Listening to the NPR show All Things Considered last week, we were delighted to hear an interview with tomato farmer Tim Stark. In addition to sharing stories from his life and excerpts from his new book, he had some good advice for those of us who have been stalking the farmer's markets for the best tomatoes...
Tim Stark's story is becoming a common one these days, but that makes it no less inspiring to hear!
He was working as a management consultant in New York City and started growing tomato plants in his fourth-floor apartment. When it became clear that his real passions were in heirlooms varieties and the corporate office, he left New York for a farm in Pennsylvania. Now he grows over 100 varieties of tomatoes and sells to many of the top restaurants in New York.
His advice on buying tomatoes? Go for the ugly ones. He says, "It shows character, the cracks, the rips, the bruises. And if it's perfect, maybe it's been pampered too much."
You can sample Stark's tomatoes for yourself at the Union Street Green Market in Manhattan. We'll definitely be doing our part to get them while they last!
Do you have a favorite variety of tomato?
• Listen to the entire interview on the NPR website.
• Tim Stark's book, Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer, is available for $16.32 on Amazon.
Related: Recipe: The Perfect Tomato Salad
(Image: Jesse Baker for NPR)