Nothing quite says summer like a perfectly ripe tomato—just plucked from the vine and still warm from the sun, juicy and sweet. Over the last ten years, the availability of heirloom tomatoes has grown exponentially with small farmers growing them, making them more readily available to everyone. These prized tomatoes can fetch top dollar; I have seen some for sale for as much as $8 a pound!
Real heirloom plants can be very susceptible to disease because the seeds haven’t been modified to resist such problems. The varietal names and colors range far too many to try and list, but they come in almost every shape, size and color you could imagine. To the untrained eye, heirlooms may look over-ripe, discolored or ugly because of their sometimes strange shape. But don’t let their appearance fool you—they are packed full of flavor!
Over the last few years I have keep my tomato source a secret: Betty and David Maddox. The Maddoxes have a corner booth at the Montgomery Curb Market where they sell wonderful, homegrown produce. These tomatoes are something to write about! For the next few months the Maddoxes will provide me with tomatoes fresh from their fields in Chilton County, and I’ll be working them in to the menus here at SpringHouse.
I hope you get a chance to experience first-hand the tomatoes I’m so excited about, either on the menu at SpringHouse or through buying a few tomatoes of your own from the Maddoxes. If your interested in seeing varieties of heirloom tomatoes, check out the Waverly Tomato Showdown August 1, 2015.