Thursday, July 26, 2012

Marinated tomatoes - more reasons to buy local

Locally grown produce tastes better. Just ask a tomato...

This is a great time of year to get out of the grocery stores and into local markets. We’re well into the growing season now so there is a delicious variety and abundance of fresh local produce.

Just last weekend I came home from the Kingston Market with carrots, zucchini, garlic scapes, beets, beet greens, Swiss chard,cauliflower, strawberries and sugar snap peas. But I could also have bought broccoli, kale, numerous other greens, turnip, string beans, potatoes and fresh herbs. This weekend there will be tomatoes. There is fresh bread to be had,eggs, free range chicken, pork and beef, honey and jams.

And so it goes, week after week through our growing season. The better part of a grocery order, all grown or produced nearby.

You don`t have to go to the Kingston Peninsula to enjoy the local abundance. Local markets -- The Saint John City Market, Country Harvest, Cochran`s, Kredels and others -- buy directly from farmers this time of year. Thanks to these markets, supporting local farmers and growers is easy and convenient.

If you need more reasons to search out local produce, consider this: Locally grown food tastes better and is more nutritious than the grocery store variety because it`s picked ripe and gets to you within a couple of days. It isn`t gassed to ripen, fumigated to kill foreign pests, or coated with petroleum-based waxes to keep it from going bad. It’s fresh in the most delicious sense of the word.

Back to the taste, if you're not convinced that produce grown nearby tastes better than imported compare for yourself. Taste locally grown carrots and beans alongside those from the grocery store or Costco. Or better yet, compare a local, field-ripened tomato to a grocery store variety.

Our growing season is so short we should all enjoy these local flavours while we can. Here is my favourite way to eat local tomatoes:

Marinated tomatoes

6 medium tomatoes
2 Tbsp fresh herbs (oregano, basil, thyme)

Marinade:

  • 2 tsp spice mix (see recipe below)
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Salt & pepper
  •  

Spice mix

  • 2 ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ – ½ tsp dried chipotle pepper or cayenne
  • 1 tsp dried thyme

Slice the tomatoes and lay them in a dish that’s deep enough to accommodate the marinade without it dribbling over the sides.
Pour over the marinade and let the flavours blend for a couple of hours.
Sprinkle with herbs before serving.
If you’d like to make this a bit more substantial nestle some slabs of feta in among the tomatoes. Or you can serve grilled feta on the side.

4 comments:

Mark Leger said...

Great piece Bridget. A couple of things struck me while reading it. The produce at small, locally owned places is also often cheaper than at the big stores. This comes as a surprise to many people. I also think the small markets should highlight the local produce. I was at On the Vine on the East Side today, and you wouldn't know where the produce came from by quickly scanning the displays. The local stuff was cheaper, in addition to beating tastier! The same goes for other places like Cochrane's, Olsen's.

bridgetsgreenliving said...

Thanks Mark, good point. I get so obsessed with the taste that I forget about the price difference!

jill brock said...

Hi Bridget, This recipe looks delicious. Can hardly wait to try it!

jill brock said...

I can't believe it I finally figured out how to get a comment to register on you sit. Yeah!