Tomatoes

14199504_764249603714396_1727627542297344893_nOur niece Maevey was 4-1/2 in this photo and was as good (or better) at taking instruction and learning than many adults I’ve trained. The problem with some adults is they come at tasks thinking they know everything already– Kids are total blank sponges– not only was she willing to learn, she could also listen and copy and wanted to do the task right! The instinct is to pull the fruit from the vine, but just like apples, a natural break in the stem lets go when you gently lift and twist. It’s much easier on the plants and results in the calyx (stem) staying on. The calyx is your freshness indicator: a dried out one indicates the tomato was picked over a week ago. If it is still fresh and green, the tomato is only a few days from the vine. Jon harvests only when the fruit is ripe but not soft, to ensure maximum flavour but retain the ability to get the fruit to you!

In the world of tomatoes, bigger seems to be better. It isn’t, of course, at all– size makes little difference, and in fact I could argue that smaller tomatoes sometimes are sweeter or have more flavour. But, people in this area like “a tomato they can slice and fill the whole sandwich”. So, that’s what we aspire to grow!  We grow beefsteaks, as well as gorgeous cherry tomatoes of assorted colors, and also field tomatoes and some Roma/paste tomatoes.  If you are looking for tomatoes for canning, please Contact Us.

canvasSeason: We do our best to have tomatoes as early as possible, but the main crop doesn’t come in until the field tomatoes are ready in late August or early September, which is months after people start asking about them!  We grow some of our tomatoes in a caterpillar, or high-tunnel, where we prune them, train them onto strings, and control fertilizer and water to ensure market-perfect fruit and mitigate disease.  It does not necessarily make the fruit much earlier, and definitely doesn’t compromise the flavour like a regular greenhouse does.  As of now, we don’t grow greenhouse tomatoes, which is often what you are buying when you get flavourless tomatoes out of season.

IMG_4998Preparation Tips: Of course you already know a million things to do with a tomato, one of the best being a toasted tomato sandwich!  You can also make fried green tomatoes, one of Mom and Dad’s favorites: Mom’s recipe doesn’t do the breading, I think she just sautes slices of tomatoes and onions in a frying pan with butter, but I’ve had the breaded version and it’s great, too!  The secret to amazing Greek Salad? Slightly over-ripe tomatoes and fresh garlic & oregano.

Storage Tips: Never store tomatoes in the fridge as it spoils their flavour and fresh texture, especially green ones as they will never ripen. Keep on a warm counter. They often come to you ripe but still firm. Simply set on the counter for a day or two until they yield slightly to gentle pressure.  If you want to speed up the ripening process, put them in a paper bag with an ethylene-producing fruit (a red tomato, a ripe banana, a ripe avocado).

14040183_1223065764391050_531903289632269476_nTomatoes are ripe when they are fully colored and the flesh yields slightly to gentle pressure. Gentle! Squeezing causes bruising and also causes me to yell at customers at market!