7500 Tomato Varieties – which are you eating?


tomatoes in my hand

Blondkopfchen and Black Cherry tomatoes

Usually when you’re out grocery shopping your choice of tomato is fairly limited.  You can choose between Ontario and USA field tomatoes, Ontario cherry tomatoes, and sometimes an heirloom variety (at $5.99/lb or more)… But what about the actual name? What about the actual variety?

Personally, I look to buy from Ontario when ever possible, even though I know that means going without some of my favourite fruits and veggies in the off months.  I can’t wait for spring time when the first pieces of broccoli and lettuce come to market.  But my absolute favourite is when local tomatoes hit the market. 

I love them.  I love them in salads, stir fries, sandwiches, pickling, barbequing, stews, pastas, and the list goes on.  There are few recipes out there where I don’t try and sneak some tomatoes in. 

Then one day, I realized that I have no idea what kind of tomato I buy.  I know if it’s a cherry tomato, or a field tomato, but that’s it.  Did you know there are more than 7500 different varieties of tomatoes?  Varieties like Cosmonaut Volkov, Big Rainbow, Brandywine, Moneymaker and Mr. Stripey illustrate just how little you may know about the tomatoes you buy at the market.

The tomatoes I find at the market lack that big tomato flavour that comes from home grown tomatoes, which makes sense since the tomato growers are focused on quantity and so quality is missed. 

As consumers we have become somewhat complacent in the food that we buy because we accept that we must purchase what is offered.  Time becomes a key factor in deciding what foods we eat as there is only so much time available for grocery shopping.  Why go to multiple stores when there is so much available at one? 

It almost seems silly that so many of us will settle for any variety of tomato that we find, instead of seeking out a Black Zebra tomato for perfect Brushetta, or the Blondkopfchen, ideal for winter salads.

Can’t find your favourite tomato variety at your local market? Try growing your own!

Eat drink and be merry.

The At Home Organic



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