Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom refers to varieties of tomatoes whose seeds have been passed down for generations, and it generally means the variety has been around for 50 years, although some are a lot older!

The end of World War II saw the beginning of widespread use of hybrid tomatoes by growers and seed companies and the demise of many of the heirloom varieties, until recently, when they have come back in vogue. Heirloom tomatoes are often distinguished by their variety of colours, ranging from red, to green, deep purple to yellow and come in various shapes and sizes.

 

Varieties

There are literally hundreds of varieties, but some of the most popular are Brandywine, Amazon Chocolate, Black Elephant, Bloody Butcher, Berkeley Tie Dye Pink, Vintage Wine.

 

Bidfresh’s medley for the 2021–22 season is to include, but not limited to, the following: Waimauku Green, Waimauku Orange, Aurea, Vintage Wine Indigo Apple, Andiamo, Costoluto and the Grand Verde Tomatillo.

 

 

Eat

Heirloom tomatoes are a standout menu item whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. Try pairing with fresh peach on top of crostini with some Clevedon buffalo mozzarella. Eat with a thick labneh or ricotta and with lemon zest, oregano or basil. Sprinkle dukkah over top for some added flavour and crunch, or a pinch of sumac for a citrusy spice addition. Heirloom tomatoes pair well with cured meats, like chorizo and prosciutto, or fresh fish and beef. Elevate your tomatoes on toast with some pomegranate seeds, avocado and freeze dried balsamic.

 

Store

Store heirloom tomatoes at room temperature in a single layer in a cool, dark place. It’s best to use ripe heirloom tomatoes within 1–2 days.

 

Grow

Grown in glasshouses, heirlooms are generally available through the daylight saving period of the year in good volumes. Supply will start to tighten as we head into autumn and the days get shorter. Bidfresh have a number of growers specialising in heirloom tomatoes, with our primary grower based in North West Auckland.