No Tomato Zone
I can't good tomatoes for the life of me. I heard on the news there is a tomato glut in Florida ,or somewhere down south, and the fruit is rotting on the vine.Basically prices have plummeted and farmers are practically giving them away.However when I go into my local supermarket(Giant, Superfresh, etc.) all I see are tasteless greenhouse tomatoes or foreign product, all at exorbitant prices. I plan on going to the farmer's market as I am sure quality is better though not necessarily price. Maybe once the local crop comes in things. So how did the tomato become such a pathetic and expensive vegetable? I blame genetic fruit and the generally low standards of food quality in this country.
Transport. Good tomatoes can't be packed and shipped hundreds of miles. They're bred for transport/appearance and not for taste. Farmers markets are great but then you pay $20+ for a bag of tomatoes. I started growing my own.
I addition to being bred for transport, tomatoes that have to be shipped a long way from farm to shelf are generally picked while they are green then artificially "ripened" towards the end of the distribution chain with ethylene gas. The result is a tomato that survives the transportation process with little damage and can stay on the shelf longer, but has the texture and taste of wet styrofoam. Local is the way to go when in season.
in addition to the above replies, a third reason commercial tomatoes suck is that this fruit should not be refrigerated--it can cause mealiness and other texture problems. if you can get a good ripe garden or farmer's market tomato that has never been refrigerated, that's the way to go. if you have a co-op or similar in your vicinity you may want to check out the tomatoes there, as organic tomatoes are picked when naturally ripe & are not genetically engineered. may not be cheap, but speaking for myself, i'd rather pay more than eat some hard and tasteless cottony tomato-shaped commercial grocery store horror.
did you know that tomatoes are the most commonly home-grown fruit/vegetable?