On May 11, 2012, JeremiahT from Brodhead, KY wrote:
The ancestral seeds of this pinkish-red beefsteak were reputedly discovered among Ohio River flood debris near Friendly, West Virginia, in 1884. I grew three of these last year, two of which succumbed to wilt. (I now think it likely that I inadvertently planted these where other nightshade family plants had been grown in recent years: let this be a reminder of the importance of good rotation practices.) The survivor, which resided on the opposite side of the garden, thrived and produced a good yield of large tomatoes. These were of fine texture and balanced flavor, and while they had the classic lobes and irregularities of the beefsteak, none was afflicted with unseemly deformities; cracking was minimal, perhaps a result of generous mulching, which is conducive to even moisture. These tomatoes were superb sandwich slicers---and were equally fit for eating "straight," with a dash of salt and cold glass of milk.
I'm devoting this year's garden space to other cultivars, but will likely try these again in the future.
On Aug 11, 2009, JustSow from NW Boston Metro, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:
This is the second year that I have grown this variety.
Plants are very vigorous with an extremely tall habit. Yields are very low in cool, wet conditions due to fussy fruit setting (conditions must be dry with temperatures at least in the mid-80s to avoid blossom drop, in my experience), but fruits that do develop can be giants. I have also found that 1884 is one of the most susceptible varieties to Early Blight that I have grown. Because of these factors, I would not recommend 1884 for unsheltered growing in Northern or wet climates.