Thursday, February 5, 2015

Culinary Trends in 2015: Heirloom Tomatoes

At the turn of the New Year, the National Restaurant Association releases its predictions for the coming year’s top culinary trends. The list is the result of a survey of professional chefs, indicating which items you can expect to be on your menu when you dine out, or to inspire creations in our own kitchen.  

It should come as no surprise that for the past four years, local food has taken the top ranking. From year to year, the remainder of the list has been in flux, with one trend overcoming or falling victim to another. For horticulture-based  trends, especially for local food, the source all comes back to seeds and how the food is grown.

The product managers at Johnny’s reviewed this year’s list and offered up their thoughts on a few of their favorite trends. Each week for the next 5 weeks, we will be covering a different topic within a blog post. Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on each of the trends we cover.

Heirloom Tomatoes

By Pete Zuck, Vegetable Product Manager

The allure of an heirloom tomato has always been its exceptional flavor. While still very popular with consumers, heirloom tomatoes have recently lost a little ground to other trends. They are also slipping in popularity with growers because they tend to produce far fewer marketable fruits than more modern tomatoes, and do not have the same disease resistances as hybrid varieties to keep them producing vigorously throughout the season.

Black Prince
With that in mind, modern breeding has begun to catch up with heirloom tomatoes. Varieties like ‘Marnero’ and ‘Margold’, available exclusively from Johnny’s, have solved a long-confounding puzzle: how to wed the incomparable eating quality of heirlooms with the commercial performance of modern hybrids The results are outstanding: fruits that retain every bit of the flavor and beauty of the old heirlooms on plants that can produce 2-3 times the yield.


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