We all know the obstacles against a conventional tomato retaining any flavor these days- picked hard and green, gassed with ethylene to become artificially ripe, shipped thousands of miles and then refrigerated- which destroys flavor and texture- the modern tomato has few redeeming qualities after this sorry treatment. As if all this weren’t enough, researchers have found yet another obstacle. A recent paper published in the journal Science and written about in this New York Times article describes a gene mutation that was deliberately bred into nearly all modern tomatoes to make them uniformly ripen bright red. Unfortunately, the introduction of this gene mutation had the unintended consequences of blocking the release of the tomatoes natural sugars and aromas that are a product of ripening without the mutation. The price of the uniform red tomato seems to be the flavor, texture, sweetness and even the smell of this poor fruit. It just doesn’t seem worth it from our point of view. We grow many different varieties of tomatoes on the farm, and many of them have been cultivated over time for qualities that emphasize flavor and taste, and not a uniform appearance or the thick skin that allows a conventional tomato to be shipped across thousands of miles. The difference is unmistakable. Many of the varieties that we grow will not be round and red, but their flavor is something to long for all winter! Tomatoes are cold sensitive- once the temperature drops, so does their flavor and quality, so enjoy them while you can. Store tomatoes at room temperature- never refrigerate your tomatoes!
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