This Is What Ted Allen Grows In His Rooftop Vegetable Garden

You may know Ted Allen from a variety of places. Host of Food Network's "Chopped" and Bravo TV's "Queer Eye," Allen has also written two books and numerous articles dedicated to those who love to cook, bake, drink, and who all-around love the foodie lifestyle, according to his website. The television host lives in Brooklyn in a 140-year old home that he and his partner renovated (per Food Network). But he wasn't going to let the constraints of living in an urban neighborhood keep him from his passion — gardening.  

Allen explains that his happy place just happens to be in his rooftop garden. "I love gardening," he tells Food Network. "I grow tomatoes on my rooftop, in herb boxes with a little simple irrigation system." He goes on to say that there is really nothing like fresh tomatoes, and now that he grows his own, he won't ever purchase them from a grocery store. Except, he says, when they're actually in season. (Tomato season differs depending on the location (per Cuesa), but in New York, it mostly runs from mid-July into September, according to PickYourOwn. October for cooler climates.)

When do you know tomatoes are good to go?

Whether you want to follow in Ted Allen's footsteps or continue buying your own tomato supply from the store, there are a few things you may need to know to ensure you are picking the ripest and most fresh tomatoes for your own bounty — especially if you aren't so lucky to be able to grow them on your own. 

First, notes AllRecipes, check your color. Roma, Beefsteak, and Heirloom tomatoes should be vibrant in color, with a shiny skin free of blemishes, and firm with a slight softness to them. Cherry and grape tomatoes should showcase a uniform color, as they are mostly presented in cartons. And, if you are lucky enough to grab yourself some fresh tomatoes, AllRecipes has some great tips and tricks for storing them. Store fresh whole tomatoes in an open container and leave them at room temperature — never store them in the fridge. However, sliced tomatoes should be placed in the fridge to prevent bacterial growth.