Market Watch: The Beauty of Heirloom Tomatoes

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Photo by: kasto80/Getty Images

kasto80/Getty Images

It’s peak tomato season at the local farmers market and the best time to explore heirloom varieties in all their imperfect glory.

Defining Heirloom

Heirloom tomatoes are grown from a long lineage of seeds, passed down from previous generations. Each variety is completely unique, leading to tomatoes in a wide variety of colors, shapes and flavors. Because their yield and growing patterns are less reliable than traditional tomatoes, you will most often find these treasures from local sources (such as farm stands and farmers markets) instead of at the grocery store.

As with all tomatoes, they are best enjoyed at room temperature, kept out of the fridge to avoid less than desirable changes in flavor and texture.

Heirloom Varieties

Green Zebra: It’s easy to see where this tomato gets its name. At full ripeness, both the skin and inner flesh are a vibrant green color.

Lemon Boy: Just the sight of this nearly neon-colored tomato elicits a smile. One taste and you’ll be totally hooked by the tangy and juicy sweetness.

Pink Tiger and Blush: Heirlooms are also found in smaller varieties. These tender-skinned oblong tomatoes feature faint horizontal stripes.

Black Cherry: This is another smaller variety. The tomatoes have slightly more acid, but they’re still pleasantly sweet with that one-of-a-kind, burst-in-your-mouth texture.

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Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

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