WHAT ARE HEIRLOOM TOMATOES?
When you think of a tomato, you are probably thinking of that conventional tomato that you find in any grocery store near you. It’s red, plump and although some might be shaped differently than others, they all taste pretty much the same! This can be said about canning tomatoes, but we will save that for another post. Here is why--these tomatoes are bred for quantity not quality. Their DNA has been manipulated to keep up with supply and demand. They are created to withstand their environment until they finally arrive in the hands of the consumer. These tomatoes are great for mass production and are pretty sturdy for the long run, but this comes at a serious cost--taste.
Taste, flavor and that uniquely powerful punch of savory goodness. Taste which heirloom tomatoes (also known as heritage tomatoes) are able to provide, whereas grocery bought tomatoes cannot. However, taste isn’t the only eye-popping quality to note of these fascinating tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes have a striking appearance that is both colorful and beautifully diverse. There are more than 3,000 varieties of heirloom tomatoes in active cultivation around the world, and more than 15,000 varieties worldwide. Some heirloom tomatoes are shaped like peppers, others are lumpy and huge. Their colors can also range from red, yellow, purple, pink, orange, green, white to so much more.
Another factor to keep in mind is that heirloom tomatoes are not genetically modified or produced in a laboratory. They are often pollinated naturally by the environment or by hand. Their seeds are also extracted and passed down each season, picked by the farmer based on their most desirable traits. These traits can range from appearance to taste.
Now, you’ve probably wondered, why don’t super markets try to mass produce heirloom tomatoes? These tomatoes seem like a real treat and should be available at as many markets as much as possible. Well, the answer to that question is that producing and preserving heirlooms is a real pain in the tomato. It is tough and honest work! Think of it this way - as odd as it may sound, imagine owning a water balloon farm and trying your best to preserve those water balloons….Hard isn’t it? Heirlooms are a delicacy, literally. Even if tiny droplets of rain get on them they start to scar. This additional care comes at an extra cost, which requires a higher price tag.
So why even go through all this trouble? It all circles back to taste. The heirloom is difficult to raise, but it is all so worth it! This is why Balakian Farms chooses to use only heirloom tomatoes in our Organic Blended Heirloom Tomatoes instead of canning or conventional tomatoes. The taste and nutrient value is radically different. We want to provide a tomato product that breaks the industry standard. Many have tried to get in on the hype of the heirloom. They’ve attached the name “heirloom” to tomatoes with genetically modified seeds or tomatoes that generally lack in quality. That is why it is essential to get your heirloom tomatoes from a reputable farm. Someone that you can trust and know they will give you a high quality product. Once you have experienced the taste of the heirloom tomato it is hard not to fall in love with them. You will get the hype after that first bite. They are truly a delicious delight!