Heirloom tomatoes

heirloom tomatoes

General Information

The tomato genus originated in the South American Andes, with evidence suggesting the tomato was domesticated in Mexico. In the 17th century, the tomato was introduced from Europe to Asia and later to the United States, Africa, and the Middle East.  Tomatoes were grown as decorative plants in Europe for several centuries before Europeans tried to eat the round red fruits.  The tomato is one of the most important vegetables throughout the world.  The edible, fleshy tomato fruit is consumed fresh in salads, cooked in sauces, and flavors soups and meat or fish dishes. Processed forms such as puree, juice, ketchup, and canned tomatoes are widely used as well.

Heirloom tomatoes are particularly prized for their flavor and their historical interest.  There are hundreds of varietals of heirloom tomatoes.  Our farmers are growing varieties like Brandywines, Green Zebras, Cherokee Purple, Moskovich, Black Krim and more.  The word heirloom indicates that the variety of tomato is open-pollinated and originated before 1940.  Heirlooms also cannot be hybrid tomatoes, meaning plants which are cross-pollinated to try to encourage or breed for specific traits, such as disease resistance or longer shelf life.  Since heirloom tomatoes are not cross-pollinated, they are often far more delicate fruits.  They blemish and spoil far more easily than their hybrid counterparts, but their flavor just cannot be beat!  So be gentle with your lovely heirlooms and eat them quickly once you pick up your share.

Health Benefits

Heirloom tomatoes contain lycopene, one of the most powerful natural antioxidants. Lycopene has also been shown to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Lycopene may also help relieve the oxidative stress of people who already have diabetes.

Storing & Cooking Information

Handling: To eat raw, remove stem, wash, and slice.

Storing: Tomatoes will last up to 1 week stored at room temperature and longer if still ripening. Not fully ripe tomatoes will continue to ripen at 60-75 degrees out of the sun.  Do not store whole tomatoes in the refrigerator- only use the fridge to store tomatoes once they have been cut.

Freezing: Do not blanch tomatoes.  Wash and cut up into sizes desired for casseroles or soups.  Also, cook down tomatoes and put through sieve to use as puree.  Leave ½ inch headroom.  Seal and freeze. Not recommended for fresh salad use since the flesh is ruptured by ice crystals and makes deflated mush when defrosted.

Grown By