August 19, 2013, - 6:39 pm


By Debbie Schlussel

I just tasted the best tomatoes I’ve ever had. You’ll love ’em, even if you are, like me, not that into tomatoes. Dirty Girl Tomatoes. I love them.


Farmer Joe Schirmer & His Dirty Girl Tomatoes

I admit it. I’m not a tomato-phile. I don’t dislike them. But I rarely buy them at the store, even though for health’s and variety’s sake I should. But if the tomato is in a salad I’ve bought or been served, I’ll eat it. But, on Friday, the produce guy at the local gourmet supermarket recommended I try these Dirty Girl Tomatoes by Dirty Girl Produce, and I’m hooked. Yes, they are organic (and I don’t like organic produce because it rots more quickly and is more expensive). But that’s not the draw. It’s the taste.

Dirty Girl Tomatoes taste slightly salty and sweet at the same time. They are like a saltier version of the taste of a roma tomato. And for those, like me, who don’t add salt to their food for health fanatic reasons, this has the light flavor of salt. The tomatoes are flavorful and delish! They were tasty in a panzanella salad (bread salad), and in a salad with onions, fresh mozzarella, and a light dressing of vinegar and olive oil.

The tomatoes are in season from late July through December. So, where do you buy these tomatoes? I don’t know how you can find them, other than to ask your market to get them. In Michigan, I bought them at Plum Market in Bloomfield Township.

Here’s more about Dirty Girl Produce, a farm in Santa Cruz, California:

Dirty Girl Produce is a 40 acre certified organic family farm located in Santa Cruz County, Ca. We grow over 20 varieties of fruits and vegetables and sell our produce to customers and restaurants at 10 farmer’s markets in Santa Cruz, Berkeley, and San Francisco.

Farm owner Joe Schirmer grew up in Santa Cruz and began working at Dirty Girl Produce in 1997. He purchased the farm in 1999. Joe is a graduate of UCSC and the UCSC Farm and Garden Apprenticeship Program and has worked on several farms throughout the west coast. Joe currently sits on the board of directors for CUESA (Center for Urban Education on Sustainable Agriculture) which runs the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and is past President of the board of directors for the SCCFM (Santa Cruz Community Farmers Markets).

Joe’s wife Miranda Schirmer has been involved with various aspects of the farm since 2000. Today she updates the DGP website, cooks and preserves the farm’s produce for family and friends, and is busy raising DGP’s two youngest farm-hands and food-lovers: Joe and Miranda’s sons, Charlie and Calvin.

If you can try Dirty Girl Tomatoes, you will thank me for the recommendation.

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25 Responses

I will have to try these. I like fresh organic vegetables and good tomatoes. And, I have to admit, the brand name makes me smile. 🙂

RT on August 19, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Don’t know if it’s a good idea to have a post about food right next to posts about Helen Thomas and Oprah. The appetite will be ruined.

Little Al on August 19, 2013 at 6:51 pm

    I’ve learned not to knock premium food.

    Sometimes you DO get more value for the money. I buy for my dog a 40 lb bag of Diamond Naturals every month. At $35 a bag, its cheaper and lasts longer since that is a high quality meat meal based kibble than the grocery store brand dog food – which is mostly processed filler.

    I treat my dog better than I treat myself! Every now then, I can indulge in some gourmet food. I’m just happy though to enjoy eating proportionate sized meals and take the medicine to cut down on “bad” cholestorol. And plenty of exercise always helps!

    Buono appetito!

    NormanF on August 19, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      Sorry, Norman, but that’s nuttin.’

      I cook a tray of fresh chicken thighs (easier to bone) every week and then make a risotto with the broth using jasmine rice and a little minced garlic to keep fleas away and for health for my little guys. It refrigerates for a week and I just spoon it out each night for dinner. I have 6 little guys (7 – 15 lbs.) and it lasts a week (sometimes I mix in scraps.)

      About 22¢/head/day ain’t bad and they all love dinner time. Also it’s better than crap dogfood, premium or otherwise. I’ve had little ones live to 21 years on my cooking.

      DS_ROCKS! on August 19, 2013 at 8:10 pm

        Would like to have a precise recipe and preparation instructions if you wouldn’t mind. Also, what size is a daily serving? 1 cup? 1 1/2? My dogs are 28lbs – beagle/border collie mix. Both rescue dogs. I checked your website to no avail. Thank you.

