There's a whole world beyond the cherry and beefsteak tomatoes abundant at grocery stores, where you're lucky to find a tomato not devoid of flavor and marred by a grainy texture. Like all flora, there's a season for these things, and that season is now for the incredibly varied and beautiful tomato.

A visit to the Dag Hammarskjold Greenmarket last weekend turned up dozens of varieties in an equally dizzying array of colors, shapes and sizes. There were tiny tomatoes, gnarled tomatoes, tomatoes with a husk and just about every color nature is capable of producing.

As different as they look on the outside, there's also quite a range in flavors with each type of tomato, as well as optimal ingestion applications depending on the varietal. The fine folks at Lani's Farm in New Jersey grow a wide assortment of heirloom tomatoes, like the large, sweet Brandywine variety, which come in pink, red and yellow; the Speckled Roman, a plum type well-suited for pastas and sauces; and the Mortgage Lifter, which boasts a very pleasing "fruity and slightly salty flavor."

The Husk Tomato, which comes wrapped in a thin, papery wrapping (find it at the Rexcroft Farm stand), boasts an incredibly sweet fruit flavor, much belied by its humble presentation. The Black from Tula, which comes in a very mysterious shade of near-black; it looks intimidating, but your bravery will be rewarded by a "very rich, sweet, and spicy flavor" according to Lani's.

Whether you're oven roasting them, frying them or baking them into a pie, there's no wrong way to eat a tomato. Even if that means noshing on it whole.