Well, it’s about time I did a post about the seasons’ star. Heirloom tomatoes are a hit nation wide and they have been for some years. The proof is in the pudding. Growing and selling tomato seedlings early in the season has become a great source of income for many farmers, including myself. Every year more people decide they want to grow heirloom tomatoes in their homes and it seems that every year the folks who have been growing them just want to grow more! I completely understand the craze. For one thing, the plants themselves are vigorous and lush, adding to the beauty of any garden. And then there are the fruits. Oh my…! Their colors are so rich and saturated. They hang on the vines like jewels (to a farmer they literally are jewels). They exude that classic, almost intangible, tomato smell. They are heavy with juicy flavor. I can go on for ever!
“Stripped German” is one of my favorite varieties for obvious reasons. Although the flavor isn’t very deep and complex, this tomato makes up for it with it’s looks and size. The red streaks, which start at the base and fade out towards the top, are mirrored in the flesh of the tomato so that when you cut one of these open, the flesh is golden yellow with bleeding red streaks.
This year was my first time growing the variety “Florida Pink”. It’s fruit are impressive; very large with a nice color and good flavor. The vines are some of the tallest in the garden with strong stems and foliage, but it hasn’t produced many fruits compared with almost every other variety.
The big tomatoes are amazing, but a pint of mixed colors, shapes and sizes is where the money’s at! The CSA has been getting a pint of mixed tomatoes for 3 weeks straight and I think they are loving it. These pints are also a hit at the farmers’ market. I’ve been making beautiful rainbow pizzas in the wood burning oven with green, yellow, pink, purple and red tomatoes! I need to get a good photo of one of those and add it to the blog… soon enough.
If you’ve never tried the difference between a regular store bought tomato and a truly vine-ripened heirloom tomato, please do so asap. The difference is huge. In fact, I don’t see the point in even eating a “regular” tomato, especially since it’s not good to eat many tomatoes anyway. I’ve learned to savor and enjoy tomatoes sparingly so when I do have one I appreciate the best quality I can find, which happens to be in my garden this time of year!