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It is possible that there is nothing tastier than a home grown tomato picked right off of the vine. There is a world of difference between your own tomatoes and the tasteless things you find in the grocery store. Tomatoes are probably the most popular and rewarding crop and the many heirloom varieties available make it the most fun and interesting too.
Heirloom varieties are those varieties of a vegetable that have been openly pollinated and are at least fifty years old. These varieties come from a time before commercial farms and grocery stores; when fruits and vegetables were grown for flavor, not shelf life.
The tomatoes found in your local supermarket are bred for disease resistance, ideal ripening, shelf life, travel-ability and consistency. You might notice that flavor is not on this list. Growing your own heirloom variety tomatoes might mean that your tomatoes are not as picture perfect as the ones in the store, or as hardy, but they will definitely be tasty, delightful and beautiful in their originality, especially if you commit to organic gardening practices.
Known as Heritage or Heirloom, there are over 500 varieties of tomatoes to choose from. Many are named after the person who first grew them hundreds of years ago. They come in all different shapes and colors, green, purple, yellow, orange, and white; some are as small as peas and some are as big as melons. Following is a list of a few strange and delicious varieties, as well as some growing tips and a quick description.
Amish Paste Tomatoes
German Green Tomato
Black Cherry Tomatoes
Black Russian Tomatoes
Brandywine Classic Pink
Green Zebra Tomatoes
Nebraska Wedding Tomato
Orange Banana Tomato
As you can well see, there are far more varieties of tomato available than the ones we are all used to. You can decorate your garden with a whole bouquet of beautiful, rare and delicious tomatoes from around the world. Preserving these special tomato varieties has been a priority of small farmers around the country, and we have them to thank for preserving the tomato, as we know it.
Do not miss out on one of life’s great pleasures; growing your own organic food, especially tomatoes. You will never think of tomatoes in the same way again.