Organic Heirloom Tomatoes
It’s all about flavor and legacy with Heirlooms. Organic Heirloom Tomatoes season is for people that 1) want their Tomatoes that taste like something memorable, 2) care about where the seeds came from and 3) care how the plants are grown. Heirlooms are perfect chopped for homemade fresh salsa or sliced for a Caprese salad. I often enjoy them simply with a dash of coarse salt and cracked pepper, or sliced thick for a sandwich.
What exactly are Heirloom Tomatoes?
Most modern, round Tomatoes have been hybrid-bred for consistency of size, shape, color, shelf-life and firmness – all so that they can safely make it through the supermarket supply channel and into your kitchen without getting soft or going bad. Heirlooms, on the other hand, are old and diverse varieties that have been around since WWII. Some have been passed down over the years by a family and others were created through natural cross-pollinations, still others were commercially produced by a seed company or university ag program over 75 years ago. With Heirloom varieties you can take seeds from this year’s fruit and plant it year after year and get the exact same tomato plant. Each Heirloom variety has its own special taste, texture, shape, size and color characteristics that make them unique and wonderful in their own way.
Heirlooms are perfect chopped for homemade fresh salsa or sliced for a Caprese salad. I often enjoy them simply with a dash of coarse salt and cracked pepper, or sliced thick for a sandwich.
“Wait, these Tomatoes feel SOFT!”
Organic Heirloom Tomatoes are soft to begin with – you should expect them to have a little give. Since they are not hybridized for shelf-life or firmness, do not expect a long shelf-life. Use them quickly. Refrigerating Heirloom Tomatoes will only make them softer. Oh, and they’re ugly by most normal standards, …but the flavor, whether sweet, earthy, bold, tangy or bold – is always beautiful! Since Heirlooms are not bred for maximum production or disease resistance – yields are typically smaller and they cost more to grow. That is why you can expect to pay more at the register. What is flavor, farming and philosophy worth to you?
What do they taste like?
There is a broad range of flavors when it comes to Heirloom Tomatoes and that is a great thing! In my experience, the following color categories have some flavor similarities, but this is by no means a definitive guide. Explore and discover for yourself!
- Reds: rich tomato taste, sweet with noticeable acidity, “Beefstake” often in the name
- Pinks: pronounced acidity, full throttle tangy garden tomato taste, “German” often in the name
- Yellows: sweeter flavor than most red varieties, often less acidic
- Browns: bold, earthy and intense flavors, “Black,” “Purple” or “Russian” often in the name
- Striped: range from bitter to sweet depending on the variety or how ripe the fruit is when picked
What makes an Heirloom Tomato and heirloom? What do the various types of Heirloom Tomatoes taste like? Jon tackles these questions and does a taste test for peak season (August), high flavor, Heirloom Tomatoes.
Our Own Heirloom Tomato Recipes