Why Choose Heirloom? Zapotec Tomatoes, Baby!

Zapotec from White Flower Farm
We are at the end of tomato season, so hurry and get your favorites before the weather turns cold and they go back to being mostly cellulose and water.

What to choose?  Heirloom is a huge buzzword in certain circles, but for a good reason!  Before the Beefsteak was king due to size and shippable structure, there were hundreds of different types of tomatoes in this country!  Seeds would be saved and passed down within a family, keeping a particular variety alive. Not only that, the store verities are bred for very specific growing conditions(usually in CA), often leading to heartache on the part of the home gardener.  If you doubt me, just take a drive around my short-summer Idaho town and see all the tomatoes that are *almost* ripe, with fall on the way.  Choosing heirlooms from your area instead helps your hard work succeed!

Here are a few of the beautiful species now making a comeback!

Borsalina F-1 from Seeds of Change
A Stripped Stuffer from the blog Gone To Seed

Black Seaman from Seedman's
Aunt Ruby's German Green from Swallowtail Garden Seeds

While many stores (especially trendy ones like Trader Joe's) are trying to get in on the act by selling packs of heirloom tomatoes, don't fall for it!  Just like the other tomatoes on the shelf, they will have been picked green, then ripened in the warehouse to keep them from being bruised or gotten by bugs.  They will not taste as good as those grown locally by a small farmer. 
Recipes from She Knows


Kjerstin said...

Those look so yummy! Now for a garden...

~~louise~~ said...

Good morning, Jesse,

Such lovely varieties of heirlooms. I actually picked whatever "crop" of heirlooms I could yesterday before the rains and winds come. Although I'm in central PA I figured better to grab them while I can. This year I got my seeds from Amishland Seeds. I went with Eva's Amish Stripe Tomato and although they got off to a slow start, they are doing well now. Next year I'm going to add a few more varieties.

Thank you so much for all these resources. I'm saving this link for sure!!!

Jesse said...

@Kjerstin, I know, right? I need soil! Something that I've discovered lately that I forgot to mention is that if you're going to grow tomatoes here in Idaho, you will have much better success with an heirloom cherry or grape tomato. Since they're smaller, they ripen faster and you'll get a crop before the cold hits!

@louise, Good morning to you too! I take it that means you're in the path of the hurricane! Stay safe...

I have heard really good things about Amishland Seeds before, but haven't ordered from them yet...I'm glad to hear you had such a good experience! Seeds of Change has been very good to me before, but what they have varies by time of year, so during spring they have a bunch of tomatoes they don't have listed right now...out of anyone, if I had to pick one, I'd say get a catalog from them!

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