Thursday, July 17, 2014

Heirloom Tomato Love

The following post is reposted from The Sustainable Food Center, in Austin Texas.  Please visit this wonderful site/blog as it is a wealth of information about food:  growing it and preparing it!
I adore heirloom tomatoes and get excited when I start to see them in the local farmer's market and at our beloved Central Market store.  They are what tomatoes are "supposed" to taste like.
I grew up in the midwest with a garden in my back yard that always had a bountiful supply of tomatoes, among other things, all summer long.  I didn't realize that a lot of people didn't grow vegetables and eat fresh things until I got a bit older.  How sad!
When I saw the photograph contained in this article I just had to share.  A follow-up to this post will be information on how to save the heirloom tomato seeds.

What's so special about heirloom tomatoes? In a world where flavor and color are sacrificed for uniform, homogenous tomatoes bred for their ability to withstand the rigors of long-distance shipping, locally-grown, proudly diverse, and shockingly flavorful tomatoes are a precious rarity. And they're worth the wait. We are willing to forgo fresh tomatoes (often sad, forgettable rounds of pale pink on a sandwich or in a salad) all year for the pleasures of a sun-ripened, carefully-tended real tomato, either tart or a little sweet, dripping with juice and full of character and complexity. Farmers have their favorite varieties, and they'll tell you all about them. Here's a list of some of our favorites we've spied recently at SFC Farmers' Markets--now is the time to visit, try them all, and choose your favorites!
  • Black Krim - Dark reddish-purple, juicy heirloom tomato from the Black Sea area in Russia. Tangy, rich, and sweet. 
  • Brandywine - A big, beefsteak, "pink" tomato, dating back to 1885, Brandywines are fantastically sweet with a mild acidity. 
  • Cherokee Purple - An old Cherokee heirloom with a deep, dusky red hue; sweet, dense, and juicy.
  • Green Zebra - Bright chartreuese with darker green stripes, these tomatoes are rich and sweet with a tangy zing.
  • San Marzano - An Italian heirloom, first grown in the volcanic soils under Mt. Vesuvius, San Marzanos are a "paste" tomato, best for making sauce. 
  • Sungold - Actually a hybrid and not an heirloom, we included them here because their thin skins mean you probably won't find them in the grocery store--and because we love them so. These small, bright tangerine-colored cherry tomatoes are explosively sweet and flavorful--we guarantee you can't eat just one! 

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