A tomato is a tomato is a tomato, right? Not exactly. While the ones you see in the grocery store in November certainly look like tomatoes, they couldn’t be any more different from the real thing. Real tomatoes are highly seasonal and fragile things, finicky to grow and difficult to transport, but also mind-blowingly good and, in our minds, totally worth the wait. We’re known for great homegrown tomatoes here in Texas, and that’s a real testament to the talents of our farming community. Read on for some fun facts about the tomatoes in our own farming backyard
- How Does Your (Tomato) Garden Grow? – Tomatoes are sometimes the bane of a farmers’ existence. With not enough water, they shrivel on the vine. Water the leaves and they’ll get a fungus. Too much water and the skins with crack and the fruit will blacken. If that wasn’t hard enough, tomatoes are notorious “feeders,” requiring heavy composting and nutrient payloads, always challenging for our farmers that never use chemical fertilizers.
- A Tomato Rainbow – Unlike tomatoes in the grocery store that are just mostly round and red, our farmers grow lots of old, heirloom varieties, cultivated and prized for flavor over high yields. Look for Sungolds, Striped Germans, Cherokee Purple, San Marzano, Orange Slicers, and Pink Cherries. Hold your own tomato tasting and compare flavor profiles.
- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – How can you tell a good tomato from bad? You can start by knowing who grew it and how it was grown. Our farmers lovingly tend their tomatoes by hand, so they can grow more finicky varieties. Tomatoes grown out of season are often refrigerated and gassed to ripen (or turn red), so are mostly mealy and tasteless. Homegrown, picked-when-ripe tomatoes might not be round, red, and perfect, but it’s all about flavor—the ones we’ve got are heavy with juice, complex in flavor, and ready to eat.