Tomato Mortgage Lifter

A beefsteak heritage/open pollinated tomato with many different cultivars all of which are indeterminate.


Mortgage Lifter is a very successful pink beefsteak tomato with a light flavour. A mid-ripening, indeterminate, regular-leafed, medium-large, red/pink tomato.

The are at least 15 different cultivars all bearing the Mortgage Lifter title. (Mortgage Lifter, Mortgage Lifter Halladay’s, Mortgage Lifter Radiator Charlie’s, Mortgage Lifter Mullen’s, Mortgage Lifter Quisenberry’s, Mortgage Lifter Riegers, Mortgage Lifter Carter’s, Mortgage Lifter Pesta, Mortgage Lifter Cartwright’s, Red and Yellow Mortgage Lifter, Mortgage Lifter Yellow, Mortgage Lifter Watson’s, Mortgage Lifter O’Driscoll’s, Mortgage Lifter,German, Mortgage Lifter McGarity’s.

The most well known of these is Radiator Charlie’s which gets its name from the fact that Radiator Charlie, who developed it in the 1930s was able to pay down his mortgage with the profits he made from selling the original plants.

However, Mortgage Lifter Estler’s, has existed since around 1922 coming from the Estler family in Barboursville, West Virginia. In addition, seed was sent to Australia around the 1930’s so an additional thread of the name comes from there.

It can grow many different shapes of fruit as the blossoms can be deformed. The deformation (catfacing) is caused by the fact that they need reasonably high temperatures to set the fruit properly. When its not warm enough, the fruit sets imperfectly. Don’t worry it doesn’t affect the flavour.

Mortgage Lifter don’t keep well so pick as soon as they are ripe or they can get mushy.

In 2012 Mortgage Lifter (Radiator Charlie’s) was the single plant with the largest overall crop and suffered from catfacing less than many other beefsteak varieties.

However, when we grew both Radiator Charlies and Estler’s in 2014, Estler’s outperformed Radiator Charlie. Its hard to know which to go as they both taste good.

Quick Facts

  • Fruit Type: Beefsteak
  • Fruit Shape: Round/Flat
  • Fruit Size: 4-8 inches
  • Fruit Colour: Red/Pink
  • Flesh Colour: Red/Pink
  • Plant Type: Indeterminate
  • Seed Type: Heritage
  • Leaf Type: Regular
  • Time to Ripe: Mid (70-80 Days)
  • Taste: Sweet
  • Fruit per Truss: 6-10
  • Truss Spacing: 15-18 inches
  • Alternatives: Brandywine
  • Our Source: Nicky’s Seeds, Heritage Harvested Seeds

Buy Your Seeds Here

Prices given are for a packet of seeds (and may be wrong) different suppliers have different numbers of seeds in a packet.

Buy Your Plants Here

Prices may be wrong and will be for different numbers of different sized plants.

    Updated: 08/01/2024


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