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Tomato talk

August 23, 2007 | 10:01 am

Heirloomtom With August's soaring temperatures comes a bonanza: fabulous summer produce -- especially tomatoes. Yesterday at the market, farmers displayed them like county fair prize specimens. Red ones, purple ones, yellow ones, fat ones, tiny ones, gigantic ones -- all looking plump and juicy and altogether irresistible.

So what's the difference between that striped green zebra and that purple and red brandywine? How do you choose the best ones? And what are the most delicious ways to make use of them when you get them in your kitchen? Is there an easy way to make a quick, cold summer soup?

Just ask the California Cook, Russ Parsons. He'll be talking tomatoes -- and zucchini and Romano beans and peaches and melons and anything else you want to know about -- during his live chat at 1 p.m. today at latimes.com.

-- Leslie Brenner

Photo by Robert Gauthier