Tomatoes from the Heart

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Courtesy of Coco of Coco Ranch, by Heidi Lewis

“Coco’s Little Sweet Pear” is a family-heirloom tomato grown at Coco Ranch  in Solano County, California. This unique tomato was bred by Greg House  for his own family’s use and is now being shared. He developed  this variety especially for the sunny Solano County climate and his organic  growing methods. He wanted it to have all the characteristics he values in  tomatoes: high solids, high sugar, high acid, high lycopene, and a superior  deep-rich, true-tomato flavor when used fresh or cooked. He has been  growing Coco’s Little Sweet Pear every year now for decades; it is far and  away his favorite tomato.

“CLSP” (Coco's Little Sweet Pear, for short) is a true multi-purpose tomato. Its exceptionally high  solids make for quick preparation and a stability that chefs appreciate. When  brought before fine restaurant chefs, it characteristically elicits, “Ah, yes—real  tomatoes!” as chefs reach out to bring the fruit closer and take in the fine  tomato aroma.

This Italian plum-style tomato sautés quickly for sauce. And if permitted to  reduce, it makes a superior tomato paste. Sliced fresh, it holds well in salads  or vegetable medleys. Perfect in a BLT sandwich or sliced and drizzled with  olive oil, salt, and pepper. It even dehydrates well for sun-dried tomatoes.

Greg is a long-time organic farmer who is active in the organic farming  movement and has volunteered countless hours promoting and protecting  the National Organic Program. Greg met Coco in pomology class at the  University of California at Davis where they were both studying agriculture,  and he wooed her successfully with his fine cooking. Greg named his tomato  after her. Later when Greg and Coco were able to purchase their own farm,  Greg, and Henry, their son, named the farm “Coco Ranch” because, as Greg  says, “you can’t grow good fruit without honoring the feminine.”



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