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Virginia Farm Flavors: Hanover Tomatoes

A tomato is a tomato is a tomato, right? Nope. Not at all. Hanover tomatoes, the summertime belles of the ball at most local farm stands, come in all shapes and sizes. The name “Hanover tomato” encompasses all types: slicers, heirlooms, cherries, romas, etc. So why do all these varieties get labeled under one name? Because in this situation, the variety is secondary to the location in which they’re grown. When it comes to Hanover tomatoes, it’s more about the terroir than the individual type. Now obviously I had to look this word up because honestly, it doesn’t hold a large place in my day-to-day vocabulary. Terroir is typically applied to wine production but holds true here too. It’s the concept that the entire environment must be taken into account - soil, topography, and climate. It’s these factors that can’t be replicated and are what make a Hanover tomato stand out. In this situation, it has mostly to do with the soil. This is just one example of the many benefits of taking care of and building up our soil. Large monocrops planted according to commercial agriculture practices strip the soil of its natural minerals and microbiome, often requiring artificial petroleum-based inputs to get any future crop production. This is why small farms like Woodside are so important to the integrity of the land and its products and often give back much more than they take from the soil.