Sun Gold Tomatoes: Summer's Best Candy

 Kentucky Sun Gold Tomatoes grown at Elmwood Stock Farm

Kentucky Sun Gold Tomatoes grown at Elmwood Stock Farm

Not every greatest-tomato-in-the-world is an heirloom, though most are. Heirlooms are so intriguing and numerous I've given a thought recently to starting a lifetime book, as birders' do, noting each time I spot and taste a new type.

Sun Gold tomatoes are a golden orange cherry type, and they are hybrids. Hybridization is honorable enough, and it involves no genetic modifications. It requires a breeder, though, and buying fresh seeds or plants annually, since hybrid tomatoes will not necessary come back true to type if grown from seed.

Enough beating around the tomato bush. My advice is this: Grow your own Sun Gold tomatoes, or if you forgot to plant these prolific bearers for this growing season, find them at a farmers' market or roadside stand. Sun Golds split easily, so they do not ship well. They are the epitome of local-only products. Several growers at Lexington Farmers Market had Sun Gold for sale this morning.

Perhaps Sun Gold are super-local. In the years we have grown Sun Gold, I estimate no more than 30 percent of the harvest ever travels more than about one arm's length from the tomato bush. I treat Sun Gold tomato plants as treat dispensers, and can stand at a loaded bush for 10 minutes, eating every sweet, fruity golden globe I can find. Sun-warmed Sun Gold tomatoes may be my favorite summer taste.

If the sun's warmth is not quite enough for you, try Mario Batatli's exceedingly simple pasta topped with Sun Gold tomatoes and garlic, heated together in olive oil: Babbo's Bavette with Sun Gold Tomatoes.

The recipe calls for two pints of Sun Golds. Buy at least four, because once you start eating them -- and never mind the other people at your house -- you will find it hard to leave the two pints untouched long enough to toss them into your skillet.

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This is Savory Kentucky Bite number 18 of 116 Savory Bites created in honor of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.