Thanks to the past few months of alternating deluges and warm, sunny days, this summer’s tomato selection is particularly ample and exceedingly acceptable. For the next six weeks or so, you’ll have your pick, whether you’re after ruddy beefsteaks to adorn burgers, many-colored teardrops sized for snacking, or bulging, odd-hued, Dr. Seussian heirlooms worth sketching before you slice into them. After the jump, a sampling of the most fetching love apples available right now.
What to Look For
The behemoth, dramatic, red-black heirloom Brandywine is prized for its rich flavor and dense, velvety texture. The lesser-known Eva Purple Ball, though slightly pinker, is remarkably similar. With the same depth of flavor as a Brandywine, the modestly proportioned Eva is just right for single servings. Firm specimens of either variety make a striking addition to colorful salads ($4.75 per pound at Stokes Farm, available Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).
Like its namesake, the heirloom Garden Peach tomato has golden, fuzzy skin that blushes pink when ripe. And the similarities don’t stop there: When you bite into one, “the juice runs down your chin just like a peach,” says farmer Tim Stark. Show off the Garden Peach’s sweet, light flavor and meaty texture in a salsa, or tuck a napkin into your collar and just have at it ($5 per quart at Eckerton, available Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday).
With gorgeous orange and red stripes running straight through its silken flesh, the heirloom Striped German tomato is a head turner when sliced. Like most yellow tomatoes, these are low in acid, with thin, delicate skin. Their sunny, fruity flavor is ideally suited to a simple pairing with complementary green wedges of buttery avocado ($3.75 per pound at Norwich Meadows Farm, available Monday and Saturday).
Don’t assume that standard-looking, workaday red-field tomatoes are inferior to their old-money, elite heirloom cousins. This year, ideal weather conditions have yielded the most plump, earthy, full-flavored fruit we’ve seen in years. And at more reasonable prices, these are the best bet for stirring into your secret sauce, putting up in bulk, or celebrating with a great big Bloody Mary–inspired punch ($2.20 per pound at Sycamore Farms, available Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday).
Overheard at the Market: Embarrassment of Riches Department
“The tomatoes are the best they’ve been in years. The corn, too. Oh, and the string beans. Man, it’s just all really good.”
—Zoe Singer and Sarah Huck