Friday, July 8, 2011

6th Annual Tomato Tasting at Durham Farmers Market

Saturday, July 9 marks Durham Farmers' Market's 6th Annual TOMATO TASTING. Local chef and restauranteur, Shane Ingram, will be host the event for the 5th consecutive year. This year, there will be over 40 varieties of tomatoes to taste.  All of the tomatoes are grown by the farmers at the Market.  There will be heirloom varieties, hybrid varieties and cherry and grape tomatoes. Each variety has a different flavor - different acidity, sweetness, texture and color - colors will range from red to orange to yellow to green to purple to pink and even include some black varieties and white varieties. 

The tasting will be held under tents on the lawn and this year; the market has devised a new system to keep the tasting line moving faster. Ingram will be chopping tomatoes, talking about the different varieties and cooking up a few tomato based dishes to try along with the tomatoes. 

Tomatoes for Tasting:
Sweet Treats - A large, pink cherry tomato.
Green Zebra - A small yellow and green tomato that was developed in 1985 and featured at Alice Waters Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse.
Black Zebra - A cross between a green zebra and a black tomato.
Paul Robeson - A Russian heirloom tomato that is a black beefsteak type tomato with dark green shoulders.  This variety was named after Paul Robeson, an African American opera singer and civil rights activist who was well respected in the Soviet Union.
Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter - A large, pink heirloom that weighs between 1-3 pounds and has a meaty texture.  This variety was developed in the 1930s by MC Byles, a radiator repairman, who cross-bred the 4 larges tomatoes in his garden and with the profits from his successful cross was able to pay off his $6000 mortgage.
Celebrity - A hybrid tomato variety that is uniformly red and round and generally weighs about a half pound.  It is heralded for being disease resistant and not cracking.  It is a very good tomato to grow!
Black Prince - A small, round, black tomato that is known as a "true Siberian tomato".  It was introduced from Irkutsk, Russia and is said to have great health benefits and a tasty flavor.
Sunsugar - An orange cherry tomato.  It is very similar in looks to Sungold tomatoes (which will also be available for tasting!) and it is similarly sweet.

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