Read Related: Heirloom Tomato Bloody Mary Shrimp SalsaHEIRLOOM VS. HYBRID Hybrid tomatoes have been designed and modified in a way that requires the gardener to buy the seeds from a seed company, thus making the company’s time in selecting for beauty, taste, shelf life, etc. profitable. Think the tomatoes in the grocery store: uniform, predictable, modified over time and in controlled environments to prevent pollen from one tomato plant from interacting with a different type of tomato plant. Large greenhouses, scientists in white lab coats, clipboards, DNA strands. Heirloom tomatoes are the hippy cousins who live outside Woodstock in a tree house recycling rain water. Or maybe a better description is that they are the seeds your Great Aunt Lupe saved during The Great Depression and passed down year after year in a tattered envelope hand-scrawled with names like Green Zebra and Amazon Chocolate.
Heirloom tomatoes are spilling out of baskets at farmer’s markets and grocery stores around the country. Once considered poisonous by Europeans, tomatoes are now a year-round staple of international cuisines. If you’ve got a pot and a sunny spot in your yard, apartment, or on the fire escape or stoop, tomatoes are easy, kid-friendly plants to grow yourself. In August and September, the farmers market sells a rainbow of bumpy, technicolor tomatoes, no potting soil required! Buy up a few heirlooms and cut in. Be prepared to be blown away by the intensity of the “tomato-ness” that the heirloom flavors provide.