A Blast from the Past…Heirloom Tomatoes

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Have you ever tasted heirloom tomatoes? We’re actually trying to grow them in our garden this year, the ones pictured here are not mine, I bought these beauties from Whole Foods the other day, I just couldn’t resist that fluted one! Normally a whopping $5.00 dollars a pound, the day I was there they were just 2.99! Such a deal!!

Heirlooms are grown from seeds handed down through generations, somewhere between 50 and 100 years old. There’s no genetic modifications, they are cross- pollinated, and they are not cookie cutter hybrids.

They come in all shapes and sizes, lumps and bumps, hundreds of varieties, with almost every color of the rainbow to choose from.
Heirlooms generally have much more flavor than hybrids, it’s that good old fashioned taste of a real tomato I remember as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I have tasted some duds, but that was mainly because of where they were grown.

When you see them popping up at the farmers markets ask to taste them, you’ll quickly pick out your favorite ones. Or better yet, trying growing your own if you can!
I loved how the fluted one looked after I cut into it, I didn’t want to hide it with a bunch of cheese. They look beautiful on a platter dressed up with the simplest of ingredients, don’t you think?

With some good crusty bread, a glass of wine, you can make a meal out of these, they’re that good!!
Have an enjoyable weekend, and Buon Appetito!
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  1. I’ve been addicted to heirloom tomates these days. I pay through the nose for them at Whole Foods these days because I can’t resist all those shapes and sizes and colors. I have no place to grow my own, so I either have to buy other people’s or stare at photos like this!

  2. I am salivating over your photos. I was wondering how your garden was coming along. I love, love, love heirlooms and have grown them for a couple of years. Just save the seeds from your favorite variety that you eat this year – maybe some of those in the photo. Dry them out on a paper towel and next year you can start them indoors. It worked for me last year. This year I started seeds from two varieties I ate last year, but only the yellow variety survived my mishandling of the delicate seedlings.

  3. Those are absolutely gorgeous!! And yes, that fluted one is a beauty- it caught my eye first! The most simple, delicious days of summer, right there on that plate…

  4. Marie those are beautiful.. do you have a favorite and can you taste a difference because of color differentiation? I think the way you have them served here is exactly how I would want them.. crusty bread and a glass of wine! Healthy too.. “_

  5. That is not food……it is art!!! Wow, so beautiful and you have done it justice by keeping it simple!!!

  6. Yes they are beautiful and tasty too! BTW the Roma is also an heirloom mater, but her more exotic cousins usually place 1st in show. She doesn’t mind, because she knows how versatile she is 🙂

  7. We’ve been getting all sorts of heirlooms through our CSA share, which is great fun, but the other wonderful thing is that starting in August, we have a woman who grows over 27 varieties. I love the golden zebras (it’s a name something like that) they’re yellow with green stripes and very sweet/low acid.

  8. I like the fluted one too! It’s important to keep these varieties going.
    I remember taking a salt shaker up to my grandfather’s garden and eating them right there, right off the vine after they were warmed by the sun :)..the best!

  9. Hopefully, UJ’s garden will produce many heirloom tomatoes, also. Your salad looks delicious. Keep up the good work.

  10. Oh, wow, the heirloom tomatoes are beautiful and the salad is delicious!

  11. My husband and I have been amazed and sad that we can no longer find juicy, sweet, flavorful tomatoes in France anymore. How we miss our Italian market in Milan where we would find gorgeous piles of every variety of tomato, each one better than the next, and then eat them just like you have prepared here.

    Ah, just beautiful. And your tomato salad stirs up all of those memories…

  12. You did catch a deal. I love them but they’re generally not so available and way too pricey. Lucky you…you’ll have them in your garden soon.

  13. Beautiful!!! I love Heirloom Tomatoes!! They’re delicious…

  14. This is my first time in here, you have a nice blog with beautiful food pictures 🙂

  15. Those pictures are driving me crazy. I have to go find some of those and get some basil and mozzeralla cheese too. I already have the wine. LOL

  16. Every summer I wait patiently for the day when the heirlooms start being on the shelves. Then I find some really good bufala mozzarella and fresh basil from my garden and I’m in heaven.

  17. Oh yes, beautiful I took a photo of those fluted tomatoes at a street market on Rue Mouffetard just a few days ago, they’re called coeur de boeuf!
    Your presentation looks amazing Marie.

