From luscious heirlooms to rich romas and bright red slicers, tomatoes are the base of so many cuisines around the world. For many farmers, tomatoes are the most important crop of the year.
Flavor profile: Tomatoes range greatly in flavor, texture, color, shape, and size, but in general, they are juicy, sweet, tart fruits with thin skins that can barely enclose the dripping goodness within.
Uses: Enjoyed raw they bring a sharp sweetness to salsas and salads, and cooked down they become the rich base of some of our favorite sauces and soups.
Pairs with: Onions, peppers, cilantro, garlic, basil, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, pasta, meat, cream, just about absolutely everything
Storage: There is great debate in the farming world regarding whether or not tomatoes should be refrigerated, but in general, the answer is no. Out on the counter is just fine, although if you have a slightly cooler pantry or garage space, a little cooler is good.
Other names: From tomatoes in English to tomates in Spanish, the word originates from the Nahuatl word, "tomatl," which means fat or thick.
Nutrients: Just one medium tomato can give you half the daily Vitamin C needed in the body, in addition to a wide array of other minerals, nutrients, antioxidants, and of course, sugars.
History: From the Nahuatl word "tomatl," the tomato that has become central to cuisine around the world originated in Central and South America, some say with its center of origin in the heart of what is now Mexico. Before the tomato found its way to Italy to become pasta sauce, pizza, and caprese salads, it has long been combined with onions and peppers as the base of fresh salsas and sauces throughout the Americas.
Why it's a great crop: Tomatoes are arguably the most important crop for many of our local farmers, which means that your tomato crop can really make or break your season. In the Pacific Northwest, tomatoes require a truly massive amount of work to bring them from farm to table. There's so much grafting, trellising, pruning, and suckering to do before you even get to all the harvesting, sorting, and packing. The quintessential summer fruit is certainly a lot of work, but it's definitely worth it!