15 Ag & Culinary Pros Share Their Favorite Heirloom Tomatoes - Modern Farmer

15 Ag & Culinary Pros Share Their Favorite Heirloom Tomatoes

'Cherokee Purple' and 'Brandywine' will always be among the best heirloom tomato varieties, but what else is out there? Michael Pollan + more experts share their favorite heirloom tomatoes.

heirloom tomato variety handbook
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HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-GreenEnvy-Burpee-cmyk

GREEN ENVY

“Edible perfection. This emerald-green cherry tomato produces tons of fruit all summer long.” – Venelin Dimitrov, Senior Product Manager, Burpee; Warminster, PA

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-BigRainbow_burpee

BIG RAINBOW

“This beefsteak makes a damn good Bloody Mary.” – Anthony Sasso, Executive Chef, La Sirena; New York City

Related: How to Trellis Tomatoes Fast with a Florida Weave

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-AuntRubysGermanGreen_bakercreek

AUNT RUBY’S GERMAN GREEN

“Fried green tomatoes, OMG! I live in the South, so this beefsteak tops my list.” – Kevin Mitchell, Chef/Instructor, Culinary Institute of Charleston; Charleston, SC

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-BRADS-ATOMIC-GRAPE

BRAD’S ATOMIC GRAPE

“A super-tasty psychedelic wonder that comes hard and quick in 75 days.” – Aimee Olexy, Co-owner, The Love; Philadelphia

Related: How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes, Part 1: Starting Seeds Indoors

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-pineapple

PINEAPPLE

“Extra-large with a consistently moist center, ‘Pineapple’ beefsteak is one stunning specimen.” – Kurt Timmermeister, Owner, Kurtwood Farms and Kurt Farm Shop; Vashon Island, WA, and Seattle

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-banana-legs_Ibsen-tomatofest

BANANA LEGS

“New-to-me varieties with quirky names always prove hard to resist, but these won me over with their low acidity and unique candelabra-bulb form.” – Ilene Rosen, Co-owner, R&D Foods; Brooklyn

Related: How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes, Part 2: Transplanting

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CARBON

“The most reliable and flavorful purple beef- steak, hands down.” – Peter Zuck, Vegetable Product Manager, Johnny’s Selected Seeds; Winslow, ME

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-german-yellow_territorial

GERMAN YELLOW

“Our go-to beefsteak has the perfect
wide stance for sandwich filling.” – Matt Lee and Ted Lee, Founders, The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue; Charleston, SC

 

Related: How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes, Part 3: Staking, Training and Pruning

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-black-beauty-tomato_baker-creek

BLACK BEAUTY

“Created by a breeder famous for Willy Wonka”“esque varieties, this is the granddaddy of slicing tomatoes – earthy and juicy with no pucker.” – Shannon McCabe, Horticulturist and Gardening Writer, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds; Mansfield, MO

 

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-rose-de-berne

ROSE DE BERNE

“This slicer has long been my favorite – pinkish and incredibly sweet.” – Michael Pollan, Author, The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Cooked; Berkeley, CA

Related: How to Grow Your Own Tomatoes Part 4: Disease Prevention

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-Gardeners-Sweetheart

GARDENER’S SWEETHEART

“These awesome, easy-to-grow cherry tomatoes hold on their trusses and never split!” – Lane Selman, Founder/ Director, Culinary Breeding Network; Portland, OR

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GERMAN PINK

“This beefsteak is one of two heirlooms that started Seed Savers Exchange. The great-grandparents of our co-founder Diane Ott Whealy brought the seeds to Iowa when they emigrated from Bavaria in the 1870s.” – Alicia Chilton, Marketing and Development Manager, Seed Savers Exchange; Decorah, IA

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-kelloggs-breakfast

KELLOG’S BREAKFAST

“Yes, I’m from Battle Creek, Michigan, where the cereal company is based. But it’s the low seed count and beautiful orange color that had me using these beef- steaks all last summer.” – Thomas Lents, Executive Chef, The Apparatus Room; Detroit

Related: From Poison to Passion: The Secret History of the Tomato

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-san-marzano-redorta.jpg

SAN MARZANO REDORTA

“An Italian plum tomato, ‘San Marzano Redorta’ creates wonderfully complex sauces and salsas.” – Gary “Tomato Man” Ibsen, Founder, TomatoFest; Little River, CA

 

HEIRLOOM-TOMATO-Blondkopfchen_WhiteFlowerFarm

BLONDKÖPFCHEN

“These delicious cherry tomatoes manage to reseed themselves in our Zone 3”“4 garden every year.” – Alissa Hessler, Founder, Urban Exodus; Camden, ME

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I grow cymbidium orchids cut flowers
Your article about Mexican tomatoes hits home since imports of cut orchids and other flowers from Holland, Mexico and South America has also hit my industry and others. We need to protect our farmers even if this raises the price we pay for our crops.
Bring on more tariffs.

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