"Wow, these taste like candy." My absolute favorite way to interact with farmers market customers is to offer a sample cherry tomato. Nine out of ten people take the sample, and at least eight out of ten walk three feet, then turn around and say something like, “that’s the best tomato I’ve ever had,” or “I don’t even like tomatoes, but that was delicious.”
QuintaMKE tomatoes are not like grocery store tomatoes. Those tomatoes are picked green and ripened with ethylene gas while they’re in the back of a truck being shipped across the country. In contrast we harvest tomatoes every 2-3 days and never sell a tomato that is older than 7 days. Because we value fresh food, we choose our varieties based on flavor, not shippability.
Growing tomatoes is a very labor intensive task. We are not certified organic, however our landlord, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute is. This means that we must follow all of the same organic practices as certified organic farms, but we cannot legally advertise as organic.
We grow our tomatoes in the soil, with lots and lots of finished organic compost. We trellis and trim our tomatoes to keep them healthy and happy. Tomato plants are susceptible to a lot of soil borne diseases and fungi, so good hygiene is key. We prune our plants and trim leaves for good air circulation every week. While we prune, we pick off pests like horned worms that like to take single bites out of otherwise beautiful tomatoes. The large amount of attention given to our tomato plants keeps us ahead of the many problems, and pays off in high yield per plant. After all, growing lots of food in as little a space as possible, is a great way to reduce our impact on the Earth.
There’s about a billion ways to cook tomatoes; salsa, sauce, pizza, salad, soup, galette, ratatouille, bruschetta, sofrito, satarasch, caponata, panzanella. It seems like every different culture has a different go-to tomato base. When faced with more tomatoes than you think you can handle, cook something and freeze it (or just wash and freeze whole tomatoes), you’ll be glad you did this winter.
Or you could simply eat ‘em. Eat ‘em like an apple, eat ‘em like a plum, eat ‘em like a cherry.