        JRay on August 21, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Sex Branding works for surfboard wax so it may work for these dudes too.
Thinking about it, that red color does remind me of lipstick which is kind of waxy…
Hmmm, you know those surfers…

Frankz on August 19, 2013 at 7:15 pm

Organic foods are USDA certified. They have a green label. As Debbie wrote, they’re more expensive than conventional foods and the nutritional difference is probably insignificant.

The decision comes down then to taste. There are times like here, in the case of Dirty Girl Produce, where that may be worth the investment.

NormanF on August 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm

There can be a difference with some organic foods, not all of them. The difference is significant for thin-skinned fruits or vegetables, where pesticides can penetrate the skin. Examples are celery, cherries, raspberries, spinach, and certain types of tomatoes. The foods where organic purchases are recommended are termed ‘the dirty dozen’.

Little Al on August 19, 2013 at 7:40 pm


Or genetically modified foods grown to resist pesticides or incorporated with added vitamins and minerals. Every thing man does is artificial – even “organic” farming. When we don’t take it from the wild, there is nothing natural about it because it requires human hard work to bring food to the table.

And that’s how we left the wilds – the very first step on the road to civilization was the establishment of agriculture. It altered the course of human history and we’re still dealing with its effects today. The city owes its very existence to the prodigious industry of the farmer.

NormanF on August 19, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Oops… I meant grown to resist pests – but then again GMF don’t need pesticides and fertilizers in the first place!

People are calling it the biotechnological revolution of this century, which will ensure cheaper, more nutritious and plentiful food for mankind. Famines are more man-created than natural disasters. Eradicating hunger for good still remains a dream.

NormanF on August 19, 2013 at 7:52 pm

Home-grown are out of this world, too. Completely different than store-bought. I eat ’em like an apple with a shaker of salt to sprinkle on each bite.

DS_ROCKS! on August 19, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Oh, and you’re right about them eating better, though. Often they’ll be wolfing down their “pollo y aroz” while I’m having ramen soup for my dinner. lol.

DS_ROCKS! on August 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm

Well, since I live in New York, NY, there’s a supermarket not too far from where I live call “Trader Joes”, they sell organic products in the produce section of their supermarket, I haven’t bought anything from TJ’s in quite some time, but if I pass by TJ’s and if I see that there selling this specific tomato that you’ve wrote about here on this blog of yours Debbie, I’ll see how much the tomato’s worth, if the price is reasonable, I’ll go buy it, if it’s pretty expensive and unaffordable, then clearly I won’t purchase it.

“A nation is defined by its borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on August 19, 2013 at 9:59 pm

If you don’t regularly eat tomatoes, try an orange or yellow variety. They have much less acid and are sweeter. Depending on the variety (sun sugar, etc.) they come in small, bite size pieces and if you grow them in your yard, you can leave the rotten ones on the ground. The seeds will sprout like weeds over the next few years, ensuring a constant supply.

Of course, there are purple varieties, one of which is called “Paul Robeson” (which I refuse to eat). Soon, there will be an Obama tomato (I am only half kidding about that part).

salt1907 on August 19, 2013 at 10:20 pm

I grow my own in the CA desert, and have for years. Presently have a crop of black tomatoes (Chinese hybrid) as well as all the pedestrian varieties. So next time you are in LA we must do lunch at Canters & I will bring you a bag of the best tomatoes you have ever had.

#1 Vato on August 19, 2013 at 10:52 pm

I just had sliced tomatoes with my lunch this afternoon everyone must be on the same wavelength of some sort.

I purchased lunch in a roadside restaurant in Tennesee consisting of barbecue pork butt and three vegetables I chose corn, coleslaw and something called “Maters” I asked the cook who was serving me whats Maters, She said that’s her term for tomatoes, I’m still laughing out loud.

God love the south.

MANGOG on August 19, 2013 at 11:37 pm

they look like a variety called ISIS CANDY. which are excellent. maybe the best tasting ever.

I grow lots of different types myself and it is not only tomatoes but most varieties of garden vegetables grown in home gardens taste much better then the stuff you find in grocery stores. Sadly many people don’t like tomatoes because they have never eaten anything but the ones in stores which are engineered to look good and last a long time. I wish they would engineer flavor into them as well. Maybe that is the reason they last long …the sugars don’t mature hence the long life. OK I guessing on that part.

