Tomato tasting events let you try a rainbow of colors
I'm amazed by the great variety of vegetables now available. As a kid I ate mainly corn, peas and carrots, and these were mostly out of cans. As an adult I'm still adding new vegetables to my culinary repertoire like Swiss chard, Brussels sprouts, rutabaga, purslane, kale and artichoke (I end it here because the list would become quite long!). Admittedly, I still haven't met an eggplant I like, although I think they are beautiful.
I'm also impressed with the color variation within a vegetable. Carrots, for instance, are usually orange but there are also purple, red, white and yellow varieties. Many other vegetables like potatoes, beans, tomatoes and peppers come in a rainbow of colors. Nutritionists advise us to eat vegetables rich in colors since this is often where antioxidants and other nutrients exist. Tomatoes are one of my favorite vegetables to taste test. Many of the older heirloom varieties come in non-traditional colors, and can have incredible flavors to match. They can be red (of course!), pink, yellow, white, orange, green, and even black (more like a dark mahogany). Red tomatoes often have that rich “tomato” flavor we've come to expect, while pink, yellow and white tomatoes can be lighter, sweeter and somewhat less acidic. Green tomatoes are decidedly tangy and black tomatoes are rich and earthy. Tomato tastings have become a fun late summer event all over the country.
This Saturday, September 7, the Rock Prairie Master Gardeners Association is hosting free tomato tastings at their 8th annual Garden Festival, held at the Rock County 4-H Fairgrounds from 10 am to 4 pm. Garden Festival also features fried green tomato samples, garden and tree information, children's activities and more. This is a wonderful way to try out new tomato varieties. Take notes for which tomatoes you'd like to grow next year in your own garden!
Janice Peterson has worked as a grounds horticulturist at Rotary Botanical Gardens in Janesville since 2002. She is a master gardener with the Rock Prairie Master Gardener Association. Though her education is in plant science, she considers her love of gardening and strong back to be her true qualifications. Janice is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff. Her opinion is not necessarily that of The Gazette staff or management.