Why all the fuss? Writer Arthur Allen offers an explanation (and thorough history of tomato cultivation) in this month's Smithsonian :
Perhaps more than any other food, tomatoes inspire passion. Whether
it's outrage over the "cardboard" supermarket tomato, pride in the
recipe that great-grandma brought over from the old country, or the
mystique of that homegrown tomato vine, the smell and feel and even the
texture of tomatoes manage to get under almost everyone's skin.
But there's more to it than sentimental woo-woo stuff. Heirloom tomatoes--varieties that would have been
around generations ago, before tomatoes with names like Heinz 2401 came into the world--require gentler care than many bred-to-travel commercial varieties. (Heirlooms wouldn't do well on the usual 1,500 mile journey
between farm and fork .) That means you can support local, lower-impact
agriculture by simply enjoying some of summer's juiciest, tastiest treats.
Share your tips: What secrets have you uncovered for growing tomatoes successfully? What is your favorite heirloom tomato dish?