New heirlooms

One of the things I love about Farmer’s Markets is the variety of odd things. Maybe a farmer will experiment with one new type of heirloom tomato or melon, to see how it does. But if 8 different farmers do that and gather together in one place, there’s lots of neat stuff to choose from!

Today I found currant tomatoes – teeny tiny tomatoes about the size of a blueberry – or smaller. Two different vendors had them. When ripe and red, they are incredibly sweet and burst open with flavor in your mouth. I’ve never been one to pop a whole cherry tomato in my mouth, I tend to cut them in half – besides I think that looks prettier. But these little bitty baby tomatoes have to be popped in whole. Delicious!

And then a tiger melon. This is about the size of a grapefruit, with a yellow and orange striped skin. The skin is thin, and can be peeled with a vegetable peeler for minimal waste. The flesh is reportedly white with a firm texture, and a kind of fresh pear flavor. That’s to try tomorrow or the next day.  I already had way too much cantaloupe from one I’d bought earlier this week, but I couldn’t resist. And this was such  nice personal-sized melon, at that. I think I may turn some of the cantaloupe into sorbet – I have always wanted to try that!

And of course I bought a variety of other wonderfully odd heirloom tomatoes : Roman candles, pink egg, peachies, black cherry tomatoes, purple Cherokee, and others I’ve forgotten the names of. This is still slice-and-eat season. I will get some fresh mozzarella at the store tomorrow, and make salad (guidance below – it’s too simple to be called a recipe). And small sweet peppers. The big beautiful sweet red  and yellow ones were not there this week. We have had excessive heat – highs of 105, and even the lows were around 87, minimal rain, and gardens have been suffering. One of my good heirloom tomato vendors was saying good-bye to all of us today – he hadn’t done a second planting of tomatoes, and though he would be good until Labor Day, but the heat has done his plants in a few weeks early. And corn – I did buy some more corn that looked good, and cut the cooking time down dramatically (to like 2 minutes), and it was very very good!

Fresh Tomato & Mozzarella Salad

For each person:

  • about 1/2 to 1 cup heirloom tomatoes (I medium to large or several small)
  • 1 – 3 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into bite size chunks (depending on if this is a side dish or main course)
  • fresh basil leaves, snipped in half if large, to taste.
  • olive oil or balsamic vinaigrette

Cut large tomatoes into chucks, or slice smaller tomatoes. Toss gently with the mozzarella and basil leaves, Drizzle with olive oil or balsamic vinaigrette. You can make this first and let it sit for a little while to blend the flavors. But don’t refrigerate tomtaoes – they lose flavor.

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