American seed catalogs offer hundreds of tomato varieties, but when it comes to providing guidance on the best-tasting tomatoes the catalogs aren’t always reliable. But now, thanks to Amy Goldman’s extraordinary book The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table, we have a comprehensive source for flavor ratings of 200 heirloom tomatoes. Goldman describes 56 heirloom tomatoes — all grown in the same location — that have “excellent” flavor: “Scarcely equaled in texture of flesh and richness of flavor. Distinctive, delicious, deep, and complex, with luscious, rich flavor. Savory, mouth-filling and juicy. No grave faults. Finely balanced sugar-acid ratio yet endowed with intense flavor. Extremely desirable.” Yum! Here is a quick, random sampling of the 56 tomatoes receiving this honor: ‘Black Cherry,’ ‘Ceylon,’ ‘Burpee’s Globe,’ ‘Pruden’s Purple’ and ‘Amish Paste.’ In describing, evaluating and photographing such a large number of tomatoes in such a beautifully produced book, Goldman has done gardeners an unprecedented service. Plus, she’s included an outstanding selection of recipes to help us make the most of our tomato harvests. The Heirloom Tomato: From Garden to Table is already a classic.
Cheryl Long is the editor in chief of MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine, and a leading advocate for more sustainable lifestyles. She leads a team of editors which produces high quality content that has resulted in MOTHER EARTH NEWS being rated as one North America’s favorite magazines. Long lives on an 8-acre homestead near Topeka, Kan., powered in part by solar panels, where she manages a large organic garden and a small flock of heritage chickens. Prior to taking the helm at MOTHER EARTH NEWS, she was an editor at Organic Gardening magazine for 10 years. Connect with her on Google+.