I have been wanting to try heirloom tomatoes for quite a while. It seems that everything found on the supermarket produce isle has been bred to pack well, ship well, and look good as long as possible on the store's shelf. Notice that taste wasn't listed at all.
I've been hearing and reading about heirloom vegetables - vegetables that come with the strangest appearance but packed with a boatload of flavor. Heirloom vegetables are varieties that predate modern breeding practices and typically are 'open pollenated', meaning they can be grown from the seeds produced by the previous season's crop. While many of the varieties are 100 to 150 years old, there are some heirlooms that are much older. For example, experts think certain heirlooms are actually traditional Native American crops that are pre-Columbian. Other heirlooms are old European crops, some of which have been in cultivation for almost four hundred years.
I discovered a booth at the Downtown Phoenix Farmer's Market selling heirloom tomato plants. Bob Aborne was there selling several varieties. Bob knows his stuff and clearly cares about his little seedlings. He sends each one off to its new owner with a complete kit of an enriched potting soil of his own making that he calls F.O.S.B.E.Doo and a packet of minerals to add to your soil. Bob does not have a website, but his email address is AZTomatoes at cs dot com.
Bob sells several varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomato plants, and I bought a variety called San Marzano. I have turned it over to my wife for care because she has a much greener thumb than I do.