July 4, 2019

Guide to Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes
For most people, summer conjures up images of warm weather, pool parties, summer camp and beach trips. For us (and for the other serious foodies out there), summer means one thing: heirloom tomatoes! We wait all year for these flavorful juicy fruits to ripen and be harvested, so they can finally make their way into your farm box. We only have a few months to savor these little gems; make the most of them using our heirloom tomato guide!

What are heirloom tomatoes?

Like your family heirlooms, the seeds of heirloom tomatoes have been passed down for generations for at least 50 years. They are open-pollinated, meaning that they are naturally pollinated by birds, insects and the wind. For those who are familiar with heirlooms, you know that this sometimes leads to some funky and interesting-looking tomatoes.

Unlike the tomatoes we often see in the grocery store, heirlooms have not been refined and selected for certain qualities like color and shape, so they often appear misshapen and “ugly”. Don’t let the unique shapes and colors scare you off! Rest assured that those cracks and bumps are totally fine, just so long as they haven’t broken through the skin of the tomato.

Why choose heirloom tomatoes?

Like many others, we love heirloom tomatoes for their superior flavor, their unusual shapes and sizes, and their beautiful colors ranging from deep purples and browns to bright yellows and vibrant pinks. We love getting into the nitty-gritty of the qualities and characteristics of specific tomato varieties, but we will give you a quick overview to make it easy:
  • Yellow tomatoes tend to be sweeter and less acidic, leading to a milder flavor.
  • Red tomatoes tend to be more tart.
  • Green tomatoes often have a slightly zesty flavor and a tart citrusy tang.
  • Darker tomato varieties generally have more savory, complex flavors.
Heirloom Tomatoes

Tomato Troubleshooting

The bad news is that heirloom tomatoes generally have a shorter shelf life. They have thinner skin, so they are more prone to bruising and they tend to spoil quickly. The good news is that we have some tips for how to get the most out of your tomatoes:
  • It’s generally best to use them within 1-2 days.
  • Store your tomatoes on your counter at room temp! The cool temperature of your refrigerator can cause the natural sugars in the tomato to convert to starch, leaving you with a less desirable mealy texture.
  • If your tomato isn’t quite up to par, sprinkle some salt (or sugar) on it to accentuate the flavor. You can also drizzle the tomato with balsamic or even honey.
  • Grilling or roasting the tomato can help create a more concentrated flavor because the heat causes moisture in the tomato to evaporate.

Tomato Inspiration

One of our favorite aspects of heirloom tomatoes is their versatility. You can pair it with mozzarella for a simple Caprese salad that showcases the beautiful flavors of the tomato; you can use them to create a rich and flavorful pizza or spaghetti sauce; you can dice them to make a delicious salsa or bruschetta topping; or you can simply add them to a sandwich or pretty much any dish! Keep reading for some of our favorite summer tomato recipes.

Heirloom Tomato

Refreshing Heirloom Tomato Salad

This colorful salad is not only refreshing but satisfying as well. With natural heirloom tomato juices, crunchy cucumber, spicy red onion, delicate basil and drizzled olive oil, you’re going to love the flavors and textures in this salad.

Heirloom Tomato

Heirloom Tomato Tart

This colorful tart has a crispy puff pastry base with a sweet roasted heirloom tomato topping complimented by fresh herbs, a basil vinaigrette and creamy feta or goat’s cheese.

Heirloom Tomato

Grilled Peach & Heirloom Tomato Salad with Burrata

This delicious salad has caramelized grilled peaches with fresh heirloom tomatoes, spicy red onion and basil topped with creamy, milky burrata cheese and a balsamic reduction.

Heirloom Tomato

Heirloom Tomato Garlic Toast with Basil Whipped Feta

When you need a simple and delicious recipe to serve on a weeknight, this should be your go-to. Made with Summer’s sweet heirloom tomatoes with a creamy, basil feta spread on garlicky, crunchy toast.

