By Michelle Fabio
Perhaps you love nothing more than a big red (or pink or orange or yellow) tomato, but you just might want to make room for another color on the shelf–black.
According to Gary Ibsen of TomatoFest Garden Seeds, one of the Internet’s largest organic heirloom tomato seed sellers, “black” tomatoes are becoming increasingly popular in produce markets and with both chefs and home gardeners.
Indeed, the Paul Robeson “black” heirloom tomato has won “Best Tasting Tomato” for several years at the NatureSweet Carmel TomatoFest in California, which you’ve read about here at Tomato Casual as well.
Other popular black tomatoes include Black Krim, Black Cherry, Black From Tula, Japanese Black Trifele, Cherokee Purple, and Black Plum.
“This is exciting news,” says Ibsen, “because it shows that consumers are being more adventurous in selecting the dark colored varieties of heirloom tomatoes that only a few years ago were next to impossible to find in the marketplace.”
Black tomatoes come from the southern Ukraine dating back to the early 19th century but later spread throughout the former Soviet Union, Germany, and eventually the United States.
It is worth noting that so-called black tomatoes aren’t actually black. As Ibsen explains, they “cover a range of dark colors, including deep purple, dusky deep brown, smoky mahogany with green shoulders, and bluish-brown.”
But by all accounts, they’re delicious.