Heirloom Wonders

What’s up with the funny looking tomatoes being sold at the market? Why do they come in such funny shapes and sizes and in such an interesting variety of colors? Is there something wrong with these tomatoes because they aren’t perfectly polished, red and round? Are they okay to eat with their bulges, blemishes and cracks?
Just what kind of tomatoes are these? One simple word says it all: heirloom. The seeds of these tomatoes have been passed down for generations and generations – and lucky for us there is a voluminous variety of these unique fruits! Heirloom seeds have not been changed or altered in any way and the fruit they bear retains the same great flavor that they have had for years and years.

These tomatoes bear lovely and unique names – often coined for the region they are from, their coloring or a person known for saving their seeds: Blaby Special (from Blaby, England), Green Zebra, Purple Cherokee and Lillian’s Yellow. The unique varieties both above and at right come from Hillside Farm and Selene Coop.

The unusual shapes and colors are often indicators of distinct flavors. These seeds were passed down for generations for a reason: taste!  A tomato you might find in a supermarket was bred for a round uniform size and shape (easy for packing) and the ability to travel long distances in trucks and ripen off the vine.

So be adventurous and discover the richness and beauty of the heirloom varieties being offered at the market. These tasty tomatos do have a greater tendency to ripen unevenly or crack, so just cut around any spots; rest assured the majority of the fruit will be delicious.

As always, ENJOY!

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