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heirloom tomato tasting

September 11, 2008

zora naki

tomatoes are so pretty! i was at granville island yesterday with the munchkins, and the farmers’ market was bursting with all kinds of gorgeous vegetables – I wish that i’d taken my camera with me. The regular market stalls are always crammed full of fresh produce that has been trimmed and arranged within an inch of its life. These are guarded by fierce cashier ladies who will yell at you if you attempt to disturb their pyramids of berries and figs. But in the centre of the wide aisles are the rental tables, where you get the output of crafters and farmers and even (!) avid gardeners.

I happened upon one of these tables displaying baskets of heirloom tomatoes and had to bring some home. I justified it (given how many tomatoes i have sitting on my counter at present) in the name of garden research. I do need to figure out what i want to grow next year, right?

These are just so darn pretty. From the top (12 o’clock) and moving clockwise: pink thai egg, russian black prince, green zebra, japanese black trifle, dl golden girl, moldovan green, and orange strawberry.

It was a very informal taste test, in that we just sliced them up and munched our way through. Generally, the yellow are the sweetest and the green the tartest. My husband liked the russian black prince and the pink thai egg the best. I personally liked the yellow tomatoes and the moldovan green more, although this could have been partly due to the order i tasted in (if you have a very acidic and slightly underripe green zebra first, the next few tomatoes are very bland in comparison).

pink thai egg, russian black prince, green zebra, dl golden girl

pink thai egg: these large grape tomatoes start off white and then pinken as they ripen. they were better-looking than tasting.

russian black prince: siberian in origin, very popular in russia and high in lypocene. as you would expect, good in northern gardens. we both quite liked the flavour – a definite planting candidate.

green zebra: technically not an heirloom tomato, tart and early. i think the ones i bought were underripe – mouth-puckeringly so… could be interesting roasted.

dl golden girl: my sample was perhaps a bit on the mushy side, but i liked the flavour and the colour.

japanese black trifle, moldovan green, orange strawberry

japanese black trifle: these are supposed to have a wonderful smoky flavour and are very popular in Russia (a tomato hotbed), but the sampled tomato was average. They would look great in a salad – also a good candidate for roasting.

moldovan green: i loved these and my husband ranked them as one of his least favourites. a divisive tomato. sour tart, but in a good way.

orange strawberry: sweet and lovely – i would grow these next year.

good stuff.



Post a comment
  1. September 11, 2008

    Oh my! I know where I’m going to head for first after the morning drop-offs — the farmers’ market! You’ve made those heirlooms look absolutely irresistible: 9 hours and counting…….


  2. ourfriendben #
    September 14, 2008

    Great post, Zora! I actually love the deep yellows and oranges best, too. Such glorious flavor! And blasphemous though it may be to endorse a (gasp) hybrid, and much as I love ‘Yellow Pear’ and ‘Yellow Plum’, I’ve yet to find a better cherry tomato than the orange ‘Sungold’…

    I’m with you on that one. (and did you notice how i borrowed your idea about commenting on the comments?)

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