Bubba Tomatoes by Bushel Boy

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Anyone who knows a bit about gardening or can find their way around a farmer’s market knows that a tomato is not a tomato is not a tomato — they vary in terms of size, flavor, lifespan, and so forth. Bushel Boy Farms, the Owatonna-based grower that puts fresh tomatoes on local shelves on a year-round basis, have begun marketing a new variety of tomato: bigger, supposedly more “fresh-from-the-garden”-tasting Bubba tomatoes.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The first thing we noticed upon approaching our Bubba samples were that they had the fragrance of garden tomatoes — they were redolent with the volatile compounds that makes tomatoes smell, well, so tomato-y. It was a welcome change from the standard-issue store tomato, and a sign of what was to come: Bubbas pack moderate but noticeable flavor, and are not merely crispy and wet, nor hard and fibrous as some durable but unpleasant store tomatoes tend to be. In terms of their innards, Bubbas are a deep, consistent red with evenly distributed seeds.

According to Bushel Boy, the tomatoes vary from $2-3 a pound this time of year, priced similarly to other Bushel Boy vine-ons. They also last about as long on the shelf.

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James Norton

James Norton is editor and co-founder of the Heavy Table. He is also the co-author of Lake Superior Flavors, the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers, and a regular on-air contributor to Minnesota Public Radio.

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