new tomato in the 1940’s for one dollar each to customers who drove up to 200 miles for his famous plants that bore tasty tomatoes averaging two and a half pounds. With these sales, Charlie managed to pay off his $6,000 mortgage in only six years, and so the tomato was named Mortgage Lifter.
This large, meaty, mild-flavored tomato has few seeds and is the perfect tomato-sandwich tomato. Indeterminate plants bear pinkish-red, two and a half to four pound tomatoes all summer long. The Mortgage Lifter should be started indoors six to eight weeks before the last spring frost. Sow one-quarter inch deep in flats or pots, keeping the soil mix moist, not soggy. When several leaves have developed, harden off seedlings and transplant eighteen to thirty-six inches apart in the garden. Full sun.