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Feeling Nostalgic? The archives > The Troubled History of the Supermarket Tomato

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message 1: by RandomAnthony (last edited Jul 10, 2011 05:37AM) (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments http://www.npr.org/2011/07/09/1376239...

I thought some of you might find this interesting....I think Bunners touched on it in passing in another thread.


message 2: by Janice (new)

Janice (jamasc) The tomato hasn't been the fruit/vegetable to suffer from mass production. The best produce is available from your own garden or the farmer's market.


message 3: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24265 comments Mod
The last time I bought tomatoes from the store, I bought ones that were still attached to the stem. I dont' know, I guess I thought they would have more flavor because they looked more authentic? They had no taste whatsoever. I think they may have been from Mexico.

The supermarket tomato depresses me no end.

As a kid, the tomatoes straight from my grandparents' garden were just about the best things you could hope to taste. Just phenomenally flavorful. We ate tomato sandwiches all summer long and they were heaven. Sometimes you would just slice an enormous tomato and eat it for dinner. They were that good.

I don't think I'll ever again in my life have a tomato that good, and it depresses me.


message 4: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24265 comments Mod
That's interesting about Florida being the wrong place to grow tomatoes.


message 5: by Michael (new)

Michael I thought the grower's comment about not getting paid for flavor was interesting. I find just about all produce depressing. The store-bought tomatoes don't even deserve comment, but I don't find a lot to get excited about with the watermelon or cantaloupe either. I bought some carrots yesterday, got them home and trimmed off the leaves at the top and the spindly roots at the bottom and bit into a completely tasteless carrot. Heads of lettuce are also much smaller.


message 6: by RandomAnthony (new)

RandomAnthony | 14536 comments When a try to conceptualize a tomato's flavor...I've got nothing.


message 7: by Sarah (last edited Jul 11, 2011 08:22AM) (new)

Sarah | 13815 comments RandomAnthony wrote: "When a try to conceptualize a tomato's flavor...I've got nothing."

You are eating the wrong tomatoes, friend.

That farmer's comment about not being paid for flavor is absolutely the key. Supermarket tomatoes are bred entirely for looks and sturdiness. Same with strawberries and a whole lot of other produce.
These are supermarket strawberries:

Note the white insides and the uniform size.

These are grown by local farmers who aren't worried about how their fruit travels:

They are smallish and some are malformed but they are seriously juicy and red all the way through.

I thought tomatoes were the most disgusting thing on earth until about two years ago. I had just never had a real one. Real tomatoes come in dozens of colors and shapes and sizes.

The ones from my garden sometimes look like mutants, but they are DELICIOUS.

And real tomatoes, grown for flavor, are also not white or pale in the middle.
Early Girls:



message 8: by Jammies (new)

Jammies I haven't had a supermarket tomato in at least two years. In the summer before my homegrown tomatoes are ripe, I go to a local farm stand and buy tomatoes. In the winter I eat the pesto rosso I've made from sundried tomatoes, and I NEVER eat restaurant tomatoes.


message 9: by Lobstergirl, el principe (new)

Lobstergirl | 24265 comments Mod
RandomAnthony wrote: "When a try to conceptualize a tomato's flavor...I've got nothing."

You never ate a tomato fresh from a garden, in the 70s for example?


message 10: by janine (new)

janine | 7715 comments It helps to stay away from the cheap 'standard' tomatoes. My supermarket has at least six varieties of tomatoes, some more likely to taste like actual tomatoes than others. The ones I got today are pretty good.


message 11: by Michael (new)

Michael I wonder if co-ops have better tomoatoes?


Jackie "the Librarian" | 8993 comments I used to think I didn't like strawberries, because they were like the ones in the picture. White inside, and flavorless. Then I moved to the northwest, and went strawberry picking...

The tomatoes at the grocery store here are from Canada. They're on the vine, so they aren't completely flavorless, but they aren't great. The cherry tomatoes are better.


message 13: by Helena (new)

Helena | 1058 comments Funny Jackie- my husband and I were just talking about Canadian & American produce tonight.

We live in Canada, but he works in the US and often stops at the grocery store there on his way home from work. The produce there is mainly Canadian and much more expensive than ours in Canada. Our produce is mainly from the US and less expensive! We live in the Niagara Region- aka the ‘fruit belt’ and I can’t buy locally grown fruit in any Canadian store! I buy most of my fruit at farmer’s markets & grow my own vegetables.


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