Friday, September 13, 2013

What to do with all those tomatoes? (Scroll to answer)

If you haven't met the Rowe family at their  Rowe's Country Market booth at the Holt Farmers' Market, please do so at your next visit. You will enjoy them immensely. Gary Rowe is on the left in the pic, with his parents with him. They pride themselves on selling only excellent produce, grown on their family farm south of Holt. This year they planted over 3,000 tomato plants! When asked what "army" helps them harvest the juicy, red fruit (yes, I've finally given up on calling tomatoes a vegetable), the answer was that they recruit anyone available, and work from 8:00a.m.-8:00p.m. The  result is the plump, juicy and delicious fruit you see in the photo. " Our number one priority is selling only produce of excellent quality, " Gary told me. He also let me know that all their produce is grown as organically as possible, without any man-made chemicals. What keeps them in the produce business? "Repeat business from satisfied customers."
The Rowe's also operate a farmstand at their farm, located on Columbia Rd, near Schafers' Landscaping, and is open Mon-Sat, 12-7:00 Check out their other produce as well, and the Rowe's are able to take orders for large quantities of produce for those who want to can/freeze and put the sunshiny flavors of summer in a jar or baggie to savor in the dark winter months. 

Meet one of the sweetest, friendliest vendors at the HFM...and that's saying a lot! ( We've been complimented on the warm, friendly atmosphere at the HFM). Anna, of Anna's Creations, creates fabulous necklaces, earrings, foot jewelry  and bracelets, all of her own design. What's foot jewelry? Stop by and ask! You'll be delighted. Granddaughters? I loved the cute bracelet I got for my Eliana, two years old. Anna started making jewelry in  response to a fund raiser at her church, and loves creating, selling and wearing beautiful things. She believes she was meant to create beauty, and her jewelry shows this.
Anna also does jewelry parties, makes custom jewelry for weddings, and will do repairs as well. Check her out; you'll be glad you did. I always am.
 Lisa Stuccher is one of the newer vendors at HFM, and she can't be classified as only a produce vendor, although she sells her home-grown produce. Since she also sells homemade craft items such as ceramic refrigerator magnets from Peace Works, beautiful feathered/flowered hair clips and delightful "cute critters," I guess she falls somewhere in between categories! Which is totally fine with me. Unique to the market is a hand-bound, leather journal she made herself. The leather is soft and brown and very touchable. It looks like an antique, or a precious heirloom. Since the size is 5X7, it's just right to hold, perhaps to tuck in the tote bag and journal wherever you may be! She's already sold one, but would probably make one for you upon request.
What to do with all your tomatoes? Can 'em, freeze 'em and eat them raw. Want more? Try making a quick sauce: Cook tomatoes down to half their volume, then add enough water to restore the original volume. Add bay leaves, salt, pepper and fresh garlic, simmer for 30 minutes, then stir in herbs and olive oil.
Create a flavored salt: to season eggs, pasta or anything: Puree kosher salt with tomatoes in a blender, lays it on a sheet tray, and dehydrate for a couple nights (about six hours) in an oven with the pilot light on, or in a  100 degree oven until dry.
Cherry tomatoes? Roast 'em! This will give you cherry tomatoes that are about the size of raisins. You can stop short of the maximum cooking time, and have a juicier but still wonderful roasted taste.
Two pints of cherry or grape tomatoes, 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
Oven at 250 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the oil; salt and pepper to taste.Line a baking sheet with a rack; place the tomatoes on the rack. Roast for 6 hours, until they look like big, red juicy raisins. Makes 1 pint.


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