• Vine Ripe Tomatoes

Vine Ripe Tomatoes

Slightly acidic, slightly sweet – thick, meaty and perfect for slicing – it’s Vine Ripe Tomato time! Tomatoes that TASTE like… like, well, Tomatoes. What a concept! Why is it that Tomatoes are often more flavorful at your favorite supermarket, produce market or stand during the height of summer? Two things: Vine Ripening. Great Varieties.

Here’s the deal. Tomatoes soften as they ripen and the longer growers leave them on the vine to become ripe, the less time they have to ship them to stores and the less time stores have to sell them without many of the Tomatoes going bad. So during most of the year a large percentage of Tomatoes are picked at maturity, but are still green and hard to allow for long shelf life needed to over-come shipping time and distance. Those are technically referred to as “Mature Greens” even though the product is sometimes sold as “Vine Ripe” once the fruit ages and colors up to close to red. Time, warmth and ethylene gas ripen the Mature Greens to a dark pink to red color, but the fruit is still firm and lacks flavor.

True Vine Ripened Tomatoes grown outside in rich soil fields, on the other hand, are picked from the vine when the Tomato is almost light red in color and quickly turn dark red. Vine Ripes are delicate and have shorter shelf life, but man, is the flavor worth it! And for even bigger, bolder flavors try Heirloom Tomatoes this August.

Optional Tomato Sandwich Bling: Cheese – Cheddar or Cooper Sharp are winners; and Dijon Mustard for the other piece of bread not covered with Mayonnaise

Vine Ripe Tomato Tips

  • Do Not Refrigerate Your Tomatoes (unless you’ve sliced them) because temperatures under the mid-50s can make for poor texture and blunt the flavor. Room temperature, like on your counter out of direct sunlight, seems to work best.
  • Select Vine Ripe Tomatoes with a vibrant red color that are free from wrinkling, black spotting, water blisters (translucent area of skin) or unhealed splits. Scars, healed splits or leaf stains on the skin will not impact your eating experience.  The fruit can feel lightly firm to lightly soft, but avoid spongy feeling tomatoes.

Anatomy of a Summer Tomato Sandwich

  1. Thick slices of Vine Ripe Red Tomatoes or Heirloom Tomatoes (slicer varieties)
  2. Salt and Pepper
  3. More Mayonnaise than you would normal slather on a sandwich
  4. Bread. (Soft Potato Rolls or Thick-cut Toasted Bread are my favorites)

*Optional Tomato Sandwich Bling: Cheese – Cheddar or Cooper Sharp are winners; and Dijon Mustard for the other piece of bread not covered with Mayonnaise

Our Own Vine Ripe Tomato Recipes


Mexican-style Street Corn Salad with Tomatoes