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Heirloom Tomatoes: Unique, Intense and Naturally Gorgeous

Heirloom tomatoes are here! Our stores are bursting with all of their gorgeous hues and wildly different shapes. From teensy little cherry heirlooms to hefty, rippling beefsteaks with colors that range from the palest yellows to deep, dark indigo, they’re a vision that still-life paintings — or Instagram pics — are made of.

Read on to find out how you can win gorgeous tomato-themed kitchen goodies and a $50 Whole Foods Market® gift card to fill your basket with equally gorgeous heirlooms.  UPDATE: Thank you to everyone that entered. Congrats to our randomly chosen winner, Carol P.!

As tomato fans everywhere know, the unique beauty of these heirloom tomatoes is rivaled only by their outstanding, intense flavors that are varied as much as their appearance.

These delicate beauties are hand picked and hand packed so that they arrive in stores ripe and ready to be enjoyed.

Oh, and heirloom season is precious and short. If you’ve never tried an heirloom tomato, now’s your chance to see what everyone’s raving about!

Heirloom Tomato and Basil Salad with Buttermilk Dressing

Here are some of our favorite heirloom tomatoes and how we like to eat them:

Cherokee Purple

  • Very large, beefsteak variety, purple or very dark red
  • Deeply flavored and rich with a firm, dense texture
  • Slice thickly and serve with brined cheeses such as feta or with a sweet drizzle of honey

Marvel Stripe

  • Large, beefsteak variety, yellow with interior blush
  • Mild, sweet and fruity with low acidity; juicy and soft
  • Wonderful for gazpacho, paired with balsamic vinegar as a tomato relish or with earthy clothbound cheddar cheese

Brandywine
  • Large, beefsteak variety, pink or yellow
  • Sweet, low-acidity, heavy “slicing” tomatoes with excellent texture
  • Perfect for sandwiches, used as the base of a fresh summer salad or paired with the creamy saltiness of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Evergreen

  • Medium to large, beefsteak variety, green
  • Mild and sweet, fruit stays green when ripe
  • Try making tomato preserves, a sandwich with triple crème Brie and baguette or breading and frying slices for fried green tomatoes

Black Prince

  • Medium-sized, round globe variety, purple or very dark red
  • Deep and sweetly flavored, firm texture
  • Sprinkle wedges with vinaigrette and fresh herbs for a simple treat; pair with Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue to match the tomato’s sweetness with a wonderful blue cheese

Sun Gold

  • Small, cherry variety, dark yellow or almost orange
  • Tangy-sweet, a fruity pop of flavor
  • Perfect for an anytime snack, tossing into quick salads, baking on pizzas and flatbreads and pairing with Parrano cheese

Black Cherry

  • Small, cherry variety, purple or dark red
  • Very sweet, highly flavored
  • Great in salads, roasting whole, baking into focaccia and pairing with Monterey Jack for a cream-of-tomato soup flavor combination

If you’re in love with heirlooms, leave a comment below by Wednesday, August 28th and tell me why you think they're such special tomatoes. We’ll pick one winner at random to receive a $50 Whole Foods Market gift card so you can fill your basket with these beauties. You'll need some lovely kitchen tools to go with all those heirlooms. The winner will also get a beautiful handmade salvaged wood cutting board from Gray Works Design on Etsy, Julia Rothman’s tomato art dish towels from Anthropologie, a wood-handled tomato knife from Williams-Sonoma, letter-pressed tomato greeting cards from Pioneer House on Etsy, and The Heirloom Tomato Cookbook. That’s a prize worth about $250!   

The time is ripe! Heirlooms are at their prime time for devouring right now, so start enjoying heirlooms every chance you get before the short peak season ends.

Tell me, why do you love heirloom tomatoes?