Once a tomato is ripe and ready to be picked it is extremely fragile and loses its flavor within a few days. Only a local farmer can pick them at their peak and bring them quickly to the market. Supermarkets sell tomatoes that are picked well before they ripen in order to allow time for them to be shipped long distances. By storing them on your counter, the will eventually turn red but the sweet, succulent, ripe tomato flavor can only come from a truly vine ripened tomato. A truly ripe tomato should be tender but not mushy. It should smell like a tomato and it should be heavy with juice. When you bring it home, don’t put it in the refrigerator, just store it on your counter until you are ready to use it.

Not only are tomatoes wonderfully delicious, they are quite nutritious as well. One medium tomato contains 40% of the vitamin C you need per day. They contribute potassium, vitamin A and small amounts of iron and calcium and tomatoes contain anti-oxidants, which help protect healthy cells from damage.

Recipes: Basic Tomato Sauce, Ratatouille,