I grew 27 types of tomatoes this year. Do I have a favorite farm-fresh tomato?
Wine grape farmers love their grapes as each one has unique flavors and uses. I think of tomatoes the same way.
Varieties may look the same when you pick them off the plant. I select plants that will generate that beautiful heavy fruit that compliment the harvest window.
Can you imagine what would happen if all the tomatoes were ready in the same week? I love each tomato for different reasons. I plant with the days to maturity as a critical component - it spreads out the harvest.
Which Tomato is THE BEST?
It depends on how you are going to use it. Sorry, not a simple answer because I know how much goes into growing them I want to get the most out of every tomato.
We put up tomatoes every summer so that we have sauces, salsas, chilis, soups, and stews that taste like summer in the depth of winter. We use plum tomatoes for most of those recipes.
During the heat of summer, when my youngest son is looking for a snack, we always have grape tomatoes on hand, and he will sneak those ahead of potato chips every single time. They burst with sweetness and aren't messy.
The heirlooms though... we LOVE our heirlooms. My wife will walk around holding one and pat it gently as she describes the flavor like it is a precious little present. Folks hunt for heirloom tomatoes. They are not grown for their looks but for their taste. A large slice on a plate, a fresh slice of fresh mozzarella, a basil leaf, and a bit of fig balsamic vinegar drizzled over the top - that is summer flavor at its peak.
If you are more of a slice of a big tomato between two peices of Wave Hill's sourdough, slathered with homemade mayo... I've got a few to choose from that will do the farm proud.