Heirloom tomatoes seem to be synonymous with cracks and crevices and ridiculous sizes.
The reason? Conjoined blossoms.
If you look closely at your tomato plants you may notice a pair or even three or four blossoms fused together. If left to grow they will result in conjoined fruit, which gives them the massive size and deep crevices where the fruit has fused together.
Tomato growers refer to this phenomena as “cat faced”.
While the result may be eye-catching and conversation making, it usually doesn’t serve the kitchen well. Fused fruit are more susceptible to insect damage, cracking, uneven ripening and makes it very difficult to clean or to slice evenly.
For this reason, plants with blossoms that had a tendency to fuse were bred out of tomatoes in the pursuit of perfectly shaped fruit for the commercial market.
All too often taste was sacrificed.
If you grow heirloom tomatoes (and you should!) simply watch for fused blossoms and pinch them off. Single blossoms will result in the coveted, delicious flavours that you just won’t find in any grocery store bin.