Imagine eating a juicy tomato. The taste, the texture, the ripeness.
Now imagine this flavor multiplied exponentially.
Such an experience is how most people get into growing their own fruits and vegetables and exploring heirlooms. And Doreen Howard, author of “Heirloom Flavor: Yesterday’s Best-Tasting Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs for Today’s Cook” (Cool Springs Press, $24.99), is no exception.
“I had read about heirlooms. I had heard about them from different people, so of course, like everybody else, I tried an heirloom tomato and was totally blown away with the color,” Howard said. “It was black krim, and the flavor was just overwhelmingly wonderful. It was a full tomato flavor, with fruit nuances. … That’s a very complicated flavor, and that’s what you find in heirlooms.”
Howard argues in her book that we do not even recognize original flavors anymore due to hybridized supermarket fruits and vegetables. Howard encourages growing one’s own food or purchasing produce from farmers markets, which help rejuvenate the original flavors.
Howard, an organic gardener, spent 20 to 25 years planting more than 300 varieties of heirlooms. Her book features 18 heirloom must-haves, as well as a top five bucket-list of flavors that everyone must taste: