Dinner without the Dirt
If your green thumb tends to kill more plants than it grows, you don’t have to miss out on tomato season. Get garden-fresh tomatoes from these local spots for that straight-from-the-farm flavor:
Millsap Farms and Urban Roots Farms CSAs
Subscribe to the farms’ CSA services to have fresh produce and locally produced foods delivered to your door.
Your best chance at gathering the greatest variety of tomatoes in one spot is at farmers markets such as Farmers Market of the Ozarks and Greater Springfield Farmers’ Market.
MaMa Jean’s Natural Markets
If a traditional grocery store experience appeals to you more, you can still find locally grown farm-fresh produce—tomatoes included—at MaMa Jean’s locations.
Hungry for Harvest
By early fall you’ll be up to your ears in tomatoes. Don’t let those garden goodies go to waste. Here’s a list of tomato-based ingredients and dishes you can make with your bounty.
You can make salsa with pretty much any tomato, but The Order Executive Chef Zachary White recommends mixing in a rainbow of varieties for a chip dip that’s as beautiful as it is complex. He suggests trying purple Cherokees, black Russians, green zebras or yellow Brandywines for their pop of color and a complex flavor profiles.
Tomato paste is the base of many sauces, soups and chilis. Jim Parker of Parker Farms says Roma tomatoes are great for making tomato paste because they have fewer seeds than most varieties, which makes for a smoother, richer paste.
BLTs and Sandwiches
Whichever way you slice it, a sandwich is the perfect meal, and it’s made even more perfect topped with a thick, juicy tomato. However, the type of tomato is totally up to you depending on your tastes and preferences. Parker says beefsteak tomatoes were originally bred for use on sandwiches because of their thick, sturdy texture and large size, but they don’t have the best taste. For a flavorful punch, Parker recommends varieties such as Brandywine, Cherokee purple or big beef tomatoes.
Give Chef Boyardee a run for his money by whipping up your own tomato sauce using your garden gems. The beauty of the sauce’s long cooking times and herb and spice blends is you can use pretty much any tomato you’d like. Parker says by the end of the season, he and his family whip up tomato sauce with whatever varieties they have on-hand. Although you can use whatever type of tomato you want to make your own custom flavor, the one tomato sauce requirement is using super-fresh ingredients for taste that’ll make you say ‘Mama Mia!’
You don’t have to be a master chef to enjoy the fruits of summer. Almost every variety of tomato tastes great sliced up and served with nothing but a dash of salt. “Salt and tomatoes go well together,” White says. “Sprinkle a little bit on each slice, and you’re sure to get the perfect bite each time.”
Because of the fruit’s high acidity, tomatoes can be off-limits for those with certain stomach problems, but Parker says that yellow tomato varieties tend to have a lower acid count and might be a safe alternative. And the best part is they’re just as delicious as any other tasty tom.