Friday, September 3, 2010

Holy Tomatoes

As summer is drawing closer to an end I finally broke down and bought some tomatoes at the Waverly Farmers Market. Mind you, I didn't want to have to buy them but our Stone Hill tomatoes didn't fare so well in the heat. Joan from One Straw Farm is the best source for ideas of what to cook from the market and her produce is organic, well cared for, fresh as the day is long and hands down amazing. You can taste her smile and passion in every bite. I end up speaking to her about recipes every week and told her I was looking for a great sauce tomato. She said she had a story for me.

She walked me to these Heirloom Roma Tomatoes. She had an employee, Tony, who was from Italy who was never impressed with the Roma's he tasted in the U.S. He went back to Italy and brought the seeds back for Joan to start growing these babies. He was so protective of them that he would slap the hands of any who squeezed or handled them unjustly. She fondly named them Tony Tomatoes.

I bought a case from her for a steep discount.

And this helpful young fella helped me to my car blocks away from the market.

One wee little cherry from Stone Hill. Not enough for sauce making.

Slice the Tony's, drizzle olive oil and this salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Roast for 2 hours at 300 degrees.

I probably could have upped the heat but the result was great. You want that roasted, caramelized char.

I grabbed a massive handful of fresh basil.

Chop and add after you puree the cooked tomatoes.

Use a hand blender and pulse to puree.

Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to cut the acid. Add more salt if you like, but I prefer to keep my canning jars free of salt, knowing I can add it later.

The second batch I made had about seven cloves of roasted garlic and I added a fourth of a cup of dried oregano. These jars with these fridge lids are for us to use this week. They are great for the ones you will use quickly. I found them at Walmart. I feel like a little grasshopper stocking up for winter. After fours hours I only had six large jars canned. I most certainly over purchased so became a tomato fairy to my Stone Hill neighbors. One neighbor traded us the tomatoes for a great fancy schmancy brew for E's birthday. It was a long week of good, hot, hard work and tons of hours with great rewards.

I'm so thankful to live in this country and have access to such great, fresh produce so readily available. I learned so much about organic farming, the importance of shopping at farmers markets, and certification when I was working for Restaurant and Asia Nora. Nora worked countless hours to become the first certified organic restaurant in the country. I can without question tell you that One Straw Farm is successful because of Nora and other restaurants that value local, organic produce. Thank you Nora for all of your pioneering efforts to keep small farms viable in this country. 

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