EarlyGirl Tomatoes

While we were growing up, my dear friend Julia hated tomatoes. This was always completely perplexing to me, as there is nothing in my mind as perfect or as wonderful as a tomato. Who could possibly hate such a thing? Sweet, just slightly tangy, with multiple textures as you bite through a fresh one. And don’t get me started about sun warmed tomatoes fresh off the vine. My mother always kept them in her garden, and I remember fondly summer afternoons at my CSA picking them off the vine and eating them almost as fast as I picked them.

It’s with great sadness that I can’t grow my own tomatoes here on the third floor. Julia, at least, has since found pleasure in tomatoes, so at least I don’t have to worry about that.

Over the past few months I’ve been eating tomatoes almost every day, taking full advantage of these summer beauties before the season is completely over, and we are forced once again to give them up for the winter. Before the summer ends, I implore you to head out and try my newest tomato obsession – Dry Farmed Early Girl tomatoes.

Now, the Early Girl tomato is… gasp! a hybrid tomato!

While I do believe that choosing an heirloom vegetable over hybridized versions is important for continuing on longlasting varietals, I don’t exclude choosing hybrid tomatoes that are sustainably farmed. Early girl tomatoes are just too good to pass up, and are perfectly suited for dry farming – a technique that requires less water for farming. After transplanting, the tomato is no longer watered, which causes the roots to grow larger to attract more moisture, and in consequence, the tomato ends up with a more concentrated tomato-ey flavor. In this neck of the woods, Dirty Girl Produce happens to be championing the dry farming of early girls, and I’m so happy to support them.

After reading about these for weeks – and finally picked up some of my own at farmers market. Oh my goodness. How have I lived without them? These beauties I picked up from Dirty Girl Produce – I’ve been getting them at the farmers market, and when I needed a midweek fix I was so excited to see them at the new Whole Foods in my neighborhood.

I think I’m also smitten because Joe Schirmer, who owns Dirty Girl, is on this years reader’s choice “Farmers Under 40”, alongside Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. Novella made us all giggle incessantly when she came to visit Omnivore Books for a signing last month. I’m a big fan!

Just a few things I’ve been doing with these tasty tomatoes:

:: Sliced up for breakfast with a cube of cheddar, some turkey bacon and Turkish tea.

:: Oven- Roasted – with some olive oil and rosemary and thyme (see above). I don’t have an after photo, because, ahem, I forgot and then ate them all. I’m going to do another few batches soon and preserve some in olive oil, and puree some for the freezer.

:: “Just tomato” soup: Blended raw with basil and a little bit of chicken broth, and heated up over the stove, seasoned with salt and pepper and a swirl of peppery olive oil.

:: The Lazy Salad – Sliced up tomatoes, tossed with frisee and Whole Foods marinated gigante beans from the antipasto section.