An heirloom tomato is a variety of tomato that is not genetically modified and is known for flavors that have been passed down through generations. Sometimes difficult to define, an heirloom variety is one that has been around more than fifty years, reproduces from seed, and has a unique history. These fragile tomatoes come in beautiful colors, with few seeds, meaty flesh, and a thin skin. This thin skin is what gives the tomato a higher sugar content and excellent flavor.
Conventional and Organic heirloom tomatoes are available year-round.
Available Pack Sizes
The unique sizes, shapes, and colors of heirloom tomatoes all contribute to the elegance of these beauties. Heirloom tomatoes continue to grow in popularity and are a great way to bring vibrant color breaks to your tomato display and inspire flavors to your menus.
10lb. loose box (assorted varieties)
Veg-Fresh Farms Vintage Gems 12/6oz
10lb. loose box
Good Life Organic™ Baby Heirloom Tomatoes 12/1pt
Retail Merchandising Strategies
- Use heirloom tomatoes in the middle of your tomato display to help break up the red tomatoes with the colorful heirlooms
- Cross-merchandise with mozzarella cheese, basil, and olive oil to inspire culinary adventures with customers
- Place a basket of colorful heirloom tomatoes in the meat or seafood department
- Avoid bruising; don’t stack tomatoes more than two to four layers high, and place them on cushioning material to minimize damage
- Spring: Display with other salad ingredients to highlight a healthy and delicious spring salad
- Summer: Highlight these locally grown summer crops in the center of your tomato displays and inspire customers to use them by placing them near BBQ displays
Food Service Ideas
With the growth in popularity, heirloom tomatoes are used across a variety of salad, sandwich, salsas, pasta sauces, and fresh juice recipes. These tomatoes add a spark of bright color to any dish, and the unique flavors of the different varieties pair nicely with fresh mozzarella cheese and basil in a caprese salad. Roasting them will also bring out their natural flavors best.
Heirloom tomatoes spoil very quickly; it’s best to enjoy them within 1-2 days of buying them. If you need to keep them for longer, it is a good idea to choose ones that are a little firmer and possibly under ripe, because they will continue to ripen at room temperature. Do not refrigerate tomatoes; this will ruin their unique texture and flavor. Once they have been cut, it is ok to store them in the refrigerator if you are not going to eat them right away. Keep them on the counter in an area where they won’t be squished.
- There are 4 types of heirloom tomatoes:
- Commercial Heirlooms: Open-pollinated varieties introduced before 1940, or tomato varieties more than 50 years in circulation
- Family Heirlooms: Seeds that have been passed down for several generations through a family
- Created Heirlooms: Crossing two known parents, either two heirlooms or an heirloom and a hybrid
- Mystery Heirlooms: Varieties that are a product of natural cross-pollination of other heirloom varieties
- All heirloom varieties are open-pollinated but not all open-pollinated varieties are heirloom varieties
TidBits is a blog by Veg-Fresh Farms, a place to find training, trends, recipes, and more. Check back weekly for retail and food service insights, as well as what's happening in the Veg-Fresh Farms Test Kitchen.