I think it safe to say that most of us love home grown tomatoes in the summer, or tomatoes grown locally and sold at a farmers’ market. Do you know that the heirloom tomatoes, usually the non-red non-perfectly round tomatoes, are often the tastiest?
Check out that tomato from our garden! It's huge. I'm working on my photography skills, but it's bigger than my hand. It's a yellow brandywine and one of the best tomatoes I've ever eaten.
It took a while for my 4 tomato plants to take off this summer. I’ve had some ups and downs with tomatoes over the past 4 years, but I’ve come to appreciate my beautiful, eclectic heirloom tomato plants.
Earlier this summer, everyone I know who grows tomatoes was bragging about how well their tomatoes were doing, talking about how many they had, and offering me their extras. And I have to admit, I was quite jealous! My husband and I (well, mostly my husband) spent hours and hours preparing my Square Foot Garden, and my tomatoes seemed to be taking forever to come in. Then, when they finally got blooms, the blooms fell off before producing any fruit. I read online that it may have been too hot and the bees weren't pollinating the flowers. Maybe, but why did everyone else have tomatoes?! Just as I was getting really frustrated with my plants, my family and I came back from a short vacation and I came home to these!!
I love that my tomatoes (and that’s part of a lemon cucumber on the right) look like misfits. They’re diverse, delicious, and I love them. It was then that I realized that I have chosen to grow organic heirloom tomatoes, and they tend to be a bit more finicky than your traditional (perfectly red and round) tomato, and that’s okay. I love how they taste and I love how they amaze my 2 and 4 year old children enough that they want to eat them!
Heirloom tomatoes seeds (and other heirloom seeds) have never been genetically altered for looks, disease resistance, growth speed, or long travel. They may be misshapen, brown, purple, yellow, orange, or red, but they almost always taste better. They have been around for generations and the seeds have been passed down from gardener to gardener.
The next time you're at a farmers' market, don't be afraid to try one of the crazy-looking tomatoes - I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to eat these delicious, in season tomatoes:
- sliced on a plate
- in a simple salad with diced fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, a splash of olive oil and salt and pepper
- this is my all time favorite tomato recipe. When I eat it I can’t stop talking about how delicious it is! http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/scalloped-tomatoes-recipe/index.html
- another really yummy recipe from Giada: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/pasta-ponza-recipe/index.html
Tomato season will be over soon, so head to your local market and get yourself some heirlooms!