Tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes, and the heirloom varieties are some of the most beautiful and strange looking! They also have the best flavor and are often enjoyed raw drizzled with olive oil and salt, some people just eat them like an apple! Tomatoes are best ripe and in season and our heirloom tomatoes are not exception. Cook them gently or serve raw for best flavor. We grow a huge variety of tomatoes on the farm including heirloom varieties, beefsteak slicers and:
Cherokee Purple: Medium sized deep red-purple fruits, sweet and slightly tart. This variety was originally from Tennessee and is said to have originated from the Cherokee Indians.
Striped German: We won a Giant Tomato contest with this variety the year our farm began. But the fruits are so much more that large. Orange, yellow and red starburst color that looks reminiscent of a tie-died tee-shirt from the sixties greets you when they are cut into – and the flavor is very sweet and juicy.
Amish Paste: A very large Oxheart variety (oxheart varieties are in the Roma family but are larger and heart shaped). Most Roma and paste tomatoes have very little flavor but are low on liquid so are good for cooking. This Amish heirloom variety is an exception it has a very rich sweet flavor and is superb for fresh use, while still maintaining a low liquid content making it great for cooking as well.
Abu Rawan: Another variety contributed to the tomato world by our friend, expatriate Iraqi seed collector Nael Aziz. He stated that it is a bit unusual for an Iraqi type, because in Iraq the people tend to favor tart tomatoes, while this one is sweeter. Having solid, all-purpose flesh, it will take the heat, like Iraqi types generally. Named for the onetime caretaker of the greenhouses at the Agricultural College at Al Ghraib. Maintained in cultivation in private gardens there since the 1970's.
Bonny Best: The famous old canning tomato that was selected out of Chalk's Early Jewel by one George W. Middleton and introduced in 1908 by Walter P. Stokes seed house. It became one of the most respected canning varieties in America in the first half of the twentieth century. Medium-sized fruit are round, red, meaty and loaded with flavor. A good producer that makes a fine slicer too. Becoming hard to find due to modern, flavorless hybrids
Store tomatoes at room temperature for best flavor, and use within a few days. To freeze tomatoes for later use, cut an X on the bottom and dunk in boiling water for about a minute, the skin will slip right off. Freeze whole or diced.
Rinse in cool water and remove core. Serve with slices of fresh mozzarella, basil, and olive oil for a traditional caprese salad. Eat thick slices sprinkled with sea salt for a snack, add to sandwiches, use for salsa, or just eat like an apple. Cook lightly to add to pastas and gratins.