Heirloom Tomato

Apricot and Peach Salad

This salsa is sweet, salty and spicy. We love it with chips or on crackers atop smashed avocado.

Can't Get Enough Tomatoes?

Join us on the farm for our 12th annual Capay Tomato festival! Bring the family out for music, heirloom tomato tasting, a harvest activity, tractor-tram rides and local food vendors. Buy your tickets here! Find more information about our seasonal farm events here: https://www.farmfreshtoyou.com/events

Capay Tomato 2018

How to add products to your delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until
10 pm, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery.

Not part of our farm family?
 Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.

July 1, 2019

Easy Ways To Enjoy Grilled Summer Veggies


grilled veggies 1

Once you have your desired veggies in hand, fire up the grill and get ready to chill. Preparing veggies is quick and easy during grilling season, perfect to throw on the grill for a sweet and smoky flavor. Some of our favorite veggies for the outdoor barbecue are asparagus, zucchini, whole garlic, mushrooms (choose your favs), green onions, whole garlic, tomatoes (shh! I know it’s really a fruit), and sweet corn. For dessert (make some room veggies!), add a couple of nectarines or peaches for a perfect ending to your evening.

Veggie Prep for Success

1. Wash and dry your veggies.
2. Cut your veggies to the appropriate size. Some veggies are better to grill whole, halved, or thickly sliced length-wise. Others can be diced first with a simple marinade added. For diced veggies, make sure that the sizes are similar and that you consider which veggies have similar cooking times.
3. Add oil or a simple marinade.
For items grilled whole, halved or thickly sliced, a high smoke point oil (like grape seed oil) is best. Lightly coat the veggies to keep from sticking to the grill grates. Add salt, pepper, paprika, and/or garlic powder as desired. For diced veggies, make an easy marinade like olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and minced herbs. Once veggies have been tossed with marinade, they are ready to go. No need to wait before grilling!

kabob grilled veggies

It’s Grill Time

When you’re grilling vegetables, it’s important to stay pretty close to the grill. Every grill has spots that are hotter than others so vegetables in one area of the grate will be done before others. And, of course, different vegetables will take varying amounts of time to be cooked through. So stay close so you can flip veggies over and pull them off the grate as they are ready.

For veggies grilled whole, halved or thickly sliced, grill directly on grates, and flip halfway through, until veggies are starting to char (usually about 5-10 min.).

For diced veggies, we recommend either using a grill basket or making kabobs. For kabobs, soak skewer in water for 30 min prior to putting veggies on the stick; flip periodically on the grill. For a grill basket, put all marinated veggies directly in grill basket (with a lid is best) and flip periodically (usually about 8-12 min.).

Veggies

Easy Grilled Veggie Platters

You can keep it simple by squeezing some lemon over your grilled platter of vegetables or serve them with a sauce to create an impressive, party-worthy dish. We find that pesto, hummus, yogurt sauce, or chipotle almond dip are great options to enhance the veggies’ flavors and add a little more complexity to your meal.

Or, take it one step further and create Antipasto plate by adding cheeses, Charcuterie and fresh bread. Tip for garlic lovers; take your whole grilled garlic, crack it open and smear the cloves on bread before piling high! For inspiration that requires a little more planning, check out our Summer Time Grilling blog post here.

grilled-stone-fruit

Now Let’s Talk Dessert

Peaches, nectarines, and even apricots and plums are all delicious grilled. Serve over Greek yogurt or ice cream and drizzle with honey and a reduction of balsamic vinegar. Click here for the recipe.

We wish you a perfect evening of grilling, delicious flavors and a laid-back vibe. Enjoy!

How to add products to your delivery: CSA members - head on over to our online Farm Stand Market to customize your upcoming delivery. The Market is open from noon on Thursday until
10 pm, 2 days before your scheduled delivery day. After you confirm your produce items, click the orange button "Confirm and Continue To Other Farm Products" to add the products to your delivery.

Not part of our farm family?
 Find out if we deliver to your neighborhood.