Saturday, August 19, 2006

Tomato or Not Tomato?

I admit it. I have a one-track mind.

In the midst of everything else that's going on these days (including impending changes at work and a weekend visit from My Wonderful Parents), I continue to cling to my Saturday morning farmers' market foray as a source of true delight in my crazy week.

And, as with last week, this week I kept my eyes peeled for tomatoes.

Not that difficult a task, really, since almost everyone has been growing tomatoes this year, and the many farmers have a wide selection of tomato varieties to offer. And since I only canned 2 pints of crushed tomatoes last week and know I need many, many more to get me through the winter and spring, I knew I'd be stocking up again.

The Fiddlin' Farmer had plenty of rich red organic Early Girl tomatoes, so I picked up two quarts from him, along with yet more okra and kale.

The Cheerful Lady and Handyman Joe also had some beautiful tomatoes, including a striped red-and-orange heirloom that looked tasty, so I bought two more quarts from them, along with yet more garlic.

The Asian Lady had her favorite Hillbilly tomatoes again this year, so I bought one big colorful sample, just for eating, and she gave me a big sprig of basil to go with it... no charge!

The Tomato Farmer, not surprisingly, had loads of tomatoes, so I bought another two quarts of his Romas as well as a quart of Kennebec potatoes. He asked if I did much with the small grape tomatoes, and when I told him about how much I love to dry them and use them in cooking, he made me an offer I couldn't refuse: a flat of grape tomatoes for $3. Happy day!

Among the other stalls I visited, I bought more whole wheat pita from the Pita Princess, two bags of whole wheat flour from the grist mill folks, huge Canadian Harmony peaches from the sweet older couple, and more zucchini and the first batch of Fairy Tale eggplant from the Gentleman Farmer.

My Dear Papa caught up with me as I wandered and helped me carry things back to his vehicle, and when I had some free time in the afternoon, I dried two trays of grape tomatoes in the oven and canned 5 1/2 pints of some of the other tomatoes in the canner.

I'll probably repeat this routine next week, searching for and preserving yet more tomatoes, because in small batches like this, the work is really quite manageable.

There's just no question... I have to have my tomatoes!


At 8/22/2006 9:32 AM, Blogger M said...

I know exactly what it's like having a one-track-mind when it comes to farmers markets. On saturday mornings I MUST VISIT the market at Boxhagener Platz close to where I live in Berlin. When I have visitors I usually bring them with me, and they are almost always as delighted as I am.

By the way - have you heard about an astrian film called "We feed the world"? It´s about the food industry in a global view. I saw it a couple of weeks ago and immediately thought about your local foods challenge.

At 8/22/2006 11:34 AM, Blogger The Baklava Queen said...

I've found that not only are my visitors delighted when I take them to the farmers' market, but the farmers are thrilled to see new and enthusiastic faces, too! And I've been glad to hear from a few folks I've taken to the market... who go home and find their local farmers' market and support that.

I don't think I have heard of the film you mentioned, though it vaguely rings a bell. I'll have to look that up!


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