It’s tomato time! If you’ve been to the farmer’s market lately, you know that it is officially tomato season. And the tomato royal family is the Heirloom. But what is an heirloom tomato?
Well, an heirloom tomato is an open pollinated cultivar of tomato. Open pollination is pollination by insects, birds, wind, or other natural mechanisms, as opposed to machines. The seeds of open pollinated plants will produce new generations of those plants; however, because breeding is uncontrolled, open pollination results in plants that vary widely in genetic traits, such as that beautiful asymmetrical quality that we have learned to love in heirloom tomatoes. Open pollination increases biodiversity, which translates to environmentally friendly and supremely tasty. And you have to love the clever cultivar names, such as Blaby Special, Stupice, Green Zebra, Brandywine, Big Rainbow, Hillbilly, Jubilee and, my personal favorite, the Mortgage Lifter.
For a delicious and unbelievably simple dish, try an Heirloom Caprese salad.
- ¾ cup of Small Heirloom Tomatoes (Sun Gold, Black Cherry, or Yellow Pear) - Halved
- ½ cup of Bocconcini Mozzarella
- 5 Large Basil Leaves - Chopped
- ½ tablespoon of Olive Oil
- ½ tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar
Toss the tomatoes, bocconcini, and basil together. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle on the olive oil and balsamic vinegar before serving.