The selection of heirloom or other unusual varieties of tomatoes at the Union Square Market in mid-September was just utterly amazing. This pre-occupation with growing such a wide variety or selection of tomatoes is something that seems to have taken hold only in the last 10 years or so. I read with interest several years ago about a gentleman farmer in France who devoted his “castle garden” to heirloom tomatoes, there have been articles in every major food magazine about such passionate farmers and backyard gardeners in California and elsewhere that have such wonderful produce. I have also come across these in restaurants and I have always wanted to grow them myself. But several attempts and dozens of seed packets later, I have failed miserably. Now I am advised that tomatoes need a cool evening early in their life and a distinct switch in temperature from night to day to get the best ones going… we just don’t seem to have the right conditions in Manila/Cebu for these tomatoes.
So I had to settle for eye candy. Food porn. And for a tomato lover, this was absolutely amazing. At least 8 different farmers at the Union Square market had tomatoes on offer. And the photos here only showcase a fraction of what was there. So enjoy. I don’t even know the names of many of these varieties, but I do know that I could have purchased ten kilos easily and had a beautiful tomato salad for lunch for a week straight. Sister did acquire a few tomatoes for dinner that evening, along with some of the last ears of corn, and some gorgeous sea bass and dinner was bliss.
Yellows, reds, oranges, pear-shaped, cherry sized…
I loved the irregularity of shape, the imperfections. I have always been wary of perfectly brilliant looking grocery tomatoes.
Some were nearly the size of baseballs, or bigger!
And even the pale, green and plum colored ones looked amazing!
Some varieties looked striated, or two-toned in color.
They weren’t cheap, but they were well worth the expense.
Now if only some local growers could figure out how to raise these in Bukidnon, Davao or Baguio. An open call to Puentespina, Dole, Dizon, etc., some heirloom tomatoes please. Please?! :)