It’s that time of year again, where you start seeing market stalls being taken over by beautifully red, green, yellow, and even purple/red-ish and plump tomatoes!
Though field tomatoes are usually a sign of the end of July, it’s one of my favourite vegetables/fruits--tomayto/tomahto, right?. They are so versatile and can add so much flavour to the simplest of dishes to the most hearty ones.
Why Local Tomatoes? Read my article here.
It seems that local farms get how amazing this piece of produce is and I have been blown away by the varieties I have encountered this summer from Echo Farm’s almost-like-candy cherry tomatoes to heirloom beauties from Living Spring Growers.
Once I left Italy, I thought that would be the last time I would taste the authenticity of real tomatoes. Fortunately, I was wrong! All it took was a little bit of digging, tasting, and the farm to table movement to grow!
The time between the end of July and beginning of August is always bittersweet as it reminds us that summer is coming to a close but all the amazing produce makes the tradeoff well worth it.
There are so many tomatoes this month! So many vendors and different varieties, it is truly a sight to see!
I’ve compiled a list of some of the best tomatoes I’ve had this summer and what makes them so special and delicious. Definitely worth a read, and remember to keep a list in mind for your next trip to the market!
What first makes you do a double take on these beauties are their packaging! Not kidding--carefully packed into a quart box with a red mesh to hold them together--as you peak in you see the variety of colours popping out and the different sizes of grape tomatoes. They taste like nature’s candy. Really, they are so sweet, light, and just perfect. There are no other words to describe them. I’ve never tasted grape tomatoes like these. You can taste the difference in the quality and you can feel the work and care that goes into them. They are perfect in salads or as a snack by themselves.
Everything Kris grows is not only amazing but unique and hold such bold and rich flavours that you didn’t think vegetables could have; he really does knows his stuff. When I visit him at the Guelph Farmers Market, his stand is always different, no one sells what he does. At the beginning of summer, if you are following him on Instagram (which you should @rockitfarmer), you will see he will have zucchini blossoms reserved for some of his regulars or Instagrammers. Then as the summer grows, so does his harvest. Here, you’ll eventually encounter his amazing heirloom tomatoes. Plump, juicy, sweet, but not too sweet. Perfect for salads -- catch his tomatoes at GoodFellows Field to Fork where Ryan pairs up with Viking Kitchen to make some killer salads.
LIVING SPRING GROWERS
Diverse variety; I’ve seen a lot of tomatoes in the last two years. I’m used to the same kind of landscape: grape, vine, beefsteak, heirloom-- so you can imagine how my attention would be caught by an odd looking assortment of tomato sizes. These included a pinkish looking cross between a vine and beefsteak tomato. You can find Paul’s stand in the Guelph’s Farmers market. He grows a unique array of tomatoes that you would seldom encounter anywhere else.You must try these unusual selections:
ELMIRAS OWN TOMATOES
These were the first tomatoes that I tasted when I got back from Italy that I thought truly tasted like tomatoes. Their farm is called Floralane Produce and their tomatoes are grown in Elmira, in the Waterloo Region. They share their tomato greenhouse via their Instagram, where you can see the tomatoes growing on floor-to-ceiling vines. These tomatoes are picked--when they should be--which is when they are as ripe and red as they can get!
A regular at evening markets like the Cabbagetown Tuesday Market and the Dundas Market on Thursdays and weekend markets like Evergreen Brick Works. All I can say about them is: Heirloom Harvest Galore! I found over 40 kinds of tomatoes at Murray's vendor stand. The best part? They were pints of different assortments so no matter which basket you took home, you will be tasting different varieties of tomatoes! These tomatoes were amazing, I just ate them with a little bit of Olive Oil and salt, nothing else!
Now that you are well informed about tomatoes, you can be sure to pick up the best of the best on your next trip to the market!