  18. Oh Marie, these are a piece of art, these look so delicious, farmers market has started here I will look out for these, I loved your italian style spring rolls btw, happy weekend, Kathy.

  19. Good luck with your tomatoes: I wish you a bountiful harvest.

  20. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I think they are closer to $8/pound here! But so delicious and tasty. Trying to grow San Marzano from seed. If I accomplish that – onward to the heirlooms! Love the photos.

  21. They’re like a work of art. Alas, no Whole Foods close by. When I’m in Florida, there’s one very close to my condo. Let us know how your homegrown work out.

  22. I love tomatoes, I can wait for them to come in season, I could eat one in my hand with a little salt! I love your tomatoes, they are so pretty!

  23. Hi, I found your blog from “That’s not what the recipe says.” Your photos are gorgeous and your food/recipes make me salivate. Can’t wait to explore more.

  24. They look wonderful. I love heirloom tomatoes. We tried to grow them last year but didn’t have much luck. We’re trying again this year so we’ll see.

  25. I just love heirloom tomatoes and their individual look and taste. Can’t wait for the season.

  26. Marie, this look absolutely tasty and beauty as always!!!! Love your pics!! Gloria

  27. So yummy looking. I am trying to grew a couple of these myself this year. Can’t wait to see how we will do? Good luck!

  28. What beauties, Marie! I am drooling now, thanks.
    They are poetry in motion, bumps, ridges and all — and what gorgeous colors.
    I have more than 16 varieties waiting to be planted. Can’t wait for the first one from the garden.
    Che bella!

  29. Yay for cheap heirlooms!!! I think I paid $8 for a tiny bag last time… I swore it would be the last, but I know I’ll go get more, they’re just so tasty!
    Like you say, they only needa little olive oil, some salt, pepper and good bread to make a relaxed but visuallly impressive primo or antipasto!

  30. OMG!!! I absolutely LOVE caprice/capri salad (sp?)! Tell me that isn’t some kind of flavored oil and fresh basil snippings and fresh mozzarella on top. OY!
    I am drooling 🙂

  31. How I love tomatoes! I cannot wait for mine to be ready. This looks so gorgeous– colors and flavors.
    I’m right there. Drooling.

  32. That would be a meal all right! They’re lovely!

  33. Now that’s beautiful, Marie! So simple! Honestly, my mouth started watering looking at those luscious tomatoes. And perfectly prepared. Good luck growing your own. As long as they get a lot of sun, you should do well…

  34. Such a beautiful picture! Forget those boring still lifes of fruits and flowers, I think painters should paint heirloom vegetables instead! –I can see that I would spend a fortune if a Whole Foods were in my town.

  35. WOW!! those tomatoes look amazing!!!! It’s been cool here, so I’ve had a late start in getting my veggie garden planted…. one way or the other, everything is going in this week!

    May your garden give you a full bounty 😉

  36. How did I miss this post?
    I can’t wait till tomatoes are ready in New Jersey. I have been resisting the heirloom packages teasing me in the market, because they are almost $7. and they are not tasty yet. I would rather eat the dollar bills.
    Your salad says summer. Love it.

  37. Love all those lucious tomatoes Marie! The ruffle one looks so amazing and that was a great price. I try to find some heirloom tomato plants to grow each summer and I have a few growing this year. Hope it warms up here soon so they will flourish. It’s been a cool spring.

  38. I am going to DASH to Whole Foods and purchase some of these beauties. Your blog is such an inspiration for Italian cooking. I hope that you never stop blogging. I’d have withdrawal symptoms! Roz (bella)

  39. I have been so busy lately I haven’t had tie to visit all my favorite blogs, but waht a treat to feast on these babies. The big fat red one in the front are the most prized tomato in the markets her and are called Cuore di Bui, heart of the Ox, Ox heart. They are wonderful You’ll have to come over sometime and peruse our goods.

  40. I have no real garden space myself. But I have 8 heirloom tomatoes planted in Topsy Turvey containers. Hope they are successful but if they aren’t I know a place to buy organice ones.

  41. Last year I bought a Heirloom tomato from the supermarket because of it’s unique shape and with the idea to save the seed which I did. Success in raising these fantastic plants they are enormous plants and great tomatoes, just made soup with the excess, shall save seed each year, lovely to eat, very fleshy and not a lot of water and seeds within.