Heirloom tomato photo by Rebecca Slegel on Flickr Creative Commons
We’re not shy about our affinity for the Cherokee Purple, a purplish package of sweet, acid and savory tomato greatness.
But every year, the Cherokee Purple’s preeminence (in our mind, anyway) is challenged by new heirlooms we’ve never tried before. This year, we’re wowed by the Paul Robeson, a varietal from Russia which, in addition to its gorgeous dark red tones and earthy taste, is named for a famous African-American singer, actor and civil rights activist.
It’s these stories of people, places and soils of yore that are a huge part of heirlooms’ appeal, according to Jennifer Jordan, professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. And by cultivating and consuming this biodiversity, we’re literally keeping the past alive.