Hymn to the Heirloom Tomato

They are called locavores. They do not eat “loco” nor are they crazy, at least not too much. They are people who eat local, buying from farmer’s markets, and generally paying attention to where their ingredients come from. Take heirloom tomatoes for example. As Expat Chef (aka Beth Bader) wrote recently in the Eat Local Challenge blog, the heirloom tomato trend is “so five years ago.” Then she continues, admitting the truth:

“But I’ll never be able to look at a store bought tomato again. Much less eat one. Even with my voracious appetite for all things veg, I still have roughly 500 more varieties to still try. Favorites from under 100 samplings? Green Zebra, Cherokee Purple, German Stripe, Sungold Cherry, and the Technicolor kaleidoscope of tomatoes, Mr. Stripey.” — Beth Bader, co-author of the upcoming “The Cleaner Plate Club: Advice and Reipes for Getting Real Kids to Love Real Food.”

Good taste is one reason to be a locavore. We proved this recently aboard MV Poseidon, when Linda conjured up a quick lunch of pasta and vividly fresh-tasting heirloom tomatoes. The locavore movement is not simply some crazy California thing, either. A group called Boston Localvores provides a few good reasons for eating local.

“You are what you eat. When you eat local, you’re getting fresh food from small-scale farms. Vegetables grown on local farms usually aren’t grown in a cocktail of chemical sprays and animals live and die more humanely, eating what nature intended them to eat.”

The Boston folks also point out that grocery store food can travel thousands of miles before we buy it “and that’s a lot of unnecessary fuel consumption.”

Of course, eating local can be just plain fun. In Diary of a Locavore, Elspeth Hay writes rhapsodically about black raspberries, and a Minnesota teenager tells of the ups and downs (mostly ups) of eating only food grown in her home state of Minnesota, and also the Dakotas, Iowa, and Wisconsin and then only eating food that can be bought at Target.

Living on a boat means we don’t get out to Iowa much, but we have discovered one thing. Near almost any port where will be a farmers market. And that will be the best place to stock the galley. We’ve turned locavore out of necessity, and the results have brought a lot of wonderful tastes to our table.

You can follow us on Twitter by clicking here.

Check out our Facebook page.

Photo credit: mnapoleon via Creative Commons license.