General P. Malaise on August 20, 2013 at 1:37 am

    There was a news article about that a year ago. I can’t recall the details, but it seems that the flavor was engineered OUT of most store-bought tomatoes in the 1930’s. I forget why. It was a by-product of making them more red. That is why the old heirloom varieties are better.

    salt1907 on August 20, 2013 at 9:22 am

I have never seen this brand. I am wondering if they are a regional commodity. I consume tomatoes regularly and also juice them. I use them on a variety of things but mostly for sauce, sandwiches, tomato bisque and simply slicing them and then topping them with sea salt and lemon juice. It makes a nutritious and light meal but lately I have not bought them because they are pretty expensive at the local stores.

AR on August 20, 2013 at 11:46 am

I don’t know Deb. I just saw that picture of Helen Thomas in your last article and lost my appetite.

Jonathan E. Grant on August 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm

They sound delicious!! If I was buying tomatoes, I would definitely give those a try!

We grow our own tomatoes every year and even can up some for soups to serve in the Winter. We prefer the heritage varieties.

No hybrid seed for us.. our daughter grows our yellow and red tomatoes from seeds she buys from BAKER CREEK seeds. Although this year she planted some from the seeds from last year’s yellow crop. All the plantings turned up great!

It is just ME AGAIN on August 20, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Yep. Organic products for the most part win on taste. Everything organic that I try – and grown myself – taste better.

But as Debbie noted – except for leaf lettuce – it doesn’t stay long. So it’s either eat in a few days or…

1. Can
2. Freeze
3. Or both

Here in San Jose, CA – I’ve already canned 12 quarts of cucumbers as pickles. Already, I’m freezing tomatoes for later removal and use in salsa that will be canned. Hopefully I’ll end up with 20 pints of by end of September.

Funny thing is – this is the third year in a row where my “3 foot Catalinas” have turned into “6 foot Catalinas”. Ugh…

There is one organic product where I’ll say the taste is not better than non-organic:

– Ground Beef

And the one organic product THAT ALWAYS BEATS the non-organic?

– Eggs

You can’t beat the taste of organic eggs…free to roam chickens are happier chickens that lay tastier eggs every time.


mrrabbit on August 22, 2013 at 7:16 am

As a professional chef & hobbyist foodie, I’m DEFINATELY gonna have to check these bad boys out. Having grown up in TN, I can remember when Ripley tomatoes (from Ripley, TN) would come into season. The anticipation for them was just as great as that of when Vidalia onions hit the store.

A GREAT recipie for those who love pasta & tomatoes in a LIGHT sauce. There are no measurements for this, as its all in my head. The measurements are “til it looks right.”

1 box long pasta (spaghetti or linguine)

Approx 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

2-3 high quality large toms., VERY thinly sliced (a sharp chef’s kinfe is perfect for this)

Fresh basil

Juice of 1 lemon

1-2 cloves chopped garlic

Start your pasta water & in a saute pan, render the garlic in the olive oil (til fragrant, not browned). Then add the tomatoes & stir in oil & garlic over med-med high heat, til tomato slices cook down & the oil turns almost orange. Add juice of lemon one half at a time, tasting after each half. Season with a little Kosher salt & black pepper & maybe a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat. RIGHT BEFORE you drain your pasta, julienne the fresh basil & add to the sauce. Drain the pasta (reserving a SMALL amount of the pasta water, & toss pasta with sauce in the pan. Serve with a small drizzle of extra virgin on top of the pasta. THIS IS A NO CHEESE DISH! DO NOT BE A RUBE & adulterate this livht sauce with parm chz. Adding cheese will make this oil-based sauce DISGUSTING.

Enjoy, Ms. Debbie & fellow regulars. If you DO try this &wanna give me some feedback, or if you have questions, feel free to email me at:

Happy eating!!!

Cicero's Ghost (NB) on August 23, 2013 at 11:21 am

I first experienced them at Plum last year, and I always look forward to when they have them. I, too, never add salt to my food. These tomatoes are delicious on their own.

Jackie101 on August 24, 2013 at 10:10 pm

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Joueb.Micr0lab.Org on November 22, 2013 at 8:41 pm

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