Heirloom Tomatoes Overwhelm Greenmarket — Lowest Prices This Year So Far


This one is called Black Krim.

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At the start of the season in June, prices topped out at $5.50 per pound for vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes, nearly all grown in greenhouses by enterprising farmers. But now that the actual tomato harvest season is upon us (no greenhouse tomatoes here), farmers are discovering that they might have planted too many vines.

Prices on heirlooms have fallen to fire-sale levels at the Union Square Greenmarket.

Prices have been sinking lower, and today, Fork in the Road spotted a sign advertising $2.95 per pound heirlooms, with eight different varieties represented. Note that this is a maximum, un-negotiated price. As the day wears warmly on, and tomatoes get soft, you’ll find you can bargain a better price, especially if you’re willing to buy at least a few pounds.

This might sound like heresy, but almost-mushy heirlooms have the best flavor of all, and anything cooked with them turns out spectacular. Of course, you’d be unlikely to cook with tomatoes you just forked over almost $6 a pound for, but what if you got a bag of squishy ones for, say, $2 a pound.

Here are all the varieties seen today at the 20 or so stands that were selling them. We’ve made a laughable attempt to identify them based on pictures found on the Internet, but even there you won’t find any agreements as to the correct names. In addition, different seed houses confer their own proprietary names for the common varieties they sell.

The one in the middle is sometimes known as Caspian Pink.

This pale-fleshed variety sometimes goes by the name of Candy’s Old Yellow.

Here are two varieties of Zebras.

Can’t find a name for this one.

The three red ones lined up vertically in the middle are certainly Brandywines.