Blog: UglyRipe tomatoes

Catherine Sleep | 20 September 2006

It’s common nowadays to hear UK food writers bemoaning the standardisation of supermarket produce. Misshapen spuds and carrots are purely the preserve of village horticultural shows these days and we often wax lyrical about the authentic-looking peppers and courgettes that grace the shelves of stores in France and our other neighbours.

But it appears the fixation with standard-sized and –shaped fruit and veg isn’t restricted to the UK. A campaign is underway in Florida to protect an heirloom tomato variety from draconian legislation that rejects its ridged skin. Grown for flavour rather than looks, personally I’d love the chance to taste the UglyRipe tomato, and its growing fan base shares this view.

Minimum Grade Requirements have their place, but rules are there to be broken, if only very occasionally, and I have a feeling the UglyRipe tomato deserves to be cut a bit of slack. It’s hard enough to find a tomato that tastes like a tomato should these days; never mind insisting they win a beauty contest as well.

Photo from

Taste trumps beauty


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