Tasting Heirloom Tomatoes, Tomatoes, and More Tomatoes

As I was leaving my exercise class this morning I got a text from my sister letting me know that, in a few minutes,  “Mr. Tomato” was going to be at our local nursery, Plant Depot, in San Juan Capistrano.  I decided to head over to see if I could find out why my heirloom tomatoes were less prolific this year versus last. Instead, I walked into a nice surprise…a good crowd of gardeners (also tomato eaters) and an impressive set up for the class.  Long tables filled with scores of plates mounded high with diced and cherry tomatoes sat waiting to be pierced with toothpicks for tasting.  Over 40 varieties of heirloom tomatoes were on display. (Did you know there are hundreds of heirloom tomato varieties?)

We were asked to taste and score which we preferred.  This was serious business that took concentration. Whether tasting butters, wines, teas, or tomatoes – tasting against another like item is the best way I’ve found to discern flavor differences and determine preferences for use of the ingredient.

This was such a spontaneous event for me, and I was so excited about tasting, that I forgot to take any photos…so instead, you get to see how my beautiful, albeit, limited production of heirlooms came out this season from my garden.  We grew 10 varieties…the good news was that some of the ones we grew, were my favorites from Mr. Tomato’s tasting.  My favorites for flavor, color, and size were:

Abraham Lincoln – Green Zebra – Brandywine – Legend – Porkchop – Old German – Snow White Cherry – Andrew Rahart – Arkansas Traveler – Black Cherry – Kellogg’s Breakfast

Next year I plan to plant most of these.   The mix of flavors from acidic to sweet, colors, red, brown, yellow, greens, and sizes cherry to large will deliver beautifully on a platter offering freshness, sweetness and a bit of zing.

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Heirloom tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes

As we come to the end of the “great” tomato season, I hope to have a few more opportunities go enjoy salads like this one.  After that, I move on to other veggies in the fall and primarily only have roasted tomatoes til next season’s crop comes in.



  1. What an utterly tomato-tastic post, I had no idea there were that many varieties of heirloom tomatoes. The fact that you grew 10 different ones quite staggers me, and they look absolutely fantastic. There can be few more wonderful things to eat than homegrown and freshly picked veggies, and I love all the interesting shapes and colours, so much more enticing than the standard sized ones in the supermarket.

    • I was amazed too. Then I looked at one seed site that said they offered 600 varieties. Astounding. Yes, one of the great tastes in life is a fresh, ripe, beautifully grown tomato. This was my first effort at such variety. Did just ok but fun to watch.

      Sent from my iPhone

  2. Makes one wish this season would last longer.

    • So true. But just think, apples are in soon. A Sammycakes apple pie is on the horizon

  3. Very interesting post — We had a less than abundant crop this year too but I thought it was because we had to plant ours in pots this year since we moved to a new house with no room for an in ground garden. You forgot to take pictures???!! It must have been a very exciting spur of the moment tomato event!

    • It was a truly interesting event and one which helped direct me into a more fulfilling tomato future 🙂 I think this summer was just almost too hot for all of our tomatoes…and I thought they loved sun.

  4. Your photos are just stunning! My mouth is watering!
    You do such a good job in your garden! It’s nice to see the literal fruits of your labor!

    • Thanks Hil…sadly though, today our very last tomato was ripped off the vine, unripened and consumed by our tomato thief (whom you know so well)..Willie the wonder weiner dog… I caught him with juice running down is chin, oh well…it was a pretty good season.