I brought a few heirloom tomatoes out to sell at the Downtown Street Fair Farmer’s Market, this week. I even made a sign that said, “Heirloom Tomatoes – They may not look as pretty or as uniform as the ones you find in the supermarket, but the taste is incomparable!”
Well, people stared and made funny faces at the poor, little things, as they headed off to purchase the “perfectly round and pretty-looking ones” from another vendor; I even had one woman tell me that her grandma used to call them “The Ugly Tomatoes”.
Well, just because they may be a little cracked, mottled, misshapen, and – yes – even a little ugly, it doesn’t mean they’re second rate, or aren’t worthy of being purchased!
Maybe heirlooms aren’t grown, or known for their beauty, but what they lack in appearance, they more than make up for in taste! Some of the flavors, according to my Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Catalog (and I concur), that are produced from heirlooms, are: sweet, tart, fruity, tropical, zingy, salty, rich, wine-like, spicy, earthy, intense, and complex.
Some of my favorite varieties are: Hawaiian Pineapple, Chocolate Cherry, Black Krim, Mortgage Lifter, Tess’ Land Race Currant, Morning Sun, Costoluto Genovese, and Amazon Chocolate. Now, where else but with heirloom tomatoes will you find names like these???
Just as there are some babies that have a face that “only a mother could love”, there are heirloom tomatoes that have a look that only a grower could love. It’s absolutely true.
But, I think that everyone needs to give them a try. One taste, and I know you’ll fall in love with this historically beautiful – yes, I said it – fruit!
Then, the next time you’re at a Farmer’s Market, don’t shy away from the cracked, mottled, and misshapen heirloom tomatoes. Adore them, like the grower does, and buy some, because they are, after all, one of the most fabulous tasting foods in the universe!
What do you think? Would you take one of these funny-looking heirlooms home with you from a Farmer’s Market? Does the appearance of produce matter to you, or do you go for taste?