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Style Magazine

Season’s Eatings

Jul 31, 2013 03:20AM ● By Style

WHAT’S IN SEASON NOW: Heirloom tomatoes

When many people hear the word “heirloom,” images of items that have been passed down through generations come to mind. When it comes to heirloom tomatoes, it’s the tomato seeds that are saved for future planting.


Normally, heirloom tomatoes are not perfectly formed, which is one of the reasons why they have such appeal. They can be green, red, yellow and all hues in between. When ripe, they’re usually quite juicy and can be delicate. Store heirloom tomatoes at room temperature—unless it’s necessary to slow down the ripening process, at which time refrigeration is an option.

how to pair with wine:

Farm-fresh heirloom tomatoes pair well with many delicious summer ingredients and crisp wines. Foothill Farmers’ Market Chef Courtney McDonald’s recipe for a watermelon and tomato salad is light and refreshing (get the recipe at We recommend pairing the salad with a chilled Rosato wine (a Rosé made from Mediterranean varietals such as Sangiovese, Barbera or Tempranillo). Rosato wines are spicier than a typical Rosé from a Bordeaux varietal, which makes them a perfect match for the salad. For a full list of local, Placer County wineries, visit


Heirloom tomatoes are classified into four categories: family, commercial, mystery and created heirlooms. Through the years, gardeners and farmers have grown heirlooms for a variety of reasons: to save the seeds from year to year, to enjoy their unique taste, and to simply have the satisfaction of growing a plethora of varieties. When purchasing or growing tomatoes, you’ll want to consider that heirlooms have a shorter shelf life than most tomato varieties.

For more information on in-season, farm-fresh fruits, vegetables and more, visit For a full list of farmers’ markets near you, visit


Watermelon and Tomato Salad with Fresh Corn, Lime and Cotija Cheese

Recipe by Courtney McDonald

  • 1 medium watermelon, rind removed, and diced into one-inch chunks
  • 4 large heirloom tomatoes, hulled and diced into one-inch chunks
  • 3 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
  • 1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or basil leaves
  • Salt, to taste
  • Chili powder, to taste
  • 1 cup cotija cheese, crumbled

In a large mixing bowl, combine the diced watermelon, tomato, corn and sliced red onion. Add the lime juice, olive oil and chopped cilantro, stirring gently. Season to taste with the salt and chili powder. Then, transfer the ingredients to a serving bowl, and crumble the cotija cheese over the top. Serve immediately! Serves 6 (dinner-sized portions).