From the Farmer

Week 9 – 7/15/2015
Tomatoes
 
Okay, tomatoes are starting to come in. We’ve got red ones, pink ones, orange and yellow and red ones, deep mahogany and purple ones, white ones, striped ones, peariform ones, and little orange ones. They have names like Rose de Bern, Pink Lady, White Wonder, Bumble Bee, Sungold and Marbonne.  They are ugly and beautiful in their ugliness. They have zippers and cracks, colored shoulders, some of them are highly perishable (eat fast!) and some have been kissed with little yellow mottling. Take these as marks of a better tomato. They taste good and the first ones will be in your share this week. My own favorites are the pink ones – these are great tomatoes.
 
While these colors and shapes and imperfections are less familiar, they make farming fun and interesting. They also remind us that food is culture, as in agri-culture, and what our food tastes and feels and looks like tells us a lot about who we are and what we care about. A “perfect” red tomato found at a grocery store is an artifact of a way of growing, shipping, selling – and wasting, as maybe only half of produce grown is sold in the end – food that has increasingly come to rely on scale, distance and divorce. The food we can grow here, in the neighborhood, can be about scale and variety that are appropriate to this place, about freshness and taste, and about relationship – the relationships we have with the land, with our community, and even with ourselves. I think that ultimately we’re talking about food that tastes better and makes us feel better – food that maybe even makes us better people.  
 
In general and as they are available, we will give you several tomatoes a week, some ripe and ready to eat and some that are orange and not quite ripe. These are for putting on your counter or window sill to continue ripening, so that later in the week they’ll be ready to go. Tomatoes are a rare veggie that will ripen well off after being picked just a little early. Commercially they are picked green then shipped with ethylene gas, which turns them red in the truck but doesn’t really ripen the fruit, giving you a red tomato with white bland insides). We leave ours on the vine, which does create more risk for us and the tomato but which allows the fruit to mature at its own pace, naturally.
 
One note, don’t refrigerate tomatoes.  They won’t taste right and their texture will turn mealy. Leave them out or, if you can, between 55°F – 68°F if you want them to hold a little longer. But we recommend holding them like a precious in your hands then eating them immediately. Use a bread knife to slice, works great.
 
Have a good week and be great,
 
Mike
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