Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirlooms from Lincoln Square Market

Now is the time in Chicago where all the markets, festivals, and events are in full swing.  My favorite part is the markets.  I live in Lincoln Square, and we now have two markets a week with fresh vegetable, flower, cheese, and sweets.  You name it, our market has it.  The one thing that caught my eye last week, were the heirloom tomatoes.  Clearly the colors of the tomatoes were what initially caught my eye.  The market was filled with them, so many reds, purples, greens, and ZEBRA colored tomatoes.  I must have been standing at the basket of tomatoes for 15 minutes trying to decide which colors were my favorite.  While I was standing there, the workers began to notice my unavoidable interest and inability to make a decision, so they started talking to me about the tomatoes.  It is so nice to be able to literally talk to the farmer that grew the food that you are buying.  I started asking how heirloom tomatoes come about.  The farmer broke it down for me, essentially telling me about seed saving.  The farmers save the seeds of the tomatoes, clean them, and reuse them.  Upon doing so, the tomatoes start to change in a way that no others can.  They form the different colors, and have an incredibly different shape.  The tomatoes above were cultivated by seeds that have been saved and used for over 50 years!  INCREDIBLE!  I couldn’t wait to get home and take pictures of these bad boys.  I had a great time at the farmers market learning about Heirlooms and now I get to share my little knowledge of them with you.  I had a salad last night with them in it, and they taste amazing.  They have much more flavor than most tomatoes I have bought at the supermarket.  Granted, they are more expensive, but the visual appearance, and the taste are well worth the extra $1.  So go to your local market and have fun…I know I did.

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