The best tomatoes in NYC
August 3, 2010 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Tomato Season. There is nothing like homegrown tomatoes in summer, bursting with goshdarn flavor. That said, there's gotta be something of close-to-homegrown-caliber at the farmstands or something, yeah? YEAH? Where are the best tomatoes in all of New York City. Where do I buy these tomatoes.
posted by Greg Nog to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I'm confused... have you not been to any of the Greenmarkets in NYC?
posted by saladin at 12:32 PM on August 3, 2010

I have! Which Greenmarket, and which vendor, has the greatest of all tomatoes?
posted by Greg Nog at 12:33 PM on August 3, 2010

Oh come on man. That's an absurd question. Every day is going to be different. Let's not fall into the trap of fetishizing one particular vendor.
posted by JPD at 12:44 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

Eckerton Hill Farms is probably the most famous.

Tim Stark sells to famed restaurants like Babbo, Daniel, Union Square Café, Bouley, etc. He's also the author of Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer.

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at the Union Square Greenmarket. Go early or go home empty-handed.
posted by kathryn at 1:01 PM on August 3, 2010

you had to help him didn't you.

Eckerton sells expensive Heirlooms. Their good but not any better then the other serious tomato growers.

His other stuff is worth the premium. Same applies to Lani's, Rick Bishop et al.
posted by JPD at 1:09 PM on August 3, 2010

posted by JPD at 1:09 PM on August 3, 2010

I'm CSA-supplied now, but when I lived in Jersey City and worked in Manhattan, I often felt like the tomatoes at the "Jersey Fresh" farmers markets in JC were subtly better than those from the Greenmarkets in NYC. So if you're really geared up to go on a tomato quest you could try the market at the Grove Street PATH station (Mondays and Thursdays) or in Van Vorst Park (Saturdays).
posted by yarrow at 1:10 PM on August 3, 2010

i always choose my tomatoes on smell. pick it up, smell it - do you want to bite into that fucker right then and there and you don't care who watches you? buy that tomato.
posted by nadawi at 1:24 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

There's a hothouse tomato vendor at Union Square on Fridays. The tomatoes are not heirloom, but they are organic and they taste really good. Also at USq will be a half-dozen vendors with heirlooms. I usually start first on price point with them, then go up in price looking for tomatoes that aren't bruised in transport.

(As a side-note, it's a travesty just how many of the tomatoes for sale have been badly bruised. When they say these things don't transport well, they mean it!)

Happy eating!
posted by Citrus at 1:25 PM on August 3, 2010

I got some of the best grape/cherry tomatoes I've had this whole decade, at, of all places, the wall street/bowling green greenmarket last week. That greenmarket is, to say the least, not really notable for size or variety (typically there are three stands, and one of them is apples, and another is baked goods!)...but damn were those little tomatoes good. Bright orange, and flavor like a burst of glorious summer sunlight.
posted by Erroneous at 3:33 PM on August 3, 2010

Nadawi's got the right answer here though. Tomatoes are a gift from the great gardener in the sky. Ya gotta taste em to know for sure. All else is mystery.
posted by Erroneous at 3:35 PM on August 3, 2010

I don't have NY-specific advice, but as far as the best tomatoes I've had out-of-season/at supermartets are the "Kumato" brand. They are dark and flavorful - not quite heirloom quality but easily above regular grocery store tomatoes.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 5:49 PM on August 3, 2010

I like the tomatoes from Evolutionary Organics at the Grand Army Plaza farmer's market on Saturdays. But I haven't been in a while, and Evolutionary no longer has a stand at the Wednesday Union Square farmer's market—perhaps they just aren't around anymore.
posted by felix grundy at 6:05 PM on August 3, 2010

Go to your nearest greenmarket. Look at all the booths selling tomatoes. Touch the tomatoes. Smell the tomatoes. Taste some if possible. Consider the use you are going to put these tomatoes to - some are better for cutting up in salads or eating straight up, sliced. Others are better for cooking with. You get the idea. Look at prices, too.

After doing this, you make a choice and you live with it. You do not think that maybe you made a mistake, maybe you got the second best tomato in the city. You take those tomatoes home and love them like they deserve. Period.

P.S. I find the big markets like Union Square and Grand Army Plaza to have inferior produce at horrendous prices. If there is a smaller market convenient to you, you should go there first.
posted by Sara C. at 6:36 PM on August 3, 2010

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