Here is a rundown of the most common hybrids, heirlooms, and cherry tomatoes you might find in your CSA box or at your farmers market. 

Hybrids or Red Slicers These are familiar to us as the common supermarket tomato, with uniformly red skins and flesh. Some CSA farmers grow their hybrids direct lyin the soil, but in greenhouses rather than the field. The greenhouses offer additional protection and an earlier start to the growing season. The skins on these tomatoes can be a bit thick, but the flavor of CSA farm–grown specimens can be wonderful (unlike those tasteless balls in the grocery stores). 

Heirlooms The wild children of the tomato world, heirlooms come in fantastic shapes and colors but have a true tomato flavor that rivals any hybrid. Some heirloom varieties you may find in your box:

Brandywine: This large, pinkish-red variety started the heirloom , craze. Its very rich tomato taste is only slightly sweet but has a nice acidic burst.

Cherokee Purple: This is a large, roundish tomato with a red-brown , purple color; a rich, sharp, acidic flavor; and unbelievable body.

Roma: The Romas are long, cylindrical, drier-fleshed tomatoes that , are typically used to make sauces and tomato paste. Three of the most common Roma varieties are San Marzano, Amish Paste, and Yellow. The San Marzanos have more flavor than the Amish Paste, but the latter has a better texture for cooking down into paste. The Amish Paste is skinnier than the San Marzanos. The Yellows are, well, yellow with a very mild flavor

Cherry Tomatoes These are the sweet, succulent, bite-size red and orange fruits of summer. The modern Sungold variety was developed in Japan, and its distinctive golden yellow-orange fruit bursts in the mouth with startling sweetness and subtle tropical undertones. Hot, dry summers produce the most flavorful, disease-free fruit. Red grape cherry tomatoes aren’t as sweet as the orange Sungolds, but they are very resilient and tasty nonetheless, great for grilling on kebabs, tossing with pasta, or simply eating straight from the box.



Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A, B6, B9, C, K, potassium & manganese! They are also rich in carotenoids, like lycopene, and phenolic compounds.

Many of the nutrients, antioxidants and other beneficial compounds in raw tomatoes have been found to prevent or help treat health issues. Carotenoids like lycopene have been shown to have very important antioxidant & anti-carcinogenic qualities & are amazing for your health.

Tomato consumption may help reduce the risk of cancer and reduce inflammation. They may improve skin health and also help alleviate menopausal symptoms like anxiety. Tomatoes can also help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Lowered levels of cholesterol and triglycerides can improve the health of your cardiovascular system.



All tomatoes dislike a chill. Keep tomatoes at room temperature for the best flavor and to avoid the mealy texture that can result from putting them in the refrigerator. You can keep them in a bowl on the counter for super easy, healthful snacking.

Tomatoes will continue to ripen once picked. If some of your tomatoes are not completely red, just leave them at room temperature for a day or two, and use once they are more fully ripe.

Although most books recommend avoiding tomatoes with cracks or splits, many heirloom and beefsteak varieties are naturally prone to cracking. Cracked tomatoes are still perfectly edible as long as they are not rotting or decaying; they simply will not keep as long, and you should use them right away.



  1. Blanch. Drop tomatoes into boiling water for 60-90 seconds and, using a slotted spoon, transfer immediately into a bowl of ice water to cool. Skin will slip easily from the flesh.

  2. Prepare tomatoes. Remove stems and core tomatoes. Tomatoes may be left whole, but preparing them in a way that maximizes storage space is recommended. Work over a shallow dish to retain juices.

  3. Transfer into storage bags. Using a ladle or measuring cup, fill pint or quart sized ziploc bags.

  4. Seal bags. Make sure to push as much air as possible when sealing to avoid freezer burn.

  5. Into the freezer. Try to store flat. The shape in which they freeze is the shape you’re stuck with until it’s time to thaw.

Frozen tomatoes will retain flavor for 12 to 18 months.


All you have to do is rinse them well in cold water & you’re good to go!


Small tomatoes are great to toss in salads or with pasta for a fresh, summer flavor. They are also lovely when halved and mixed with red peppers, green onion, and/or corn kernels for a salsa, or to dollop on steaks, chicken or fish!