Heirloom tomatoes may not be all they’re cracked up to be

heirloom tomatoesheirloom tomatoesThe Boston Globe has an interesting article today about heirloom tomatoes, frankly asking if they’re really worth all the hype and extra cost. There’s no question that many of us have been caught in the romance and nostalgia they represent. But should we be? As Beth Teitell writes: “But I am under the power of something, and it’s more powerful than nicotine, or even an heirloom at its best, which is pretty seductive. Hype – that’s what’s got me by the wallet.”

The answer, like many, is not all that straightforward – and, in retrospect, that should be obvious. Further on in the article, Beth quotes a local gardener, “Alas, like relatives, not all tomatoes are the kind you really want around. Some [heirlooms] are fantastic, and some are horrible” Harvey says. “There’s a reason they were left behind.”

The article continues to be make several thought-provoking points, but one we would add is not to feel lacking if you’ve bought an heirloom tomato and wondered what all the excitement was about. Yes, certainly try them out, and if you find one that sings to you that’s wonderful – but if you find a few that aren’t worth the cost, it’s the tomato, not you.

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  • sir_ken_g  on  July 25, 2012

    We are able to get heirlooms at our local farmers market that cost the same as anything else. They are great.

  • manycookbooks  on  July 25, 2012

    I tried raising two varieties last summer and what a disappointment! They just sucked up precious water and gave a couple of tomatoes in exchange! Did all the usual pruning, staking, fertilizer, full sun, etc…no bugs, just heirloom tomatoes a no show! The ones that were produced were certainly nothing that tasted very different from other tomatoes..

  • susan g  on  July 25, 2012

    I have had Green Zebra tomatoes that were a real peak experience!

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