NewsClub Sprouts Corner: What is an Heirloom Tomato?

Posted Aug 26, 2021

Activity Overview

If you've spent any time at a Farmer's Markets this summer, you've likely seen the colorful array of Heirloom Tomatoes sprinkled throughout the market. These tomatoes come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors, but have you ever examined the inside of a tomato? This weekend, we will be talking all things tomato and taking a close look at the individual parts of this summertime staple! Once you have inspected each part, you can pick up a variety of heirloom tomatoes at the market, color the sheet below, and teach a friend all about tomatoes. 

Download the Coloring Sheet

What is an Heirloom Tomato?

The answer is the seeds! Heirloom Tomatoes are very special because it means the farmer has saved the seeds year to year in order to grow the best fruit. Heirloom tomatoes come in different sizes, shapes, and colors and each variety has its own unique taste. Some are meatier, some are juicer, and some are sweeter. Heirloom tomatoes are also open-pollinated, which means that they are pollinated naturally, by bees, butterflies, insects, wind, or the farmer. 

Why is it important to save seeds?

Saving seeds is very important when it comes to producing an heirloom tomato. Seed saving helps to ensure the farmer is growing the best fruit every season. Every year, seeds that have been saved will produce a plant that is more adapted to grow in the climate and soil conditions where it is grown. This is particularly helpful in a place like the Midwest as we can have unpredictable weather patterns. Saving seeds helps the plant adapt to these environmental ups and downs. Growing strong plants also means the plant will produce more flowers and fruit which helps local pollinators!

Recipe & Question of the Week

Highlight these beautiful heirloom tomatoes with this week's recipe: a BLT with a homemade pesto aioli. As you shop for ingredients, visit one of these farmers at the market and ask, "How long have you been saving seeds to grow these tomatoes?

Download the Recipe

Join Club Sprouts

Club Sprouts is geared towards kids ages 4-11 and joining free! Visit the Club Sprouts tent every Wednesday and Saturday at GCM Lincoln Park and every Saturday at GCM West Loop, or click here to get all the details for becoming an official member.  

How to Join Club Sprouts