Enjoying A Tomato Heirloom
Springtime is a wonderful season, and it ushers in those beautiful weekends when we see colorful vegetables, fruits, and products from farmers. One regular sight along the east coast is beautiful ripe tomatoes. From red, orange, and green, just name it there are different varieties of tomatoes in different shapes and sizes.
The farmers' markets offer a great chance to get fresh produce. If you can't find your way to the farmers market, you can still get your hands on quality tomatoes at your local store. Although the tomatoes you would come across in the organic corner of your grocery store is different from what you would get at the farmers market, they can sometimes be suitable substitutes. The thing is most local farmers find it difficult to sustain supply to store chains that demand a year-round supply. The business of heirloom tomato has helped in navigating the challenge of demand and supply.
The Tomato story
Even though tomatoes have close ties to Italian kitchens, its birthplace is not in Europe. Through trough research, the origin of tomatoes has been traced to Peru and Southern Ecuador. As we've come to know in recent years, a good number of fruits, foods, and vegetables have a South American Heritage. As for how the tomato found its way to Europe, many believe it was the Spanish explorers who brought it home in one of their expeditions. Over time, tomatoes have been cultivated into a tastier derivative.
The Tomato Market
Whether it is due to the demands or preferences of shoppers, most grocery stores focus on a select few breeds of tomatoes. Over time, producers in a bid to boost yield, achieve uniform shapes and sizes, have resulted in crossing pollination. Tomatoes are picked before they ripen and are artificially ripened using ethylene gas. Although the product of this process is a better-looking tomato, the taste is not as you would have gotten if the tomato was allowed to ripen naturally.
The Heirloom Tomato
The tomato heirloom or heirloom tomato is a variety of tomato that has gone through the process of open pollination for more than 50 years. Another way to define heirloom tomato is any non-hybrid tomato. The major challenge with hybrid products is that although they have appealing characteristics, their seeds cannot produce. This is why the open pollination process for heirlooms is vital. Kudos to seed savers and gardeners who have worked relentlessly all over history to help preserve and propel heirloom tomatoes to its current status.
In the last few years, consumers have started seeing the benefits of tomato's heirloom roots. Even the best restaurants and top quality chefs are becoming more heirloom tomato friendly.