Tomato Time!: Veggie Share Week#12 – 8/23/23

 In CSA Newsletter

Tomato Time!

Tomato season is upon us! For the next several weeks you will be receiving a bag of mixed tomatoes. There will be some traditional slicers, some romas, and then heirlooms. Heirlooms are prized for their amazing flavors! Not so prized for their shorter shelf life, which is why you don’t find them in the grocery store.

To best manage your tomatoes, put them on a plate on your counter. Eat them in the order they ripen. We do try to pick all of our tomatoes a touch under ripe so as to give you a little time. I have a plate on my counter with tomatoes from last Wednesday’s pack, and they are still perfect to eat!

Heirlooms, and tomatoes in general, have such fun names.

Michael’s favorite heirloom is a small, orange heirloom saladette called Juane Flamme, which is french for yellow flame. The crew lovingly calls them JFs or Juan Tomamaras and Johnny Flamers.  They are so juicy and sweet, and perfect for cutting up on a salad.

Berkeley Tie-Dye, Large-barred Board, Hot Streak, Pink Boar, Cherokee Purple…. these are some other names of heirlooms that we grow. I personally love the large-barred boars; they are productive, flavorful, and a beautiful dark green with red striping.

Seeing the tomatoes come on is always exciting! We plant them in April, transplant them in June, and then spend all of June and July trellising the plants and mowing the roadways. Then finally in mid-August they start to come on.

Water is the vector for disease transfer in tomatoes. Since we use drip lines to irrigate the plants and the rainfall has been so low this summer, the disease pressure on our tomatoes is very low this season. Definitely a silver lining of a drought! We are swimming in tomatoes – barely have enough hands on the farm to pick them.

Meanwhile, my front porch, which already serves as the crew lunch area, is now serving double duty as my sauce making zone. Any of the seconds that get tossed in the bagging process end up in extra crates that myself and the crew take home to put up. I use an 18-quart Nesco and cook down the tomatoes. Then I run them through a Kitchen-Aid food mill. I have 27 quart bags of sauce and counting! This is definitely a side benefit to being a farmer – easy access to all the seconds!

I hope you enjoy tomato time.

Here’s hoping a slice of fresh mozzarella, with a basil leaf, tomato slice, and dash of balsamic vinegar is on the horizon for you!