A basket full of history...
Scientifically it's a fruit, but as a commodity it's a vegetable. The very fact there is such a debate illustrates the versatility of this amazing garden gem. Today's field trip took us to the garden of heirloom tomato aficionado/fanatic Bill Yoder, a man whose knowledge of tomatoes borders on the encyclopedic. Bill and his family grow about 250 varieties of historic heirloom varieties and are part of an international seed exchange program that ensures the future of these seldom seen tomato breeds. While many of these varieties were once hugely popular and readily available in seed catalogs, they didn't quite make the cut when it comes to either ship-ability or long-term storage and are therefore rarely seen in mass markets.
Intense, bite-sized tomatoes
There is really no comparison between these vibrant, sweet, acidic heirlooms and their over-bred, often gassed, industrial counterparts. And nothing rivals a thick-sliced tomato sandwich lathered with thick mayonnaise and a slice of Vidalia onion. 'tis the season for tomatoes, so hit your local farmer's market and see if you can find someone growing some heirloom varieties.
We're growing a handful of plants in our backyard, most of which are pithy thanks to this year's shy supply of rain. We do have one "self-watering" container that has produced an amazing crop of these odd little, yellow-shouldered roma tomatoes. They're extremely firm, but full of flavor. We had about 12 of them turn ripe today and we'll need to eat them before the fruit flies in the neighborhood find out about them. Our fruit flies have good taste in tomatoes.