Local tomatoes

September 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

My first discovery in local eating: the tomato. Wow. I had no idea that local, in season tomatoes were so much better then the average, imported, hot house variety.

The tomato was first domesticated in Mexico. Europeans thought the tomato was poisonous in the sixteenth century, and grew them only as ornamental plants. Then they became known as pommes d’amour, or love apples and were taken as an aphrodisiac. In the nineteenth century the tomato gained international acceptance.

In Ontario, there are more than 300 different varieties of tomatoes commercially grown. All tomatoes can be groups into three categories:

1)cherry or grape cluster tomatoes
2)Italian plum tomatoes (good for sauce)
3)round or beefsteak tomatoes (good for eating raw)

The benefits to eating organic tomatoes are that they aren’t treated with agricultural chemicals, for starters, but also non-organic tomatoes have often been genetically modified so that they stay harder longer for an extended shelf life at the grocery store.

Our discovery occurred when my mom and I made a trip to the Ancaster Farmer’s Market last Wednesday. We bought four big, bursting red tomatoes and an English cucumber. The tomatoes were so flavourful; just the right amount of sweet and soft. After so many supermarket tomatoes that are tasteless and watery, a person could around thinking that they don’t even like tomatoes and never know the real thing. A quick chop of two tomatoes, the English cucumber and drizzled with good Greek salad dressing and we had a delicious, fresh salad. Quick and easy!

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