The tomatoes have arrived! 

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 I was walking through the Friday Farmer’s Market and chatting with my friend, when out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of beautiful red and orange plump balls.  Could it be?  I yelled out TOMATOES!  My friend looked, and hidden behind a crowd of people were the first tomatoes of the season, California, field grown and vine ripened – organic tomatoes.  My friend could not believe I had spotted them.  I have a sixth sense for those juicy, plump lovelies.  I have not eaten/purchased a tomato since last season.  A fellow market gower overheard me say that to my friend and she couldn’t believe her ears, “you haven’t bought or eaten a tomato since last season?”  My reply was “nope, why bother.”  I have found I have been disappointed in the past when I have purchased a tomato “out of season”, they are mealy, tasteless and just plain ole’ yucky.  Why waste my money on that.

So for lunch today I was so excited to eat my first tomato and cheese sandwich with Mayo (my staple during tomato season).  Oh, the juice running down my chin and hands – LOVE IT!

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I can’t wait to get home and slice some and drizzle a little olive oil on them or just a dash of salt – I’m making my mouth water right now thinking about it. 

What have you found at your farmer’s market that you are stoked about?

I just started the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver- so far it is awesome!  Everyone MUST read this.  It is about a family that spends a year eating “deliberately” – only eating what they grow or can purchase locally ( translates into what is produced locally).  I am only in the 4th chapter but already I am a believer.  I have been trying to live this way for awhile now but this is even more hardcore than what we’ve been doing.  The author talks about how much oil is used to produce the food you eat.  I’m sure not many people even think about that when they are biting into their ginormous, plump, ruby red strawberry in the middle of January.  Guess where that strawberry came from? Not the local farm down the road.  Not even from a farm in the United States.  Most likely that Strawberry came from a some giant agbusiness farm in the southern hemisphere.  So there was oil used to plow the fields,  to run the machines that package the strawberries, the fuel to get the strawberries to the docks to then be shipped to the USA and then the fuel that goes into the trucks that deliver the strawberries to your local market.  WOW!  That’s a lot of fuel.  Now multiply that by all the food in our grocerry stores- that’s huge. 

So this family has decided to buck the system and do it the old fashioned way- eat seasonally and eat what you produce or what is produced in your own community.  I know this is not possible for some or seems like an arduous task but you must think baby steps. 

What we do is …. we start by trying to buy local ( the farmer’s market) , then we try to buy within California, then we try to stay on the west coast and if we really want it or need it for a recipe than we stay in the U.S.A.  Let me tell you, it definitely takes me some time to grocery shop but I feel good when I leave- knowing I have done my part.  I always laugh when I’m buying produce and I see Organic __(insert any veggie or fruit)______ from South America or Mexico or wherever.  It seems like an oxymoron.  

It’s all about eating seasonally.  I have come to realize this after we moved in our new house and stared to get into gardening more (now that we had usable space and decent soil).  After that first year of growing our own heirloom tomatoes I realized the ones at the store are awful( I should say – the ones that are at the store and out of season).  Now, I will not buy tomatos during the off season- it’s just not worth it.   

It’s definitely not “convenient” to do things this way.  But it’s more fun and more rewarding.  It just feels good. 

At one time we had tried to move out of Cali and back to the midwest and the first thing I did when looking at new cities was look for their local farmers markets.  The link below is great for finding farmers markets, farms, CSA’s, etc. in your area.  We are lucky to live where we do and they are everywhere but some people aren’t as lucky and might need to do a bit more research.  Take a look at the link below and go visit your local farmers market or farm and bring home what’s in season.  Some places will even provide recipes for some of those veggies that aren’t the “norm” or what you may find in your grocery store.  It’s fun to try new veggies or fruit.  http://www.localharvest.org/

Try the challenge at the right “Be a Bookworm” and pick up this book for it. 

Happy eating!

I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green.  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne