All tomatoes have stories. They come from all corners of the world, bringing new riches to different cultures around the globe. They are saved, rescued, cultivated, hybridized, lost and found. They’re sliced, chopped, blended, boiled, fried, stirred and canned. They’ve been thrown at poor actors and eaten by kings. They’re Italian, Spanish, Argentinian, Thai, Mexican, Greek, Russian and French. They were born in 1600 and they’re being created today.
During tomato season, we get to sample the world by growing rare tomato varieties from Siberia to England. We get to taste the richness of the histories that each and every variety carries with it, whether it’s ages old or a contemporary hybrid.
And July’s hot weather has brought us the early-bird tomatoes, gifting us with a taste of the season that’s just around the corner.
Come early August, it will be organic tomato galore at the farm. But for now, a taste of my favorites.
Heirlooms are prized for their intrigue and sublime taste. Open-pollinated (non-hybrid) heirlooms often have intriguing histories of being saved by great seedswomen, passed down within families or discovered by world travelers.
My favorite heirloom in our field this year is Kalman’s Hungarian Pink.
Originally from Europe, this prized heirloom gets its name from Kalman Lajvort of Edison, New Jersey, who imported the Hungarian fruit. The abundant plant bears wonderful, juicy tomatoes that are perfect for slicing. Divine fresh off the vine, the meaty Kalman’s Hungarian has few seeds and great flavor. Balancing gracefully between sweet and acidic, this perfect slicer will find itself in my tomato-cucumber salads all summer long.
They’re purple when they’re green.
Indigo tomatoes find themselves at home here at the farm, as we just can’t get enough of these tasty beauties. Bigger than most cherry tomatoes, yet smaller than most heirlooms, Indigo tomatoes have a special something.
They first appear on the vine with a deep indigo color, turning red-, gold-, blue- or pink-ish as they mature. The Indigo Series offers many varieties of antioxidant-rich fruits. My favorite this year: Indigo Gold Berries.
These sweet and tangy tomatoes start begin amethyst purple and ripen to a glowing golden color with a hint of purple remaining at their tops. Their small size, round shape and sweet tang make Indigo Gold Berries delightful in salads and on pizzas and pastas.
Tiny droplets of goodness. It’s tough to choose between cherry tomatoes when so many incredible and unique varieties light up the rows with color. When droplets of sun-kissed yellows and pinks fall off their leafy green backdrops into your hands, how can you begin to to rank them?
A cherry. One of my favorites – It’s called Blush.
Two inches long and shaped like a long grape, Blush starts out clear yellow in color, but then blushes pink streaks with ripeness. This prolific plant bears candy-sweet fruits all season. Their refreshing flavor makes them irresistible off the vine. Developed by Fred Hempel of Baia Nicchia Farm in California, Blush is one of those garden treats that might not make it all the way to the kitchen.
The word of tomatoes is a vast and delicious one, so fill your hot summer months with the rich diversity of tomato varieties.
Find wholesale quantities of these varieties and many more beginning in August at Sage Creations Organic Farm.