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4010 Mt Diablo Blvd.
Lafayette, CA, 94549

Located in the Bay Area, CA, we're a family-owned garden center offering unusual and hard-to-find plants & gifts. Established 1946.

Life is Beautiful Blog

Tomatoes For Every Palate

Blaire Benson

Looking for the right tomato for your backyard BBQ or Caprese salad? Today, we discuss the best tomato varieties for summer cooking depending on the meal. If you haven’t stopped by and shopped our veggies, now is the time! It isn’t too late to plant summer vegetables.

Caprese Salad:

There’s no right tomato for Caprese salad; depending on the color tomato you choose, pair with  cheese accordingly. The lighter the color, the sweeter the tomato. We love pairing mozzarella with a sweet mater. For a stronger flavored tomato, try a sharp cheese. Be sure to try the Costoluto Genovese for a meaty, rich and full-flavored pack, whether enjoying fresh or cooked into a sauce. 


When grilling up burgers, stick with the heavyweights. Brandywine is a pinkish-red heirloom variety with gourmet-quality flavor, weighing 12-24 ounces. Fill up your plate with the 1.5 pound golden orange Hawaiian Pineapple! Rich with flavor and sweetness, try this beefsteak at your summer BBQ. A Russian heirloom and a smaller fruit at six ounces, try Paul Robeson’s dusky red fruit for excellent flavor and tender skin. 

Green Salad:

We recommend the Carmello or Green Zebra for your refreshing green salad. Carmello is a French hybrid, popular in European markets for growing large, juicy red fruit mid-season. The Green Zebra, made famous by Chez Panisse’s Alice Waters, can’t be missed with its characteristic dark green and yellow striped fruit and slightly tart flavor. 

Neapolitan Pizza:

Did you know it's against the law to dub a pizza "Neapolitan pizza” unless it’s made with San Marzano tomatoes? Worldwide, the San Marzano is the most desired tomato paste and with good reason - their sweet flavor and low acidity can’t be beat! Want to learn more about the tradition and law surrounding labeling the San Marzano? Check out the New York Time’s interactive The Mystery of San Marzano!

Tomato Paste:

 As the name implies, the heirloom Amish Paste is a perfect choice for a paste with its sweet, mild and slightly tart flavor. Although you can’t go wrong with San Marzanos or Romas either! Check out Serious Eat’s How to Make the Best Tomato Sauce From Fresh Tomatoes and read up on the flavor differences between the Amish Paste, San Marzano, Roma and beefsteaks.