Produce Spotlight: Heirloom Tomatoes

August 15, 2018

Late summer is coming, the days are starting to get shorter, and the heat is intensifying. Before you despair over the coming of fall (and the inevitable dark, rainy days), take a moment to enjoy some of summer’s best bounty — tomatoes!

The taste of tangy and sweet tomatoes evoke memories of summer barbecues at dusk, and time spent with family and friends before the end of summer. This versatile vegetable (or is it a fruit?), can be utilized in many types of dishes ranging from salads to the main entrée.

When most people buy tomatoes it’s usually with the intention to make a lovely, chilled salad to help cool down on a hot summer day. When creating a tomato salad select ingredients that compliment that tangy sweetness of the tomato. In our heirloom tomato salad, we like to use a goat feta from Portland Creamery as well as grilled and compressed melon.

Tomatoes also have a place in hot dishes. Heat will bring out the sweetness in the tomato making it the perfect complement to a savory dish. Our roasted zucchini side dish comes with confit tomato. Tomatoes give this dish a bright taste that is reminiscent of a summer garden.

When purchasing tomatoes, you will usually find the best selection at the farmers market. If you are not using them right away it helps to buy tomatoes that are just slightly under ripe, so by the time you get to using them they are perfect! If you find yourself with too many tomatoes and you are worried about them going bad before you can use them, consider the following options. You can confit the tomatoes and store them in oil, lengthening their life to about two weeks in the fridge. Alternatively, you can make a tomato jam which is what we like to use in place of ketchup in our farm burger and will last several months refrigerator. However you like your tomatoes, get them while they are in season and share with your friends.